Security risks to critical medical devices present a recurring problem within the healthcare industry. The root of these security risks often is traced to how medical devices operate on old and new codes from various sources, each of which may contain unique vulnerabilities. Additionally, updating outdated devices that may not be able to integrate new code properly poses a significant security risk. It is easy to overlook software updates for older devices since hospitals typically use various devices.

Breaches in cybersecurity can result in a delay in patient treatment, patient injury, or death in extreme circumstances. And although manufacturers are often equally at fault, it is often healthcare professionals who are blamed for the consequences of these breaches. So the question then becomes, how can security risks to critical medical devices be reduced or, preferably, avoided?

3 Ways to Mitigate Security Risks of Critical Medical Devices

Practice Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is best defined as routine maintenance to avoid equipment failures. The equipment might not need maintenance every time, but conducting preventive maintenance on an established schedule ensures the equipment has the best chance of correctly operating when needed. As surely as these schedules help maintain hardware, it also helps protect critical medical devices from poorly timed software updates and failures by ensuring that they are addressed ahead of time.

Ensure Timely Response to Detected Vulnerabilities

Manufacturers of critical medical devices often release patches of code designed to identify breached or vulnerable equipment within a network. These patches alert workers to the breach or vulnerability, so the equipment is not used but put aside for maintenance. However, it can be challenging to locate the breached equipment quickly.

The vulnerability detection code is designed first to detect vulnerabilities within a network of equipment and then identify the specific piece of equipment that has been breached or is at risk of being breached. It then alerts workers so they know not to use it.


 

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Implement an Effective RTLS Solution

Accessible medical equipment location is necessary for preventative maintenance and responding to detected vulnerabilities. However, repairing what can't be found in the first place is difficult. Even vulnerability detection codes cannot identify the location of breached equipment on their own, resulting in a long process of manual trial-and-error that is time-consuming and suspect to human fallibility.

This challenge can mitigate through the implementation of an effective RTLS solution. These solutions allow critical medical devices to be located promptly, allowing for practical preventative maintenance and appropriate response to detected vulnerabilities.

Interested in Implementing an RTLS Solution?

Link Labs' asset tracking solutions provide hospitals with the tools they need to mitigate security risks to critical medical devices, ensuring timely and effective treatment of patients. If you want to learn more, book a demo today.

 Learn more about the background behind Link Labs IoT technology and how the technology mitigates security risks of critical medical devices.
Jennifer Halstead

Written by Jennifer Halstead

Jennifer Halstead, MBA, CPA brings more than 20 years financial industry experience to Link Labs. She began her career in finance within the pharmaceutical industry and has continued in both public accounting and private companies. She passed the CPA exam with the 3rd highest score in the state and completed her MBA with an accounting concentration (summa cum laude). Jennifer has worked with several software companies and has led multiple venture financing, merger and acquisitions deals. She has helped companies expand internationally and has managed the finance department of a startup to 33 consecutive quarters of growth prior to acquisition. After the acquisition, she served as the Controller of Dell Software Group’s Data Protection Division where she managed a portfolio of multiple hardware and software products to scale and achieve over triple-digit growth worldwide in 18 months. Jennifer brings a depth of finance experience to the Link Labs team.

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