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Mission Critical: The Transformation of Healthcare IoT

Healthcare is an enormous ecosystem that is growing and changing across every facet of practice. Behind this transformation is the acceleration of digital Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) technologies that enable better delivery of care.

And it’s happening fast. Worldwide spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare is expected to grow from $41B in 2017 to almost $406B by 2026.

The Internet of Medical Things is a Catalyst for Transformation

The IoMT connects various devices through data exchanges, enabling machine-to-machine communication (M2M) and real-time data streaming. IoMT devices can vary from prostheses and implantable medical devices equipped with sensors to medical equipment and home-use medical devices.

Supporting the industry direction of providing precision medicine and insights for broader patient care, traditional medical device manufacturers (MDMs) must take notice as new types of companies with innovative concepts enter the competitive field.

Wearables are a perfect example of an emerging technology from consumer-based brands that are driving significant industry change. No longer resigned to simply providing data directly to the consumer, IoMT devices incorporate biosensors to monitor patient data via remote, wireless communication. IoT enables telemedicine and patient monitoring of blood pressure, EKG, temperature, glucose levels, oxygen levels, and more.

Transformation of the Healthcare Landscape

As technologies like AI, robotics and wearables advance, so do the dynamics of delivery.

Hospitals are no longer the only locale for emergency care, surgeries or post-surgical status monitoring. Surgeons share the planning and execution of delivery with a network of specialists, some of whom may be in another part of the world.

In-patient care employs layers of support people and services throughout the healthcare delivery organization (HDO), and payors’ requirements can drive faster discharges and in-home delivery of treatment and medication.

Connecting this complex network of people, places and things is data. Personal data, treatment data and data from medical devices – traveling through diverse digital channels that require transmission security every day, all the time.

Transformation from Emerging Technologies

For medical device manufacturers, addressing both data protection and device security in deployed or next-gen models must take into account this broadened scope.

The demand for trust means that security considerations and measures must be considered for every interaction and touchpoint – from the forefront of development to roll-out through ongoing device lifecycle management.

While implanted devices often draw the most attention, the broader universe of medical care gadgets also warrant attention. In the US alone, hospitals can average anywhere between 10 to 15 connected devices per bed. With this kind of scale, the number of security gaps can be significant.

Transformation from Patient Engagement

Hospitals and doctors are no longer the only ones in charge. Patients are taking their seat at the healthcare planning table.

As patients become active participants in the process rather than “observers,” they take greater control over what happens to them. This new role of patient self-advocacy requires practitioners and medical device manufacturers alike to think about how to engage and appease this new audience relationship. What once was second nature to patients to simply provide protected health information and trust that security will be inherent throughout their experience, will likely drive skepticism.

When you combine education and awareness with media stories about healthcare security breaches and threats, patients become activists. HDOs, EHRs and manufacturers will all need to invest deeper and wider in preventative security measures to ensure they’re staying aligned evolving trends and reducing risks of becoming embroiled in a PR nightmare.

Transforming Securely

As the first line of defense, the HDO, EHR, patient, and everyone in between is counting on the manufacturer to get connected medical device security right. And the threat trends confirm just why.

From computer viruses that alter CT and MRI scans to healthcare being named the number one industry for data breaches, medical IoT device manufacturers are on the front lines of keeping patients safe from harm. It’s important not to get stymied by the enormity of the challenge.

Whether implementing a comprehensive digital security program is something you’ve already done or something you’ve been thinking about, the time is now to act. Audit, assess, strategize.

Take advantage of proven industry solutions and experts that can support your goals. Differentiate your investments from your competition. And keep patients safe across every device, and every touchpoint.

Download our latest IoMT White Paper for more information on enabling the safe delivery of virtual healthcare.