Medical Devices Need Better Cyber Security

Rapid advances in computer science, engineering and electronics have led to a new generation of connected medical devices that permit access to real-time patient data and the opportunity to monitor and adjust treatment remotely. Cyber security for medical devices is critical in retaining the trust consumers place in health care companies for how the technology is used, and how health information is protected. 

While manufacturers can ensure a high level of safety through testing, the security of connected devices (IoT), from pacemakers to monitoring devices, remains a growing and moving target.

The University of Minnesota has established a new Center for Medical Device Cybersecurity (CMDC). The center will foster university-industry-government collaborations to ensure that medical devices are both safe and secure from the growing number of cyber security threats. The CMDC is founded and funded in large part by five US leading health industry companies. These include Boston Scientific, Smiths Medical, Optum, Medtronic, and Abbott Laboratories. Industry members are invited to take part in the CMDC Steering Committee and additional members will be actively recruited over the next two years.

In addition to the founding corporations, additional industry representatives will be actively recruited to the center steering committee over the next two years. "Cybersecurity for medical devices is critical in retaining the trust consumers place in healthcare companies for how the technology is used, and how health information is protected," said Allison Miller, chief information security officer for Optum, in a statement.  “By partnering with academic organisations, industry experts, and our peers we can help formulate policies, regulatory proposals and state-of-the-art testing so that we not only support the long-term success of secure medical devices, but also protect the patients who rely on medical devices for their care therapies,” 

As part of its inaugural year, the center is hosting roundtables and a hackathon, organising networking and training opportunities, establishing a medical device cybersecurity short course that TLI is launching this fall and developing a medical device cybersecurity summer internship program.

I_HLS:    University of Minnesota:     MinneInno:     GoHealthyGo:       Universtity of Minnesota:     

Image: Piqsels

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