HDOs spend millions of dollars implementing security controls on their hospital networks in order to safeguard patient data and ensure clinical uptime. When the inevitable cybersecurity incident takes place, patient treatments are frequently impacted. In July of 2018, Cass Regional Medical Center was forced to divert trauma and stroke patients to competing hospitals after their network was brought down by a ransomware attack. While patient welfare is any healthcare professional's first priority, diverting patients means lost revenue. Even cybersecurity measures put in place in response to or to prevent security incidents have been shown to adversely impact patient outcomes.
Hospitals need cybersecurity to be addressed proactively, and effectively, and this is best accomplished if the manufacturer designs security into their devices. While cybersecurity should not be a competitive differentiator, it will influence buying decisions and reputation, and therefore needs favorable consideration in a manufacturer's budget. The strategic prioritization of cybersecurity within the manufacturer's organization is ultimately a C-level responsibility and must become a strategic business objective to protect top-line revenue and bottom-line profitability.
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The healthcare industry needs to take a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity, not because they will face HIPAA fines if they don't, or because the FDA will recall their device, but because it's the only way to remain relevant and competitive in today's hyper-connected technology market. It's in everyone's best interest for cybersecurity to enable safe reliable care delivery. But it's particularly important for stakeholders in medical device companies, healthcare software companies, and HDOs to understand how addressing cybersecurity proactively can benefit their firms.
About the author: Mike Kijewski is the CEO of MedCrypt, a San Diego-based medical device cybersecurity software provider that ensures medical devices are proactively secure by design and in compliance with the FDA's cybersecurity guidelines.Back to HCB News