July 17, 2015
By: Anura Fernando, Principal Engineer, UL Medical Software and Systems Interoperability
In addition to physical safety and interoperability considerations addressed in previous articles, cybersecurity is one more concern when using medical wearable devices. Protecting data and the functional integrity of the devices from hackers is key to patient safety and security. Just as effective component interoperability is essential to system functionality, developers must also protect medical wearables, potential components in the healthcare system, from intentional cyber attacks. The lack of even the most basic cybersecurity measures can result in life-threatening consequences for patients or crippling critical infrastructure effects for healthcare providers. The wireless ecosystem of medical wearables is particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks due to the diversity and volume of data transmitted and the many unknowns of this relatively new technology. Companies must make sure that their devices are protected against hacks that could result in exposure of electronic health records (EHR) or dangers to patients due to malfunctioning devices. As a product’s security is only as robust as the developer makes it, developers must test for at least all known vulnerabilities and exploits that might make it a target to malicious cyberattacks.