With the Internet of Things (IoT) in its infancy, regulatory agencies haven’t issued official rules for medical device manufacturers to follow in regards to connected devices. That said, it’s a good idea to be more cautious than careless when dealing with these life-altering devices.

Benefits and Risks of IoT in the Medical Device Industry

In a recent article in QMed’s MD+DI, QAD’s Catherine Wagner dives into the promise as well as dangers involved in letting IoT into medical devices. Think about connected devices such as those manufactured by iRythm, which monitors cardiac activity. Through machine learning, it analyzes heart rhythms and can diagnose irregularities without having to stay in the hospital. Many companies such as iRythm are embracing IoT innovations. You can read into that as companies see the benefits of this technology outweighing the risks. That said, there are risks to consider.

With so much to celebrate around IoT and its advances in the medical field, when dealing with our lives, we need to remain cautious. Do you recall the 2016 cyber attack that took down the internet in the United States? Dyn, a company that controls much of the internet’s domain name infrastructure was struck by a weapon called the Mirai botnet. That cyber attack resulted in a loss of internet connectivity for millions of people. Now imagine an attack on connected pacemakers? The results could be deadly. This is why it is of upmost importance for every business to be as secure as possible never mind just the medical industry, companies and organizations should make sure they get all connected devices and applications undergoing a series of pentesting to reveal any vulnerabilities.

Fears of connected medical devices already exist. Former Vice President Dick Cheney had his IoT-connected pacemaker updated to protect it from the possibility of hackers. These fears are worth recognizing as researchers in 2015 were successfully able to hack into a pacemaker in a simulated human via a DoS attack.

Have Your Connected Device and Security Too

With the very real fears of what could go wrong when a connected medical device is hacked, until security is strongly ensured, many people will be steering clear of them. That said, there is a huge opportunity for good to be done. Read Catherine’s entire article in MD+DI, Left to Their Own Devices for an in-depth look at the issues surrounding connected devices.