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Internet of Things sparks healthcare cybersecurity concerns, HIMSS16 speaker says

As connectivity continues to expand, cybersecurity should be top of mind for CIOs, CISOs and other hospital executives, according to Eric Miller of Ascension.
By Chris Nerney
03:41 PM
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The Internet of Things is set to explode. Forecasters expect more than 6 billion objects connected to the Internet this year and some expect 50 billion by 2020. But with connectivity comes risk.

For healthcare providers trying to leverage what is emerging as the IoT for healthcare – that growing universe of wearable sensors, networked devices and home monitoring systems deployed to collect medical data and even treat patients – ineffective cybersecurity can have potentially dangerous consequences.

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“The Internet of Things is different from the Internet of Things for healthcare in terms of risk,” said Eric Miller, senior director of IT at Ascension Information Services.

Miller pointed to a recent initiative in which white hat hackers working with the Mayo Clinic were easily able to hack into numerous connected medical devices, including an infusion pump that delivers drugs and fluids into patients.

One of the hired hackers, in fact, was able to connect an infusion pump to his computer network and manipulate the dosage remotely.

Miller and Paul Unbehagan, chief architect of Avaya, will discuss technologies that enable the security of connected devices and how providers can recognize and mitigate these cyber security risks during a HIMSS16 session on March 1, 2016.

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“Our goal is to show how to reduce the risk from connected medical devices in a manageable way,” Miller added. “There’s a process side to it and a technology side, and we will discuss both,” Miller said.

The session will cover how providers can get a handle on the number and types of Internet of Things for healthcare devices connected to their network; how to apply risk models to device classifications in order to clarify the threat level; how to implement automation to manage the security of the growing number of connected devices; how to evaluate inventory management options against existing technologies; and how to create an implementation plan.

“We want attendees to leave this session with an understanding of how to improve their risk posture for the existing Internet of Things for healthcare as well as the connected devices to come,” he said.

The Internet of Healthcare Things” will be held Tuesday, March 1, from 1 - 2 p.m. PST in the Sands Expo Convention Center Human Nature Theater.

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This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the HIMSS16 conference. Follow our live blog for real-time updates, and visit Destination HIMSS16 for a full rundown of our reporting from the show. For a selection of some of the best social media posts of the show, visit our Trending at #HIMSS16 hub.

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