MediTech Safe Solving Healthcare IT Issues

January 30, 2018

Did you know that healthcare is the most hacked vertical with the highest number of data breaches? That the ECRI Institute ranked ransomware and cybersecurity threat as #1 Health Tech Hazard for 2018? Or that the Department of Homeland Security has declared healthcare as the most targeted and susceptible of the 11 critical US infrastructures?

With increasing connectivity, the ransomware events in healthcare are on the rise. Bad actors hack into hospital networks to hold critical patient data hostage or control patient care systems, knowing that providers are more likely to submit to their demands – ransomware! Most hospital boards have made cybersecurity as an ongoing board agenda item!

Thus, local startup MediTech Safe was born. Pranav Patel, one of the founders, has spent half of the decade at GE Healthcare managing their services portfolio in North America. This is when he had a chance to see the Internet of Medical Things (IoT) trend in works and understand both opportunities and challenges.

The ACA, HITECH, Meaningful Use, etc. have led healthcare providers scrambling to connect various systems together to benefit from all that connected healthcare IT (or the IoT trend in healthcare) has to offer. The full potential of IoT in healthcare is expected to yield $60B of value in the US. Various studies suggest that connecting medical devices (i.e. IV pumps, vital sign monitors, ventilator, etc.) to Electronic Medical/Health Records (EMR/EHR) system could release up to 8% of nurses’ capacity from administrative tasks such as charting data; it also helps prevent about 800 human data entry centric errors daily in a typical hospital.

At the core of the IoT framework sits connectivity and clinical network. For example, many healthcare professionals could receive alerts on patient conditions via clinical applications on their personal mobile devices. The effectiveness of telemedicine also relies heavily on connectivity and clinical networks. Could you imagine what would happen if the critical network were to be down or important patient data didn’t reach healthcare professionals on time and in a format needed?

These events could have significant patient safety concerns, and recent surveys and studies have proven that such events continue to occur. Today’s clinical and medical device networks face many challenges starting from medical device interoperability, frequent device patches and upgrades, wireless proliferation, mobile device management and resultant cybersecurity threats.

Medical devices serve as the weakest link in the security chain. While most people familiar with the topic recognize the challenge, there is a significant amount of confusion among providers, medical device manufacturers, software system providers, regulators, etc. in terms of who is responsible for what let alone quickly developing a robust solution. The situation is so critical that a bill is recently introduced into the Senate to address this confusion, named “Internet of Medical Things Resilience Partnership Act.”

To further complicate the matter, there are skills gaps and confusion around roles and responsibilities within a hospital on this topic. While IT team members understand cybersecurity of IT devices, they lack a full understanding of medical devices and their operations, often referred as Operational Technology (OT). They are also not comfortable dealing with medical devices because of the associated patient safety concerns/liabilities At the same time, the clinical engineering team that understands medical devices and their operations (OT) well feels less skilled with IT matters. In many organizations, these two teams even report into different functions with different priorities.

Patel believes that the MediTech safe is the solution to these issues. “We saw this as an opportunity to develop our holistic Medical Devices Cybersecurity Risk Management software platform for providers and launched MediTechSafe. Our solution addresses the challenges mentioned above and also brings various stakeholders together in an efficient and effective manner. Our team members have years of experience working in clinical engineering, IT security and medical devices field. We have just finished our 1st generation product and working on piloting it. There is nothing more rewarding than building a company that keeps our communities safe and also creates high-end jobs.”

To learn more about MediTech Safe, visit their website to learn more and request a demo!