How to Conduct an Inventory of Your Medical Devices to Plan for Confident Cybersecurity

Connected medical devices have become an integral part of the patient experience here in the United States. Recent statistics demonstrate that a single hospital room may have, on average, 15-20 medical devices in it, many of them connecting directly into the healthcare facility’s IT infrastructure. Beyond the number in each room, the total number of medical and IoT devices within a facility increases exponentially, depending on the size of the healthcare environment, with larger providers supporting as many as 85,000 systems across the entire organization. 

Property Inventory Visibility Can Reinforce Security for Connected Medical Devices

The cutting-edge innovation used in medical devices has made a significant and positive impact on the course of treatment for patients with a diverse range of medical conditions. However, the rampant accumulation of these state-of-the-art resources increases the risk of a cybersecurity compromise. A 2018 report entitled “Medical Device Security 2018” revealed that unsecured medical devices are a top concern for healthcare organizations across the country. 

The survey went on to reveal that 76 percent of those polled reported that their internal systems were not sufficient to adequately secure the facility’s connected systems. Asset and inventory visibility are key contributors to the challenges faced by Network and Security Administrators. Almost 50 percent of participants listed poor asset and inventory visibility as the top organizational factor contributing to deficient cybersecurity and data loss prevention efforts.

Developing A Comprehensive Medical Device Inventory For Your Healthcare Organization

Many medical facilities underestimate the role that a comprehensive inventory of connected and IoT devices plays when promoting network security. A complete asset inventory of all digital systems within a healthcare environment allows the organization to maintain full visibility and control over all electronic operations. By cataloging every device in use, a medical facility’s IT department can quickly and effectively identify any potential network security weaknesses, operating systems that require upgrades or patches, and even devices that should be decommissioned. 

Most healthcare IT departments struggle when developing a full-scale medical device inventory for their organization. Understanding a few essential components can help you create a model that not only effectively tracks individual systems but also promotes network security efforts across multiple branches and changes. Some critical factors to consider include:

Accuracy

When it comes to overseeing the devices responsible for keeping patients healthy (and safe), “close enough” is not good enough. Establishing a sufficient inventory in a clinical setting demands total asset accountability. Overlooked equipment or machinery runs the risk of missing out on critical system patches and updates, which instantly elevates the chance of a data breach. 

Real-Time Monitoring

Many healthcare IT departments do not have the resources needed to maintain a real-time asset inventory. As a result, they often resort to quarterly tracking. Unfortunately, inconsistently auditing your organization’s existing catalog of live equipment can mean you may not notice a security breach until well after it occurs. Automating the process for real-time assessment eliminates the risk of human error as well as grants immediate access to essential device information as needed. 

Assigned Users/Facility

Real-time monitoring is virtually useless if your system does not outline the identified user or facility assigned to each device. When developing your catalog, including functionality or fields to track every device by assigned user helps ensure the accountability of all associated equipment during the audit process. 

Evolving Technology

Most importantly, your medical device inventory should be capable of evolving along with any new or emerging technology. Healthcare innovations continue to change rapidly, making it critical for your monitoring system to adapt for a future-embracing inventory management solution that maintains its relevance as it scales to grow with the needs of your organization.Fortified Health Security partners with healthcare providers to develop robust, scalable inventory management solutions that track and monitor all connected medical devices. Contact us today to hear more.