James Bond is stuck. He is 500 feet from safety, bad guys are approaching and all that is keeping him from safety is a large ravine, a wire cable draped across that ravine and those pesky 500 feet. He takes his Omega Sea Master watch, unscrews the crown and out comes a small wire, which he wraps around the hanging draped wire and traverses himself to safety, 500 feet across the Swiss Alps to safety. All from a watch! Imagine what MacGyver could have done with that watch! I am a watch guy…love them and collect them. But helping to save a life or view records of a patient in real time…awesome. Call me to discuss if you too, love the watch and love James Bond or MacGyver! I can hear it now over the paging system…”Doctor MacGyver, Dr. Angus MacGyver, you are needed in OR Two”…
It’s an amazing time to be in the healthcare profession. Every day new innovations in technology are facilitating everything from bio-printing new tissues for a patient to giving surgeons real time, context aware information during surgery. With each new piece of technology comes the need for it to be interconnected with other devices in the facility. New switches, routers, and upgraded WiFi networks are required to keep all of this technology up and running, and IT departments in healthcare are working harder than ever to make sure everything is HIPPA compliant. However, the job may be even bigger than it seems.
“While you were busy updating your WiFi router’s firewall and giving your laptop a strong password, your vacuum cleaner and smart lighting system were conspiring with your phone to steal your online banking information.” –Cleve Adams, AirPatrol
The quote is funny yet somewhat chilling at the same time. As more and more devices hit the network, the importance of securing them becomes ever more important as well.
Take Apple Watch for example. Apple has shared that three hospitals are using the Apple watch: Nebraska Medicine, Ochsner Health System, and London-based King’s College Hospital. These hospitals are utilizing the Apple Watch for everything from communicating with patients, to gathering bio-data, to relaying chart and dosage information to doctors all through the use of customized healthcare apps.
This isn’t the first instance of wearable devices being used in healthcare either. Google Glass has been used to deliver context aware information to surgeons in real time in the OR, all without having to look away from the delicate job at hand. In fact, the potential impact of wearables in the healthcare field has spawned a whole new society aptly named “WATCH”.
What does WATCH stand for? WeArable TeChnolgy in Healthcare.
Given the popularity of the movement and the potential positive impact technology can have on patient outcomes, care providers should not shy away from adopting the devices because of security concerns, but rather create strategies to minimize them.
Of course an awareness of the potential risks, creating multi-layered security protocols, and using secure software and hardware products are all a great start. But is that enough?
Take the well-known security breach of the Target POS system that put an estimated 70-110 million customers’ payment data at risk. Target had strong IT policies, trusted IT a hardware and firewalls, and a tried and true POS hardware and software system in place. The breach came through stealing network credentials from Target’s third party HVAC vendor. For this reason, choosing the right AV technology partners can be just as critical.
If you are looking to integrate technology like Apple Watch, patient tracking and monitoring systems, or telemedicine systems, it is important to choose an audio video integrator with experience in the healthcare vertical.
These partners not only need to understand the technology and how it is being used, but also the potential security risks the devices themselves may present if not secured properly. Going back to Apple Watch for instance, it is important to know that the wearable communicates with the iPhone not only via paired and encrypted Bluetooth, but may also auto-switch over to WiFi to maintain a connection at greater distances. It also may use near field communications (NFC) to talk to other internet enabled devices as well. A partner well versed in this technology and the healthcare vertical is best suited to address these issues ahead of time to create a strategy to secure them
At the end of the day, technology will continue to become an integral part of the evolution of healthcare. Security concerns should not deter facilities from adopting new technologies, but rather make them more selective in the partners they choose to help implement them. Doing so will assure that “bringing your own device” doesn’t mean bringing your own security breach.
Avidex AV is revolutionizing the way healthcare facilities and doctors are delivering care. Their 20 years of experience is being leveraged to drive down the cost of care while promoting positive healthcare outcomes. Is your organization looking for a new kind of technology partner? Connect with one of our Account Executives today to learn more.
About Bob Higginbotham
Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org