• Hospitals Are at Risk for Cyber Hacking of Medical Devices
  • July 13, 2017
  • Philadelphia defective medical device lawyers are gaining new information about potential gaps in security of medical devices at hospitals. Doctors and hospitals are becoming increasingly concerned about the possibility of hackers trying to gain access to a hospital internet system by first hacking into devices that are connected to the system. EKG machines, defibrillators, vital signs monitors, infusion pumps, lasers, or other equipment such as medical imagining devices could be hacked and used as an entryway to gain access to the hospital’s larger system.

    Although the cyber hacking could cause harm to patients such as giving a different dose of an infusion or changing the outcome of another machine, it is more likely that the hacker could threaten harm to patients in order to obtain a ransom or simply gain access to the wider system. Some experts suggest that the medical devices should be segmented from the larger system, making it fruitless to hack into the devices. However, this type of segmenting is highly labor-intensive and could be extremely expensive since this concept is new and would require the set-up of multiple firewalls. Too often, hospitals are not entirely aware of which medical devices are connected to the system. There is not seamless communication between the medical device departments and the information technology department.

    While hospitals may offer phishing and other types of training associated with information technology, many hospitals still allow employees to connect their phones to a computer for charging. This could inadvertently subject the system to a virus on an employee’s phone. Hospitals also need to develop more secure policies concerning issues involving proper disposing of medical devices, user identity, and USB ports.

    Liability Issues Regarding Cyber Hacking of Medical Devices
    Another issue is that medical providers and medical device manufacturers have not collaborated on device security. Manufacturers also need to collaboratively develop standards for security while working with providers to understand what is needed and how best to permit a smooth work flow among various systems and devices. While the medical industry and manufacturers work out these differences and attempt to implement new cyber security measures, this ultimately leaves the providers and patients vulnerable.

    Until the medical industry clears some of these hurdles, patients could be left on the line and subject to medical accidents that were caused by hackers. Determining liability in these instances could be complex, but the medical provider is ultimately responsible for its systems. Therefore, although a patient may be subjected to an accident that occurred as a result of hacking, she could still have strong claim against the hospital itself if the hospital was negligent in maintaining its system or should have known that the system was vulnerable to cyber attacks.

    Philadelphia Medical Product Liability Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Represent Those Harmed Because of Cyber Hacking of Medical Devices
    If you or someone you know suspects that they have been the victim of a medical device cyber hacking incident, contact an experienced Philadelphia defective medical device lawyer at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler for a free review of your case. Call us today at 215-569-4000 or 800-369-0899 or contact us online to schedule a consultation in our Philadelphia office.