How to Manage the Internet of Things in Healthcare

By: Absolute Editorial Team | 8/25/2014

In our recent two-part series for MedCity News, we examined how the Internet of Things (IoT) affects the healthcare industry. In our first post, Absolute's Tim Williams took a look at the types of security worries HIT managers should have about the Internet of Things in healthcare. The IoT is already poised to affect healthcare in a big way, by offering benefits to patient care but introducing more data security risks. Now it's time to discuss how to manage all the 'Things—all these new devices and the big data they will generate.

When mobile devices were first introduced into healthcare organizations, there were concerns about data security, device management, standards, regulations, and compliance. The challenges organizations face with regard to the IoT effectively mirror those earlier concerns. Since the ‘issues’ stay the same, the major difference is in the volume of data and the fragmentation of device types.

As industry standards and regulations for IoT devices develop, healthcare organizations should be conducting risk assessments on current and planned IoT environments. It's never too early to start formalizing a plan of action to ensure your networks and data are secure. In fact, most healthcare organizations already have many tools in place to maintain compliance with data security regulations. The IoT is just an evolution.

In order to mitigate the risk of the IoT:

  • Get to know your “things”
  • Keep networks separate
  • Secure IoT devices with the same security principles of other mobile devices: authentication, encryption, automated software patching, etc.

If your healthcare organization is properly prepared with infrastructure and security processes that support change, it won’t matter which specific “things” come next: you’ll be prepared. Read more thoughts on how to manage the IoT in healthcare here.

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