Drive Performance, Compliance and Security for Medical Devices

The Difficulty of Managing Medical Devices

On an average, oLifeSciencesnly sixty to eighty percent of medical devices in healthcare organizations are accessible. Devices can be lost, moved to unknown locations, or in disrepair. Devices out of service represent lost revenue opportunities. This impacts productivity and the ability to provide timely, quality care. There also exists the chance such “missing” devices could be sold or traded in the grey market, leading to situations where medical personnel are relying on equipment that has not been serviced or maintained. Grey market trading, and its unfortunate consequences, can also impact a manufacturer’s brand substantially.

Monitoring the performance of medical devices, leveraging the data generated by them and using this to optimize their performance is quite diffcult. Device product recalls are equally challenging, especially when they involve multiple countries, languages, and regulations. In addition, the need to maintain compliance – despite increasingly complex regulation and an increasingly complex network of devices – sometimes seems insurmountable. In short, although critical to patient safety, medical device management is multi- faceted and complex. Providers require a solution that can address all these important facets. 
A New Way to Manage Devices

Active Insights by Unisys monitors and manages all medical devices in an enterprise, using one view and one source of information. The solution incorporates external and internal device data to provide a thorough view of speci c device performance, device alerts, and potential medical issues.

Within the Active Insights environment, there is a single, integrated Help Desk for both IT and medical device support. This expedites the coordinated notifcation of clinical engineers, dispatch of service personnel, and part replacement processes. All this is built upon Unisys’ world class End User Services and Support structure.

Active Insights enables proactive management of medical devices. If a device needs to be fixed or replaced, the system facilitates rapid response, including geo-location of the nearest skilled technician to get the situation resolved quickly, ensuring patient safety. By incorporating Universal Device Identification and active RFI tracking, each device can be easily and quickly located, making recall and maintenance more proactive and efficient. Plus, Active Insights embedded analytics improves buying decisions when devices need replacement.

With Active Insights, device information is collected and stored – whether they are within a single enterprise or scattered across the globe – for assessment and analysis. Using integrated Unisys analytics capabilities, Active Insights enables efficient and adaptive performance optimization, heading off unexpected downtimes. Active Insights comes with Unisys’ integrated, traceable workflow, that allows technicians and service personnel to identify from which device data came from, when it was sent, and what action was taken on it. This “compliance continuum” increases reporting transparency, improves accuracy, and provides the ability to scale as needed. It makes life easier for those tasked with providing compliance reporting and oversight, especially when faced with an unexpected audit.

Better Medical Device Management Security

“Medical device information” no longer simply refers to information emanating from machines that pump blood, drip saline, or inject insulin. The term now encompasses a much wider world of devices and associated data – from apps running on personal phones to electronic medical records to network enabled devices. Largely because personal health information has become so valuable to the black market, this exponentially growing set of devices represents and unusually ripe target for hacktivists and cybercriminals.

Hacking insulin pumps to harm patients, gaining entry into an IT system via medical devices or wearables, holding health information records hostage until a ransom is paid – these are just some of the cyber-attacks happening in the medical industry right now. The threat is real and the threat is big. The consequences of such attacks can be devastating for patients, healthcare institutions, and medical device manufacturers alike. The costs involved in recovering from a cyber-attack, along with the subsequent violation of patients’ trust and loss of reputation, make it imperative that providers and medical device manufacturers secure their eet of devices at any cost.

With Active Insights, which incorporates Unisys’ state of the art security technologies, providers and manufacturers can build a protective wall around their entire asset ecosystem. With Unisys’ embedded, extensible security driven by Stealth, an enterprise can simultaneously centralize its data and secure it. This limits access to medical devices through the use of user identities. This way, not just the medical devices and data, but the patients who use these devices are also secure. An enterprise can also microsegment its device protection by tightening access around a device and its data, and enabling the device manager to specify which devices and networks can communicate with each other. With Unisys Stealth®, the information is completely segmented at a permission-based level, allowing communications only within communities of interest. This ensures those who are not supposed to have access, don’t.

Jeff Livingstone

Dr. Livingstone is a Strategic Consultant and Cyber Security Professional with over 30 years of experience leading large scale change programs with global teams. He leverages his unique combination of life sciences domain and high-tech industry experience to implement organizational, process, and technology changes which yield clear, measurable results.

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