It's impossible to ignore the critical role that digital technology plays in the health care industry's ongoing transformation. From electronic health records to remote monitoring, automation has been key to allowing health care organizations to operate an expanding portfolio of facilities and functions.
Like many technological innovations, however, these advances can expose organizations to risks as well as rewards.
Within the purview of Health Facilities Management's readers, for instance, security of networked medical devices has become an area of concern. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration this summer released a guidance on "Cybersecurity for Medical Devices and Hospital Networks" that advised biomedical engineers and other health facilities professionals to ensure that safeguards are in place to reduce the risk of failure due to cyberattack.
In another segment of HFM's readership, reports have surfaced on the vulnerability of network-based building automation systems. From his experience, Warren Rosebraugh, director of health care solution architects for Schneider Electric, says he sees problems like default passwords used on software and programmable logic controllers, user rights not disabled when a staffer leaves employment, equipment not physically secured and encryption not turned on.
Fortunately, gathering stakeholders together with information technology professionals to discuss possible vulnerabilities can help to avoid trouble. Working with vendors on security updates and assigning internal staff to manage security issues also are good practices.
While digital technology is enabling organizations to set new benchmarks in efficiency, health facilities professionals must successfully manage its weaknesses, too.