Health

 

Revolution without side effects

Digitization is also revolutionizing medicine—and is changing the ways we can monitor our bodies and health. But even for the digital healing arts, security and safety must remain the top priority.  

Text Felix Enzian  Illustration Bratislav Milenkovic

Pacemaker

A monitor keeps an eye on cardiac function, and its transmitter sends the data to a medical facility. Doctors intervene when irregularities occur. 

Glucose Sensor

Implanted in the subcutaneous fatty tissue of diabetes patients, it monitors blood sugar levels. Linking it to an insulin pump is also possible. 

Inhaler

Used to treat asthma patients. A tiny sensor transmits data about breathing flow rates and medication dosages to the user’s smartphone. 

 

 


Infusion Pump

Smart infusion pumps read barcodes on infusion bags and medical data from the patient’s wristband, allowing the pumps to administer the exact dose of medication needed. 

Blood Pressure Wristband

Keeps watch, 24/7, on the patient’s blood pressure. The data can be sent to healthcare professionals so that they are always informed about the current readings. 

Insulin Pump

About the size of a pack of cigarettes, it can be worn by diabetes patients all the time, even in bed, so that it can continually provide the insulin they need. The dosage can be adjusted by remote control. 

 

 


Digital Disasters — Potential Risks

Device Security Hackers could manipulate an insulin pump to give the patient a fatal dose. Criminals could extort money from patients with hacked devices.

 

Privacy & Data Protection Even today, identity theft is already causing billions of dollars in damages in the United States. Data from networked devices could be sold on the black market. 

 

Software ErrorsIn Panama, a software error led to 28 patients receiving too much radiation treatment, five of whom died. Mistakes in software can have serious consequences for networked devices. 

 

Compatibility IssuesMuch like smartphones and laptops, digital medical devices are continually being upgraded. This could lead to compatibility problems with older technology. 

 

Digital Control—Safety Has Priority

Risk Management All threats and security flaws for networked medical devices will be identified—and counteracted as quickly as possible.

 

Certification International norms and certificates set high security standards for e-health products, thus minimizing data protection gaps and preventing software errors. 

 

Data Encryption Sensitive data must be protected. Standards and certificates from inspection agencies such as TÜV SÜD provide a guarantee that the information is encrypted and attacks can be thwarted.

 

Security Tests Medical technology manufacturers submit their products to rigorous testing, while independent experts like TÜV SÜD carefully examine the devices with respect to cybersecurity.