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The Technology Inside Standard Hospital Devices – You May Be Surprised

The Technology Inside Standard Hospital Devices - You May Be Surprised

Maybe just under 20 or so years ago, the standard IV drip wasn’t attached to any type of electronic equipment at all. A nurse, doctor or phlebotomist would simply attach a plastic bag of sterile saline solution to the metal stand, hook up an IV to the patient, and then inject whatever medicine was needed. Sometimes air bubbles would form, or the plastic tubing that feeds patients a steady supply of life-saving medicine would become knotted and blocked. Then healthcare administrators began learning about how very basic electronic monitoring medical devices were being used by nurses, dieticians, surgeons and anesthesiologists. The basic designs of most medical monitoring machines used in hospital rooms still looks the same, but you would be astounded if you knew what they could really do.

PC Compatibility and Maintenance

If you take a blood pressure and heart rate monitor that you normally find in a recovery room, you can use a regular Ethernet cord to hook it up to your PC. Given the right software and security clearance, the medical device is fully controllable via the keyboard. Actions such as calibration, factory resetting and even preventative maintenance are not complicated tasks. In fact, most of the programs allow users with sufficient clearance to set the devices up however they like. The problem is that from the outside, you wouldn’t be able to tell whether the device was working properly or not. Graduates of online masters healthcare administration programs may need continued help acquiring high performing IT experts in an effort to create effective safeguards.

FDA Safety Recommendations

Just a few months ago, the Food and Drug Administration did not have an official stance on medical facilities and the security of hospital equipment that is web accessible. After a few well-known security breaches took place, the FDA now offers specific suggestions for healthcare facilities wanting to prevent security issues. Instead of just ensuring that the private network that your medical devices operate from is safe, FDA officials believe that each piece of equipment should be optimized for security reasons. By the time all of these proposed changes take place, hospitals and clinics are looking at spending several billions dollars on upgrades, delivery, installation, customization and training. Top executives holding their online masters healthcare management degrees should also note the high cost of replacing this type of equipment, should the warranty become voided.

New Medical Device Technology and Safety

Replacing older devices that could potentially pose security breaches is smart, but it can lull healthcare officials into a false sense of security and safety. A determined hacker with enough time can get in anywhere, but the vast majority that would risk breaking into a hospital, for instance, is almost always motivated by money. What the FDA is suggesting seems like a bit of overkill, but we don’t truly know what type of future medical device technology the industry is surely preparing itself for.

If you can figure out how to use a very simple program without an instructional PDF, you too can program a medical device with the help of a PC. Hospitals generally offer all visitors access to their Wi-Fi networks, even if certain areas of it are secure. It might be more effective to just close off the network itself rather than trying to control what outside visitors do.