By Keri Forsythe-Stephens

If there’s one issue that keeps 24×7 readers up at night, it’s medical device cybersecurity—at least that’s what you told us in our 2020 compensation and job satisfaction survey. As one survey respondent posited, “How do we effectively screen devices and put controls in place to allow for full functionality without compromising the safety of our patients, staff, network, and other devices?” It’s a fair question, and one many stakeholders in the medical device sector are seeking to answer. 

Keri Forsythe-Stephens, Chief Editor

The August/September issue of 24×7 deals heavily with medical device cybersecurity (Click here to read “Are You Sure Your Devices Are Secure?”) and shares steps HTM professionals can take to strengthen their cybersecurity posture. This message couldn’t be timelier as the FDA recently revealed that it is pursuing “additional legislative authorities” to improve medical device cybersecurity amid surging cyberattacks on healthcare systems.

In January, the FDA also made a bold move in regard to medical device cybersecurity with the hiring of University of Michigan associate professor Kevin Fu as its director of medical device security—a newly created post. Fu, who will serve a one-year term, also shares his expertise in this issue’s cover story, remarking: “The FDA views cybersecurity as a key part of medical device safety; a medical device is not safe if cybersecurity risks remain uncontrolled with clinical implications.”

Such implications also led AAMI to develop the training course, “Medical Cybersecurity 101 for HTM Professionals.” With three sessions spread out over three days, the September course will provide attendees with the tools necessary to develop, execute, and oversee a medical device cybersecurity program that fits their organization’s particular needs.

Stephen Grimes, AAMIF, managing partner and principal consultant at Strategic Healthcare Technology Associates, who will co-lead the course with cybersecurity expert Axel Wirth (also featured in the August/September cover story!), has high hopes for the course. “We will consider [it] a success when those who attend develop a heightened awareness of the cyber vulnerabilities that exist in the medical device environment,” he says.

24×7 also wants to know how your department is contending with cyber-concerns. Has your HTM team established stringent cybersecurity protocols? Are you working hand-in-hand with your hospital’s IT department to address the rise in connected medical devices? If so, we would love to feature your department in an upcoming “A Day in the Life” column.

To nominate your team for this honor, email me at [email protected]. I would love to know how your department stands out from the pack.

Keri Forsythe-Stephens is chief editor of 24×7. Questions and comments can be directed to [email protected].