The first person to receive a wireless pacemaker in the US was Carol Kasyjanski. It was so successful that her doctor can monitor the device from another state. Since then, insulin pumps, blood pressure devices, and a proliferation of other medical devices have made it easier for doctors to transmit information. But the FCC is questioning how secure these constantly-connected devices really are.
According to Christine Kern, a writer for Health IT Outcomes, the connected world poses a major security risk, especially for wireless pacemakers seen by Mikal Watts and others.
Unauthorized access by hackers and remote manipulation are a possibility.
Undoubtedly, remote patient technology offers better patient care, but the program faces challenges. Wireless data is encrypted but as we’ve seen time and time again, authentication methods have vulnerabilities and what would happen if a hacker could reprogram pacemakers.
With cyber security threats increasing, and hackers increasingly finding better ways and backdoors, constant connections of these medical devices requires more safeguards.