University of Minnesota along with manufacturers launches Center for Medical Device Cybersecurity

09/14/2021

Given the technological advancements and innovation in the medical field, we can't overlook the risks related to Cybersecurity. However, the manufacturers provide the best solutions to such problems. Still, the gap needs to be filled to avoid undesirable situations. For example, data protection and patient privacy are a must for connected medical devices in the medical field and healthcare. The organizations and bodies that are relying on this data range from two to more. Similarly, just the end-user or endpoint protection is not enough. In addition to this, the connected devices and system also need to be secure and safe.

Recently the new center for medical device cybersecurity CMDC has been launched by the University of Minnesota. Medtronic, Smiths Medical, Optum, Boston Scientific, Abbott Laboratories are five main device manufacturers and are the founding corporations. The center is aimed at collaboration between university, industry, and government bodies to ensure the safety and security of medical devices given the growing number and risks associated with Cybersecurity.

The main reason behind the center's establishment is the request from manufacturers that deal in medical devices. They requested a collaborative center where they could conduct research and training in the emerging field. Given this fact, training, research, education, and technological advancements at the center will help minimize the risks and face challenges associated with Cybersecurity effectively.

Connected medical devices

Mobile health applications and technologies, as well as connected medical devices, are a double-edged sword. They can play a transformational role in healthcare and are a source that exposes the user to cybersecurity threats. Cybersecurity risks include hacking of devices, malware infection as well as vulnerability to unauthorized access.

Patient safety issues like death or injury combined with connected medical device security are a significant burden for the concerned authorities. Therefore, medical devices that are not well-adapted for dealing with such threats and challenges could not be used. Similarly, those medical devices that are not well protected and are compromised could be used to attack and pose cybersecurity risks and threats.

Thus, to address such concerns, significant proposals and initiatives are actively being conducted. For example, quite recently, the University of Minnesota has announced a new project about the Cybersecurity of medical devices. It aims to begin a center for medical device cybersecurity that will help strengthen the alliance between university, industry, and government bodies.

Following the university, the center will be a focal point for discovering and inventing new technologies and advancements. In short, discoveries, outreach, and training of the workforce are the main point of action. Thus, ultimately reducing the risks and threats associated with medical device cybersecurity.

"I'm enthusiastic about how this new pioneering center will improve the security of our state's booming Medtech sector," stated President Joan Gabel of the University of Minnesota in a statement.

The substantial trend

Health and medicine have left the clinic and hospital room boundaries given the advancements in technology and its expansion in nearly all fields. It has expanded, so there is a dire need to protect and safeguard all endpoints considering and including connected medical devices.

The assistant vice president Heather Roszkowski from Augusta University. Said during a HIMSS Security Basics segment, " Indeed, even before COVID-19, we started seeing increasingly more endpoint gadgets in medical services, especially wearable clinical innovation, handheld gadgets just as clinical applications on cells and iPads."

According to security professionals, only endpoint protection is not enough. Must harmonize with network monitoring and detection of an anomaly.

The Track  Record

The interim director, Katy Pelican of the University of Minnesota, said, " We are eager to work completely with the clinical gadget makers and medical care conveyance ventures to help drive advancement and disclosure in this space."

"Through the institution of the Center for Medical Device Cybersecurity, the university is prepared to build future personnel and leaders and perform cutting-edge research that will uplift the whole industry in this critically significant and growing space," she said.

The funding partners

For the University of Minnesota Center for Medical Device Cybersecurity, the financial support has been contributed by Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX), UnitedHealth Group's (NYSE: UNH) Optum, Medtronic (NYSE: MDT),  Smiths Medical, and Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT). They contribute a significant share in funding for the center. In addition, other industry agents will be enthusiastically involved in the center navigation committee over the next two years.

 

In the words of Allison Miller, who is a chief information security officer working at Optum, "Cybersecurity is crucial for medical devices. It is associated with the trust between consumers and healthcare companies. Therefore, it is vital to work out how the technology is used and how the information related to health is protected."

"By affiliating with academic organizations and industry experts. We can help frame policies, direct proposals, and state-of-the-art testing. So we are not just sponsoring the drawn-out accomplishment of secure clinical gadgets yet additionally ensure and help the patients who rely upon clinical gadgets for their treatments," Miller added.

Though the manufacturers still guarantee the safety and security of devices through testing, the security of medical devices remains a growing challenge. This entitles the necessity of collaboration of concerned bodies and CMDC's work which is crucial to the industry and those whom it serves, said TLI director Allison Hubel in a statement.

Objectives of CMDC

The new place for clinical gadget network safety is contained inside the interdisciplinary Technological Leadership Institute. As per the university, the center will develop new research and technologies and work on education training necessary for addressing potential risks of Cybersecurity.

Different departments within the university premises, such as the Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center, The University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering, and the vice president's office for research, will all operate as on-campus partners and associates.

The center is all set and focused on education and training. According to information coming out of the university, the center will offer roundtable conferences and hackathons in its first year. In addition, it will help foster networking and training opportunities. Afterward, an autumn course regarding medical device cybersecurity is underway. Moreover, a summer internship focused on medical device cybersecurity is also included.

The new center is created keeping in mind the collaboration of experts from within and across the university. Additionally, the university's staff, students, and faculty will act as the channel of talent for this new program. Thus, addressing the challenges in medical devices and cybersecurity premises.

What is Mpact 2025?

" Sustaining inventive and groundbreaking coordinated efforts, similar to the CMDC, is an essential focal point of MPact 2025, our most recent system-wide key arrangement," said University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel.

Mpact 2025 is the University of Minnesota's commitment to research, innovation, creativity, and productivity. It aims to provide open access to opportunity and innovation to impact the world effectively.

TLI and CMDC

Technological Leadership Institute (TLI) is an interdisciplinary center within the Minnesota College of Science and Engineering. It was established in 1987. will house The new center for medical device cybersecurity CMDC  within TLI. The prime focus is creating leadership for technology-intensive industries through its master's degree programs.

All TLI degree programs enable experts and leaders to power technology to manage business development in their strategic vision. According to TLI director Allison Hubel, TLI and CMDC aim to provide medical device cybersecurity training. The establishment of the center is in alignment with the mission statement of TLI. TLI has merged a master's program that includes the merger within Medical Device Innovation and Security Technologies. Undoubtedly, manufacturers provide the best security solutions that are tried and tested. But the growing challenges of Cybersecurity can't be taken for granted since they require innovative methods and techniques to be dealt with accordingly.

Conclusion

To sum up, the foundation for development in research, innovation, and technology is based on effective collaborations. It requires the association of bodies that can contribute towards the education, training, and development of leaders. CMDC is one such example. It has been created with the main idea to improve the Cybersecurity of medical devices. The foundation is based on strengthening the networking, training, and research among faculty and students.

CMDC was established at the University of Minnesota. As part of their first-year programs, they are aimed at providing different opportunities for education and training. These include degree programs, internships, and short courses. Data protection is equally essential in the medical field. Therefore, researchers and experts will collaborate to find the best possible solutions for cybersecurity-related threats and issues. Moreover, the research and innovation being carried out will work to develop medical devices that are safe and secure.