Innovation

IoT presents new opportunities and challenges for healthcare facilities

At the 2017 VMworld conference in Las Vegas, Moffitt Cancer Center CTO Tom Hull explained what new security challenges IoT brings and how they use the devices in the field.

"The Internet of Things has expanded the playing field of all the things that are attached to our network," Tom Hull, Moffitt Cancer Center's CTO said. At the VMworld 2017 conference, Hull talked with TechRepublic about how IoT devices in the medical field helps track patient data, but also presents new security threats as well.

MCC has sensory devices throughout the cancer research and treatment center that send data to and from its network, and are connected to the electronic medical record.

For example, each room has a device attached to the bed that measures a patient's respiratory rate and movement. Nurses can track these devices for each of their patients from a dashboard screen in the nurses station.

SEE: Special report: Harnessing IoT in the enterprise (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

MCC also tracks the temperature of its refrigerators and freezers, which contain things like tissue samples, to assure they're at the correct temperature and don't fluctuate. "It's something that we have to continually monitor and continually track," he said.

With the explosion of these new devices also comes new threats and challenges for the MCC. "Security becomes not just the IT portfolio, but the Internet of Things portfolio," he said.

We have to design our security environment in a way to make sure we're either containing IoT devices only to the systems they will communicate with, or ensure our vulnerability scanning and anti-malware are taking into account the new IoT environments, Hull added.

MCC's portfolio has expanded from 600 application systems to thousands of different devices that are connected to internet, and that feed information to and from the internet, or other systems in their portfolio. "So we need to secure those, make sure that we're not exposed, the vulnerabilities are tracked, the threats are mitigated, and that's apart of our design at Moffitt Cancer Center," he said.

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About Leah Brown

Leah Brown is the Associate Social Media Editor for TechRepublic. She manages and develops social strategies for TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research.

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