Internet of Things (IoT) technology is rapidly transforming every industry, and healthcare is no exception. Approximately 60 percent of all healthcare organizations have implemented IoT devices into their practices, and the total amount of installed devices is expected to reach 161 million by 2020.

From smart beds that let hospital staff know if they’re occupied to connected knee braces that collect data for smart record keeping, the widespread adoption of IoT technology is turning the smart hospital into a reality.

What is a Smart Hospital?

Smart hospitals utilize innovative technology to build and optimize efficient clinical processes, while providing insight that improves patient care and experience.

There are three main concepts that make up the framework of a smart hospital: data, insight and access.

Smart hospitals rely on IoT technology to collect data on clinical tasks, hospital operations and patient satisfaction. Machine learning software then analyzes and organizes this data into actionable insight before making it accessible to hospital personnel. Doctors, nurses or other stakeholders use the provided insight to make faster critical decisions and improve efficiency.

How to Secure a Smart Hospital

Cyber attackers attempting to gain access to sensitive digital assets, such as health records, payment information and intellectual property are more likely to target healthcare providers.

Around 89 percent of healthcare organizations have experienced an IoT-related security breach. Protect your smart hospital devices by implementing the following cyber security practices:

  • Back up files. Store sensitive information on a secondary system, such as cloud-based systems or an offline computer, in the event your primary system is compromised.
  • Install network monitoring and antivirus software to continuously assess potential threats. Before implementing, evaluate your options, such as intrusion detection systems (IDS), with your IT department and security provider.
  • Keep software and electronic devices updated. Your cyber security policy should address updating anti-virus software and device software at regular intervals to ensure new cyber attacks can’t penetrate your network.
  • Password-protect all devices and require device users to have their own unique passcode. This enhances visibility into who is accessing medical resources, while limiting authority to specific individuals.
  • Train employees on your policy. Include an overview of the cyber security policy with your head of IT for all employees. Host regular policy reviews so everyone is aware of rules and procedures.
  • Use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs can help protect you while connected to Wi-Fi or other untrusted networks.
  • Utilize a secondary network. It’s best to house sensitive data, such as customer information, on a second, secured network. You can also back up that information in the cloud to avoid information loss in the event of a data breach.

Smart hospitals improve work operations, clinical tasks and patient care. Carefully review the cyber security tips in this post to keep the smart devices in your healthcare organization secure. Contact a trusted security expert if you have any questions involving installation and compliance.