VA Tackles Medical Device Vulnerabilities and Cyberthreats

Carolyn ClancyVA health care systems and medical devices increasingly rely on internet features that improve Veteran health care services and increase VA's ability to treat Veterans. That's why VA has been vigilant with its responsibility of mitigating potential cyberthreats.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the heath care environment is complex, and manufacturers, hospitals, and facilities must work together to manage cybersecurity risks.

As such, VA recently signed partnerships with Massachusetts General Hospital and Shepherd University. This collaboration's research will address cybersecurity and compatibility measures needed in devices used for VA patient care. It will also refine existing and emerging cybersecurity standards and practices for network connectable medical devices, medical data systems and other related technology.

Beyond VA, the agreements could have a broad impact in standardizing cybersecurity and safety requirements within the larger public health sector. VA is contributing to industry-wide awareness of both medical device vulnerabilities and threats, while applying further tests of the Underwriters Laboratories criteria and other emerging standards.

Without question, Veterans deserve to have the best medical technology available to them to help improve their standards of living. At the same time, we also owe it to them to make sure the devices we use are free from modern day cyberthreats.


Dr. Carolyn Clancy is the Deputy Under Secretary for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks at the Veterans Health Administration

This article was first posted in the VA's VAntage Point blog. It is reprinted here under public domain.