Prescription for Connected Device and Telehealth Developers: Focus on Actual

Prescription for Connected Device and Telehealth Developers: Focus on Actual

Focusing on actual risk vs. perceived risk can help developers push code faster and more securely. Since, on average, connected medical device ... With increased use of health telemetry in the cloud, connected device and telehealth service developers must address data, privacy, and security issues.

Earlier this year, the Cloud Security Alliance put out a very interesting whitepaper addressing the need for increased scrutiny of telehealth data in the cloud. It reminded me of an article posted on this very site back in 2017, about the myriad compliance and privacy issues surrounding the development of mobile health apps. In the age of COVID-19, medical application and device developers are challenged with increasingly multifaceted requirements for effective management and processing of sensitive health data.

Although HIPAA and GDPR offer useful compliance frameworks for security-centric thinking, it’s up to telehealth application developers and medical device manufacturers themselves to come up with the protection schemas for the services they provide. They must assure that data generated, stored, and communicated by telehealth applications and connected devices remain compliant.

Since these services are transmitting a lot of patient data to cloud services, application security engineers must bake end-to-end security and compliance into the architecture. For example, HIPAA security rules require connected health device manufacturers and telehealth service providers to maintain reasonable and appropriate administrative and technical safeguards for protecting patient health data. Specifically, providers must attest to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all patient health data created, stored, processed or transmitted via their services — and identify and protect against reasonably anticipated threats to the security and integrity of patient health information.

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To ensure security, HIPAA requires continuous security threat-risk analysis. This assessment includes threats to cloud computing. As part of the assessment, the connected device manufacturer and telehealth application developer must address patient and healthcare provider concerns about governance, compliance, confidentiality, integrity, availability, and incident response and management.

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