Healthcare Supply Chain Association Publishes Guidance for Medical Device and Service Cybersecurity

The Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA) has published guidance for healthcare delivery institutions, medical device makers, and service suppliers on acquiring medical devices to make them tougher to cyberattacks.

The usage of health care devices in the field has increased at an astounding rate and they are at this time counted upon to give important clinical features that can’t be compromised without reducing patient care. Healthcare devices are, nevertheless, frequently prone to cyber threats and can be attacked to induce injury to patients, be removed from service to force healthcare companies into giving the extortion requirements of attackers, or may be accessed remotely to acquire sensitive patient records. Medical devices are usually hooked up to the Web and could readily be attacked, thus it is crucial for proactive action to be taken to increase safety.

The HSCA is representative of the medical care group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and champions for fair procurement practices and education to enhance the effectiveness of purchases of healthcare items and services and, as a result, has a distinct line of sight about the whole healthcare supply chain. The HSCA guidance is created for the overall supply chain and points out a number of the key concerns for medical device makers, HDOs, and service companies to boost cybersecurity and handle weaknesses before exploitation by attackers.

Two of the most essential steps to consider are to take part in an Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO), for instance, the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (H-ISAC), and to take up an IT security risk analysis methodology, like the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF).

An ISAO is a group that actively works to know and pass actionable threat data concerning the most current cybersecurity threats that permit members to take active measures to minimize risk. The NIST CSF and other cybersecurity systems aid organizations to create and strengthen their cybersecurity process, prioritize activities, know their existing security condition, and determine security breaks that should be dealt with.

HCSA furthermore advises getting an IT and/or network security official who gets overall accountability for the protection of the organization who can tell about risks to CEOs and manage the security campaigns of the company.

Cybersecurity training for the staff is essential. All personnel needs to be informed of the hazards they may encounter and must be trained in relation to best practices to carry out to lessen risk. Training ought to be given every year, and phishing simulations done on a regular basis to boost training. Any staff who does not pass a simulation must be given additional training.

Good patch management practices are vital for dealing with known vulnerabilities prior to they may be exploited, anti-virus programs need to be implemented on all endpoints and be kept updated, firewalls ought to be enforced at the system perimeter and inside, least-privilege access must be implemented to system resources, and networks ought to be segmented to avoid lateral movement in case of a breach. Password policies that are in keeping with the newest NIST guidance ought to likewise be enforced.

To avert the interception of sensitive data, all information in transit ought to be encrypted, backup and data restoration techniques must be used and routinely tested to make certain recovery is possible in case of a cyberattack, and the life expectancy of all gadgets and software programs must be specific in all purchase documents, as well as all supporting elements. Equipment and software programs must be set to upgrade before reaching end-of-life.

Aside from these normal cybersecurity recommendations, HCSA has presented special information for HDOs, device companies, and service providers in the guidance – Medical Device and Service Cybersecurity: Key Considerations for Manufacturers & Healthcare Delivery Organizations – which could be downloaded from the HCSA site.

Elizabeth Hernandez

Elizabeth Hernandez is the editor of HIPAA News section of HIPAA Coach and an experienced journalist in the healthcare sector. She specializes in healthcare and HIPAA compliance, making her a go-to source for information on healthcare regulations. Her work focuses on the importance of patient privacy and secure information handling. Elizabeth also has a postgraduate degree in journalism. Follow on Twitter: You can follow Elizabeth on twitter at