EMDT_European Medical Device Technology

European Medical Device Technology, Spring 2015

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28 | Spring 2015 European Medical Device Technology emdt.co.uk design What Device Makers Must Do to Make Wearables Work Wearable medical devices are in the early stages of commercialization, but analysts and investors are very optimistic about their potential in the marketplace. W earable medical device revenues are expected to explode from $2.8 billion in 2014 to $8.3 billion in 2019, according to analyst firm Mordor Intelligence. Meanwhile, health- care startup funding surged to $4.1 billion last year, representing a 125% increase compared with 2013. And out of that sum, medical wearables were in the top-five categories to receive funding. But while analyst forecasts and the fact that venture capitalists are betting billions of dollars that medical wearables will pay off, hurdles remain before the devices can live up to their promise. Convincing Consumers Their Data Is Safe Medical device wearables typically trans- fer personal and private information to a data repository, often hosted on a cloud server. But device makers and third parties that receive and store the data will need to convince consumers that their informa- tion will remain both reasonably private and safe before consumers will adopt the technology. "Someone could always try to intercept data from individual wearables, but that is not the main concern," said Amichai Shulman, CTO for security firm Imperva. "Instead, attackers have a real incentive to access the data aggregation point associated with wearables from many users." In terms of security features, device makers should thus consider that wearable data connections will likely need to be encrypted and users should have to enter a password to access data on the device. Compliance with HIPAA regulations is also imperative in order to protect data stored on serv- ers. Unfortunately, however, HIPAA compliance is not always enforced as much as it should be, Shulman said. "A preemptive approach must be taken to make sure that HIPAA is adhered to before wearables become more popular," Shulman said. "In two to three years, hackers will have more incentives to attack medical device wearable databases. If we start applying the regulation today, then most of the devices can already be locked down when they become more popular in the future." According to Vaughn Kauffman, principal and U.S. health industries new entrants leader at Pricewater- houseCoopers, more than half of 1000 consumers surveyed in a study said they trust clinicians with their data more than they have faith in other par- ties to protect their privacy. "In order to retain that trust, companies will need to be transparent about what is being done with the data," Kauffman said. "Com- panies need to make their data privacy policies crystal clear. The general trend of using wearable and do-it-yourself tech- nologies will continue to rise, and com- panies need to make sure information that is being passed back and forth with the consumer is being handled correctly and the information provided is the right information." Bruce Gain Qardio's blood pressure monitor fits in a suit pocket and syncs wirelessly with smart phones.

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