Health + Windows XP. Healthcare Defenders. New Thiel Fund.
Body Hacking…Sort Of
My colleague John Prendergass (@JPrendergass) just did a research brief on trends in the med device space. You can sign up to download the report and recording here.
As medical devices produce more and more data, the line between medical device and tech companies is blurring. The question now becomes who has the advantage, the manufacturers of medical devices or the analytics providers, i.e. the software companies best positioned to crunch the data.
This shift is already happening in the auto industry, where software + machine learning becomes prioritized over the car itself as we move to driverless cars. This is why Google is excelling here. Those same advantages may mean Google (and other tech companies) will become more important in the medical device space.
We outlined how Google is getting into health, auto, and a number of other industries in our Google Teardown, and we dive deeper into its medical device involvement in the research briefing. Below is an example of patent granted to Verily (Google’s healthcare subsidiary) that we analyzed, and you can see the rest of their patents with this search.
As med devices become more connected, it also means the stakes become higher since some of these devices are life-sustaining. Remember when St. Jude’s had to fix a pacemaker vulnerability?
While this example was caught before it could become a threat, this is not always the case. Last week the UK’s National Health Service was crippled by a ransomware attack called WannaCry, forcing hospitals to turn away patients and revert to pen-and-paper.
There are a host of reasons why this might have happened, including the fact that 9 out of 10 NHS trusts still use Windows…XP…
Outside of your doctor’s office, when is the last time you’ve seen that screen? Obsolete hospital IT and security highlights an alarming paradox in healthcare: despite how valuable and important health data is, it’s at odds with the prioritization of its security.