Cybersecurity worries may delay uptake of connected devices

Research from UK MedTech manufacturer Bespak has highlighted the potential from smart MedTech devices, but also the risks around cybersecurity, and particularly the impact of perceived cybersecurity risk on uptake rates.

Bespak’s survey related to the company’s new smart inhaler which uses sensors to give feedback to the patient on incorrect use (a major concern around inhaler effectiveness), and report metrics to healthcare professionals.

The key findings from the survey were that although 43% of patients would welcome their device providing guidance and feedback on use, and 63% of patients believed smart devices would lead to improved treatment, 59% said they would not want to use one, with security the most prevalent (58%) concern.

Cautionary MAP Insights
Strong cybersecurity for medical devices and data is key to ensuring uptake of these devices, and enabling the therapeutic advantages these devices offer. However just as important is the public perception around safety and cybersecurity. Unless patients are confident that new devices are safe and secure, then public perception will be a limiting factor for patient access.

The survey also questioned industry professionals on the adoption of connected devices. Responses indicate that the key perceived benefits that connected technology offers (at least for inhaler products) is the ability to track patient compliance with treatment plan (67%), and improve engagement with patients (44%). On the complex subject of data ownership, the survey also indicates that the majority of industry professionals believe that usage data should belong to the patient (56%) rather than the company (22%).

Cautionary MAP Insights
Connected devices offer significant potential in allowing healthcare professionals to track compliance with treatment plans, and adapt these in light of new information provided by the device. This offers clear therapeutic benefit to patients. However it is important to consider the potential psychological effect on patients of having a device keeping tabs on their ‘compliance’ with treatment regimes. This may add to reluctance from some patients to adopt connected devices, further impacting patient uptake. This reluctance is harder to articulate and therefore may not be as well represented in surveys such as this.

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Published on 17. October 2018 in News