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10 reasons internal audit can help manage risk associated with the internet of medical things (IoMT)

The internet of medical things (IoMT) has the potential to transform healthcare by connecting medical devices and applications to healthcare and telemedicine platforms through the internet. IoMT is an emerging healthcare trend in 2023 and plays a critical role in modern healthcare delivery, but like any technology, it comes with its own set of risks and challenges. Conducting audits over IoMT is a crucial component of ensuring the security, compliance and overall reliability of IoMT systems and devices in a healthcare environment. Internal audits help healthcare organizations, device manufacturers and regulatory bodies assess and verify various aspects of IoMT implementation. 

10 key reasons why an internal audit over IoMT is beneficial

1. Security assessment 

Evaluate the security measures in place for IoMT devices and systems. This includes assessing vulnerabilities, penetration testing and ensuring that encryption, access controls and authentication mechanisms are robust enough to protect patient data and device integrity. 

2. Data privacy compliance 

Help organizations determine whether they are in compliance with data privacy regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe. Auditors can help determine whether patient data is handled and stored in a way that meets legal requirements. 

3. Interoperability validation  

Assess whether IoMT devices and systems are interoperable and whether they communicate effectively with each other and with existing healthcare infrastructure. This ensures that data flows smoothly and that devices can work together seamlessly. 

4. Device reliability and accuracy  

Evaluate the reliability and accuracy of IoMT devices to determine whether they meet the necessary medical standards and are safe for patient use. This includes assessing their functionality, calibration and performance. 

5. Compliance with standards  

Help determine whether IoMT devices and systems adhere to industry standards and best practices and can prepare organizations for external assessments such as HIPAA security risk assessments. 

6. Long-term data management  

Evaluate the data management practices of healthcare organizations, including how they collect, store and secure the vast amount of data generated by IoMT devices. 

7. Risk mitigation  

Identify potential risks and vulnerabilities in IoMT implementations, allowing organizations to take proactive measures to mitigate these risks and enhance the security and reliability of their systems. 

8. Supply chain assessment 

Assess the supply chain for IoMT devices, ensuring that components are sourced from reliable and secure suppliers. This can help prevent vulnerabilities introduced during the manufacturing process. 

9. Ethical considerations  

Help address ethical concerns related to IoMT, such as ensuring that patient consent is properly obtained for data collection and sharing and that there is no discrimination based on health data. As a result of Washington’s recently introduced My Health My Data Act, there is also a shift towards capturing and managing consent, as the lawful basis, for processing non-essential health information. 

10. Continuous improvement 

Regular audits help healthcare organizations continuously improve their IoMT systems and practices by identifying areas that need attention or enhancement. 

Audit findings should be used to guide improvements in IoMT security and practices, and corrective actions should be implemented promptly to address any identified issues. Ultimately, internal audits play a vital role in ensuring that IoMT technologies are safe, secure and beneficial for patient care.  

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