Do patients care about medical device security?

I’m not sure they do. Admittedly unscientific, I couldn’t help but make an observation in the engagement rates of various articles in today’s StarTribune (our local Minneapolis paper). There was a story detailing possible security risks in Medtronic medical devices – pacemakers and the like. Presumably, other medical device manufacturers have similar issues. In the article, white hat hackers were able to exploit (albeit unlikely) vulnerabilities to gain control of a device implanted in a patient.

If we believe our “fear psychology” lessons, uncommon but novel threats (e.g. Ebola, shark attacks…hackers killing us through the internet) are supposed to generate disproportionate irrational fear responses.

Not so in this case; at least from a quick comparison of the comment section of the article compared to others. As of this writing, the Medtronic hacking article had only 4 comments. A story about a minor light rail derailment had 14. A political domestic abuse story had 580. I’m not making a judgment call on the validity of any of those three, but only to make the case that if the Medtronic story had 580 comments, it would be an indication that people care.

I wonder, what’s it going to take? A hacker killing someone?

#marketing #psychology #medicaldevice

Jason T Voiovich

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