Security Experts Warn Hospital Medication Pumps Can Be Hacked

Posted on July 06, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group

Security experts are warning health care providers that Hospira medication pumps are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Since 2007, hundreds of thousands of these pumps have been used around the world to help patients receive accurate dosages of medication.

According to security experts, the pumps can be remotely operated to change the lower and upper limits of how much medication patients can receive. What is it about the medication pumps that have security experts frightened? The drug library software could potentially be hacked to deliver fatal dosages of medication to patients.

Medication pumps use drug libraries, which are software programs created to help health care practitioners set maximum and minimum dosages. However, anyone connected to a hospital’s network, including patients, staff, or someone sitting in a parking garage, could alter the limits set in the drug libraries.

Most pumps are designed to give off warnings if unsafe dosages are being delivered to patients. However, security experts warn that hackers could potentially change the display screens to trick physicians into believing safe doses of medication had been administered.

So how does this vulnerability put patients at risk? Let us say for example, the maximum allowed dose of Lorazepam, a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, is set by the drug library at 4 milligrams. A malicious hacker could potentially access the library used by the pump to alter the maximum and minimum allowed dosages.

How Could New Technology Affect Hospital Safety?

As hospitals continue to upgrade technology used to treat patients, it is important to ensure that new machines cannot be altered to put innocent people at risk. Hospitals have a duty to care for the safety of patients, and the changing landscape of futuristic technology, while helpful, could come with unforeseen consequences.

For regular updates on Shapiro Law Group and our medical malpractice blog, please follow us on Facebook.

Shapiro Law GroupTampa Bay Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Tags: HospitalSafety


What Our Clients Say

Our Medical Negligence Lawyers

Video Library