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In the late 1990s, I was just starting out in my career in tech. As an electronics engineer, I was busy designing and building circuits, installing and maintaining systems, and gaining as much experience as I could to broaden my horizons. I enjoyed the work, but things changed in late 2001, and opportunities in tech contracted dramatically. Looking for stability and a chance to apply my skills in a growth market, I moved to healthcare and became a biomedical technician with little to no understanding of the field and the rewarding experience it offered.

I thrived as a biomed. My background in electrical engineering blended well with the need to integrate and manage the influx of innovative medical technologies that hospitals were using to improve their ability to deliver positive patient outcomes. I soon earned my CBET certification, and over the coming years, progressed to a BMET 2 and then BMET 3.

ACA Changed Healthcare Cybersecurity Dynamics

Around that time, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, and with it came a push to accelerate the adoption of electronic medical records (EMR). That meant the devices I was working with were now becoming connected to the hospital network to improve workflows and reduce errors. I saw the risks that came along with that trend, so I began investigating what protections were in place to ensure patient safety and privacy. Manufacturers were frantically adapting products to meet the needs of rapidly changing care delivery strategies. These adaptations, although functional, did not take cybersecurity into account. Recognizing the danger that network-connected medical devices posed to IT networks in healthcare environments, I began working closely with security teams to help them understand these unfamiliar technologies and how they affected security and IT operations, but also impacted patient care.

Recognizing the danger that network-connected medical devices posed to IT networks in healthcare environments, I began working closely with security teams to help them understand these unfamiliar technologies and how they affected security and IT operations, but also impacted patient care.

Back then, IT management was laser-focused on protecting data and systems; patient safety was not a part of their mandate. But unlike installing or servicing a server, you can’t just take something like an infusion pump or patient monitor offline if there’s an update needed. Nothing works in a bubble in IT once it is connected to the network. There are downstream effects, security implications, and new regulatory regimes to satisfy. That meant we had to rethink our approach to the design and management of the emerging healthcare IT estate. Biomeds were now working alongside traditional IT management to address the influences of things like connected medical device inventory, patching strategies, vulnerability management, and cyber risk assessments.

The Start of Whole Hospital Cybersecurity

Looking back, it was the start of what at Ordr we call the “whole hospital” approach to protecting healthcare IT environments, and that is what attracted me to Ordr. I knew firsthand how difficult it was for Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) and IT management to discover, identify, manage, and secure their Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices. Traditional methods for conducting IoMT asset management (often including manual labor) are slow, inaccurate, and error prone. The result is an incomplete, moment-in-time snapshot of what devices are operating on the network and an inaccurate assessment of where the risks are.

Traditional methods for conducting IoMT asset management (often including manual labor) are slow, inaccurate, and error prone. The result is an incomplete, moment-in-time snapshot of what devices are operating on the network and an inaccurate assessment of where the risks are.

But with the Ordr whole hospital approach to healthcare IT security, CISOs have the tools needed to discover and profile IoMT, Internet of Things (IoT), and operational technology (OT) in real-time, and with the clarity that comes from access to the Ordr Data Lake with its rich library of profiles on millions of devices. The Ordr technology suite enables Biomedical Engineers/HTMs, CISOs, and IT operations managers to embrace the SEE, KNOW, SECURE philosophy of connected device security with the confidence that comes from knowing you have accurate information and precise insights for decision making—and automations to act quickly when threats arise.

Five Keys to Improving Healthcare Cybersecurity

Ordr delivers value for healthcare organizations in five important ways:

  1. Automating asset inventory to identify what’s connected to the hospital network. Ordr discovers and monitors every connected device in real time, understands how devices connect and communicate on the network, and provides insights to locate devices across the environment. This allows hospitals to allocate resources doing manual inventory to higher value tasks, and enables HTM and security teams to easily locate devices for maintenance or incident response.
  2. Know risks and vulnerabilities such as devices with outdated operating systems and vulnerabilities, complete with device risk scores. This information enables teams to know their attack surface, prioritize patching and reduce risk. It also addresses a key security gap as some devices like medical and IoT devices are typically not scanned by traditional vulnerability management solutions because of impact to operations.
  3. Improving collaboration between teams HTM, security, and IT teams by providing a complete picture of every device, with deep context (serial number, manufacturer, model, operating system, and more), understanding of how devices interact, device owners and device utilization. Operating from a single source of truth about assets improves hospital efficiencies.
  4. Detecting threats such as devices with exploits, communicating to malicious domains, or behaving abnormally. Ordr can automate workflows to assign tickets to the appropriate device owner, or create segmentation policies to limit compromised devices to “baseline” behavior.
  5. Demonstrate ROI not only in the context of device management and security, but by maximizing medical device utilization efficiency. By understanding how devices are being used, and when, hospitals can identify areas of over or under usage, manage maintenance schedules and optimize capital spend.

I recently recorded a webinar with more information about connected device security for healthcare organizations. If you have questions about how Ordr can help your organization compile, track, and manage its complete asset inventory in real-time, improve its security posture through the whole hospital approach, and effect better utilization of its existing medical devices, reach out and let us know.

 


Ordr welcomes Wes Wright as our new Chief Healthcare Officer with immense pleasure and pride. Wes’s distinguished military background, extensive expertise in healthcare, and unwavering commitment to patient safety make him an invaluable addition to our organization. Wes’s appointment reflects Ordr’s continued commitment to our innovation leadership in healthcare.

Already the market leader in healthcare connected device security, Ordr continues to accelerate our customer acquisition rate. More importantly, we are enabling our customers to be healthcare cybersecurity “heroes” by more effectively securing their environment of care and making hospital operations more efficient. We are excited about being in a great place to expand the team and make additional investments to support healthcare security and HTM teams everywhere.

I’ve known Wes for many years (read his recent blog here). He was an early proponent of our technology and mission, and there are several reasons why he’s such a great fit for Ordr:

Valuing Relationships: Building Bridges to Success

Having had the privilege of knowing Wes for several years, I have witnessed firsthand his business acumen, attention to detail, and strength in building relationships. Formerly an Ordr advisor, his guidance and insights, from day one when I met him until now, highlight his dedication to fostering strong relationships and going above and beyond to support our shared goals.

Healthcare Expertise: Passion for Patient Safety

Wes embodies the mantra “cybersecurity is patient safety.” His extensive experience in patient care delivery, as a former CIO of military and children’s hospitals, and his adroit navigation of complex regulatory landscapes will be invaluable to Ordr. Additionally, his tenure as a CTO in a major healthcare organization and technology provider strengthens our ability to drive innovation and maintain a leading edge in healthcare excellence.

Mission-Orientated Leader: A North Star for Excellence

Wes’s military background, serving in multiple roles in the U.S. Air Force, instills in him discipline, strategic thinking, and unwavering resilience—qualities vital to addressing healthcare’s daily security challenges. His ability to set clear objectives, mobilize resources, and lead by example will be instrumental in realizing our collective mission here at Ordr.

Wes’s prowess in rallying and motivating teams is a true asset. Wes’s leadership style, characterized by inspiration, approachability, and a genuine interest in others, is bound to bring out the best in every member of our organization. And beyond his influence with Ordr team, I know Wes will also inspire our partners, prospects, and customers and propel us toward shared success.

Welcome to our team, Wes. We are delighted to have you on board and eagerly anticipate a remarkable journey ahead.


As healthcare organizations turn more and more to technology as a way to provide a higher quality of healthcare to their patients, and support skilled staff with a means of improving health outcomes for more people, healthcare technology management (HTM) professionals are finding themselves with a greater responsibility to more efficiently manage and mitigate risks from the healthcare IT estate. That is a huge task for smaller organizations, which means the tools they rely on have to be easy to deploy and use, specialized for defense of the healthcare threat landscape, and capable of reducing the burden of time-intensive tasks through automation.

Announcing Ordr Clinical Defender

That is why we just announced Ordr Clinical Defender, a tool to streamline the management of connected medical devices. Based on our advanced asset and risk management platform, and developed in cooperation with HTM professionals from some of the world’s best healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs), Ordr Clinical Defender will serve as a force multiplier for HTM teams, enabling them to more efficiently, accurately and automatically manage and protect their connected medical devices by:

  • Automating real-time asset inventory;
  • Addressing compliance by identifying missing, newly-connected, or misplaced devices;
  • Mitigating risks by identifying devices with vulnerabilities and recalls;
  • Leveraging device utilization insights to support maintenance and procurement decisions; and,
  • Accelerating remediation efforts for devices with clinical risks.

The combination of these capabilities means that healthcare organizations can reduce clinical risks by prioritizing remediation of high-risk devices. Organizations can also save millions of dollars by having a real-time inventory of devices, being able to locate missing devices, and optimizing device utilization. Those savings come by reducing the amount of time HTM personnel spend simply looking for misplaced equipment—as much as one hour per shift. Device utilization insights with Ordr Clinical Defender also mean more efficient utilization of medical equipment, and more efficient spending on the procurement of new equipment.

“In my previous role, I was an Ordr customer, benefitting from the power of the Ordr platform and actively participating in the evolution of the platform. [Ordr Clinical Defender] captures not just device information but a true lifecycle view, identifying where a device is located within the network topology and how it communicates and behaves throughout the organization. This unique lifecycle view is particularly beneficial in healthcare. The launch of the Ordr Clinical Defender will be invaluable to HTM/Biomed teams that can now more effectively manage their medical devices and clinical risks.”

—    Ken Koos, Optiv Consultant, ICS and IOT Product Security

Saving Time and Money

Research has found that there is a discrepancy of between 15-20% between assets registered in an organization’s computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) and devices actually deployed on an organization’s network. That results in inefficient decision making that can impact patient care, and it can also result in the unnecessary purchase of expensive new equipment simply because existing assets are not accounted for by HTM teams.

This lack of visibility increases an organization’s risk and compliance profile because devices operating beyond the visibility of HTM and IT personnel are unprotected and vulnerable to attack. And if a device known to contain a patient’s protected health information (PHI) goes missing, that could constitute a costly data breach. According to the most recent Ponemon-IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report, healthcare organizations incurred an average $9.23 million loss per incident. That figure is by-far the highest of any industry, and more than twice the overall average of $4.24 million.

Developed with HTM Experts, for HTM Professionals

Ordr Clinical Defender was developed with a number of capabilities designed to support the needs of healthcare organizations. Some of these include device-specific reporting and analytics, real-time asset discovery and inventory, automated CMMS data updating, identification of vulnerable clinical equipment, device usage reporting and analytics, guest network monitoring, and management features that facilitate patching, maintenance, and alerts whenever medical devices with PHI have not been seen on the network for more than 60 days.

Ordr Clinical Defender is the product of a collaborative partnership with some of the world’s leading healthcare organizations to develop and deliver a simplified product optimized for the needs of HTM professionals. And because it was developed in cooperation with HTM experts, it has everything HTM and clinical engineering teams need, and no unnecessary extras that might complicate operations. Ordr Clinical Defender means HTM teams have the power of efficient, accurate, and automated medical device management at their fingertips.


To kick off Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) week, we would like to start by celebrating some folks that have been remarkable for their organization’s growth around network-connected device visibility and security. We thought it would be better if you heard it directly from their mouths so please check out these fireside chats and webinars where your colleagues share their best practices for medical devices, how they have secured budget to fund their projects, and how they are implementing policies around smart speakers.

While ALL HTM folks deserve this week full of appreciation, celebration and our gratitude, especially after a truly taxing year, we wanted to highlight these 10 rockstars:

1. Keith Witby, Senior Manager HTM – Mayo Clinic 

Keith has worked at Mayo Clinic for more than 22 years in several different support and leadership roles. He is currently the Section Head of Healthcare Technology Management Cybersecurity and Operations. Keith has also had several other positions in HTM, starting as a Unit Manager of the X-Ray equipment service group and most recently as the Section Head for Enterprise Lab, Research, and Ophthalmology Service. Prior to these roles in HTM, Keith worked in Surgical Services as a Core and Prosthesis Supervisor, and as a Surgical Process/Systems Analyst.

During Keith’s time at Mayo, Keith has had extensive experience collaborating on several multidisciplinary teams and demonstrated a commitment to customer service, strong leadership skills, and experience with process analysis, project management, and technical support. During Keith’s tenure in Surgical Services and HTM, Keith has been exposed to the depth and breadth of medical equipment in a large healthcare organization. This includes the use of, service and support on, and the operationalization of cybersecurity for a wide range of medical equipment and HIoT technology.

Mayo Clinic Efforts to Secure Connected Devices and HIoT 

Hear from Mayo Clinic and Ordr on best practices to gain complete visibility into these devices, profile behavior and risks, and enable the right policies to segment them.

https://ordr.net/webinars/mayo-clinic-efforts-to-secure-connected-devices-and-hiot

2 & 3 Mark Heston, Director of Clinical Engineering – Children’s Hospital Colorado  & Dylan Winthers, Network & Cybersecurity Analyst – HSS 

Mark Heston is the Director of Clinical Engineering at Children’s Hospital Colorado with a CHTM and CBET. With more than 40 years in the medical profession and an M.S. in Health Care Administration, Mark has served as the Director of Medical Technology for the Iowa Health System, a Biomedical Engineer at GE Healthcare, Director of Clinical Instrumentation at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Operations Director for Clinical Engineering at Cleveland Clinic, and so much more. Mark is dedicated to teaching as well and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Upper Iowa University and William Penn College for Working Adults.

Dylan Winthers is a Network and Cybersecurity Analyst for HSS Technology Services an organization that provides healthcare technology management support and integrated security services solutions to their customers. Not only is Dylan truly committed to helping healthcare organizations, but Dylan and his wife continue to build The Amelia Phoenix Fund, a Non-Profit organization established to raise awareness for CDH, as well as collect funds to donate for equipment for an area NICU.

Higher Risks, Lower Budgets, Covid Chaos The Scary Reality of Securing Healthcare Environments 

Mark Heston, Director of Clinical Engineering at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Ben Stock, Director of Healthcare Product Management at Ordr and Dylan Winthers, Network and Cybersecurity Analyst at HSS — explore these challenges and how to address them. Mark, Ben and Dylan will discuss the combination of products and managed services that allowed Children’s Hospital Colorado to cost-effectively discover, protect, and maintain their medical devices in a time of crisis, and how these tools will be imperative to transition back to a compliant and secure biomedical environment as normalcy returns.

https://ordr.net/healthcare/higher-risks-lower-budgets-covid-chaos-the-scary-reality-of-securing-healthcare-environments

4. David Yaeger, Bio-Med Security DBA – ProHealth Care 

David Yaeger has nearly 20 years of experience in as IT engineer, PACS administrator, security and data base administrator. Currently, David serves as the Biomed Security DBA at ProHealth Care. David is in charge of network-connected medical devices for ProHealth Care, he runs a program to identify, profile and analyze risk associated to these medical devices so David’s team can watch for vulnerabilities appropriately mitigate risk.

Building a Successful Medical Device Security Program (Security + IT + HTM) 

When it comes to developing a medical device security strategy it takes a village. Join Eric Ross, System Director Clinical Engineering of M Health Fairview, David Yeager, Biomed Security DBA at ProHealth Care, and Ben Stock, Director of Healthcare Product Development at Ordr in a fireside chat on how to build a successful medical device security program.

https://ordr.net/healthcare/building-a-successful-medical-device-security-program-security-it-htm

5. Michael Brilling, Manager of Clinical Engineering – Dartmouth-Hitchcock 

Michael Brilling is the Manager of Clinical Engineering at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Michael began his career working on large datacenter thermal efficiency and UNIX systems. With nearly 20 years of experience in systems administration, clinical engineering and BMET, Michael is proficient in alarm fatigue prevention, equipment life cycle management, systems implementation, CMMS and AEM development.

Fireside Chat: Medical Device Security is a Joint Effort 

Join Michael Brilling, Manager, Clinical Engineering at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and Ben Stock, Director of Healthcare Product Development at Ordr in a fireside chat on how to drive cross functional collaboration to protect IoMT Devices.

https://ordr.net/webinars/fireside-chat-medical-device-security-is-a-joint-effort 

6. Christine Vogel, Cybersecurity Clinical Engineer – Hartford HealthCare 

Christine Vogel currently serves as the cybersecurity clinical engineer for Hartford HeathCare. With  nearly 10 years of experience, a Bachelors and Masters in Biomedical Engineering and various roles in systems engineering, research and security, Christine is one HTM leader you must meet!

7. Umair Siddiqui, Associate Vice President Clinical Engineering & Asset Management – Memorial Hermann Health System 

Umair Siddiqui is an M.B.A, M.S, CCE, and serves as the Associate Vice President Clinical Engineering & Asset Management at Memorial Hermann Health System. Umair has more than 20 years experience with the University of Connecticut Health Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center and GE Healthcare. It is fair to say that if you are looking for advice on medical devices, asset management, operation, technology assessment, capital equipment planning, equipment procurement, equipment distribution or logistics, Umair is a wonderful resource.

8. Jeremy Heim, Senior Information Security Risk Analyst – Avera Health 

Jeremy Heim is the Senior Information Security Risk Analyst at Avera Health, with more than 19 years of professional information technology experience and expertise. Jeremy has spent majority of his career in the healthcare sector where he has specialized in IT management, systems architecture, clinical systems and security risk analysis. If you are looking to secure your medical devices, Jeremy should be your go-to person for advice!

9. John Klein, Modality Manager Clinical Engineering – UnityPoint Health 

John Klein serves as the Modality Manager at UnityPoint Health. With more than 26 years of time and dedication to UnityPoint, he has been able to help their organization in their digital transformation and is responsible for a stellar team that manages all clinical devices for the organization. If you are looking to speak to a person who has seen it all, look no further!

10. Karen Waninger, Executive Director Clinical Engineering – Franciscan Health Network 

Karen Waninger is the Executive Director of Clinical Engineering for the Franciscan Health Network. With more than 20 years of experience and an MBA in Health Care, Karen is experienced beyond measure. Formerly, Karen’s was at TriMedx as the National Director of Regulatory Compliance which helped set the stage for the rise into Clinical Engineering Director and Community Health Network. If you are looking to understand regulatory compliance standards and how they impact medical devices, Karen should be your first call!

Throughout the week, we will be highlighting a few of the many great individuals that have been phenomenal in leading their team and organization. Stay tuned!

While you wait, here are some cool assets:


When the Clinical Engineering Division of the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE) declared the first Clinical Engineering Day on October 21, 2016, it was in recognition of the growing importance of the community of men and women around the world who design and support the sophisticated equipment that plays a vital role in modern medicine. This year, Clinical Engineering Day is again on Wednesday, October 21, and held in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) with an emphasis on the role of clinical engineers during the current global pandemic.

Four years ago, no one could have predicted that COVID-19 would have the world in its grip. Still, the medical devices created and supported by the community of talented clinical engineers have been key to mobilizing front line healthcare personnel in response to the crisis. No longer merely performing a specific task in the diagnosis, treatment, or monitoring of a patient, many of today’s medical devices are categorized as part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and are meant to function in a network that communicates and collects data. This data is critical for treating patients and helps inform physicians and other healthcare professionals.

Illustrating the importance of operating as a community of clinical engineers, after the COVID-19 outbreak became a global pandemic, the World Health Organization published technical specifications for how medical devices should be designed to operate more effectively in treating patients stricken by the disease. It’s vital, no matter where a piece of equipment is designed or made, that it is able to work together with other devices in its important mission.

As the pandemic spread and as cases spiked worldwide, field hospitals were quickly established in urban hotspots like Wuhan and New York City, and hospitals everywhere reconfigured to handle the expected surge in patients. They also had to rethink operations in order to keep healthcare workers and the general public safe. This was as much a technical exercise as it was a medical response, as equipment was moved to centralized locations and new communications networks established and populated with these devices, including equipment that had been mothballed for years in strategic reserves. Clinical engineering technicians mobilized to ensure that this equipment was functioning correctly and safely to provide the life-saving therapies needed to support the suffering patients.

The Wall Street Journal profiled how this new breed of medical equipment allowed several prominent hospitals to come up with new ways of not only treating patients but of carefully managing interactions with members of the public. That this was able to be accomplished in a matter of days was no accident, but a testament to the clinical engineers who designed the devices, and the clinical engineering technicians who support them. Their skill is at work behind the scenes ensuring that complex, life-saving equipment functions as designed.

Just as the need for rapid response to the spread of COVID-19 has prompted innovation in the biopharma industry that is working at breakneck speed to develop, test, and produce vaccines and other remedies to treat the disease, the hard-won experience of the pandemic will be reflected in the design of new devices on the drawing boards of clinical engineers today. That includes the security of medical devices, which is an important consideration for CIOs and CISOs charged with overseeing and securing the technical operations of hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

As Director of Healthcare Product Management at Ordr, I know how important it is for us to play a role in that mission. Medical devices present certain challenges for IT management and security. They may have been state-of-the-art when first designed but are now functioning with obsolete software or operating systems that cannot be updated. Or they may be designed with limitations that prevent them from being easily discovered and managed once deployed. That’s where we come in. Ordr’s IoT security platform discovers and monitors the devices’ behavior and allows those organizations using them to keep them safe.

I hope you will join me in celebrating Clinical Engineering Day, and in saying “thank you” to the many talented individuals across the world who are hard at work designing and supporting a new generation of medical devices. You may never find yourself in need of one, but it’s nice to know that if you ever do, that you can count on it to operate safely and securely.

Join Michael Brilling, Manager, Clinical Engineering at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and I in a fireside chat on how to drive cross functional collaboration to protect IoMT Devices: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1f5qUninQASboy7WXu11Mg