Navigator: IBM’s Watson Health, Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit & Cybersecurity

The nexus of healthcare, life sciences, and technology is expanding at an accelerated rate. This week’s Navigator highlights a real-life cybersecurity attack on a hospital (with a bitcoin ransom, no less), perspectives on standardizing medical device regulations, and bold moves by IT companies wanting to expand into the healthcare sector.


Warm Regards,

Kristin Eilenberg
Founder and CEO

News In The News
Distilling Noise into Specific Signals

IBM’s Watson Health is set to get a bit bigger in 2016 – Make that nearly twice as big. International Business Machines Corporation announced early on February 18 that they would be purchasing Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion. Debora DiSanzo announced in the press statement that with the acquisition of Truven “IBM will be one of the world’s leading health data, analytics and insights companies.” As a vendor that manages healthcare data, one of the biggest challenges IBM faces is control and security of these sensitive data sets.

The Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit (SAS) 2016 (Lodescores: E4, BD5, N5) held February 7-11, highlighted how hospitals are very susceptible to cyber attacks as demonstrated by Kaspersky Lab’s Sergey Lozhkin. Lozhkin presented at SAS on how he successfully hacked his own hospital by finding a weak point in the free hospital wifi and infiltrating a tomographic scanner that was connected to it. Both hospital managers and medical equipment developers should be alarmed at the amount of work that needs to be done in securing medical equipment.

Luckily Sergey Lozhkin was not a real hacker, but the problem does not dwell in the hypothetical. On the evening of February 17, 2016 Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center Officials announced that they paid hackers a ransom of $17,000 in Bitcoin to reclaim control and access over captured data. The hospital decided that the quickest way to regain access would be to pay the hackers, after the computer system was hijacked by a low-tech ransomware, which locked them out of their own networks. The CEO announced there is no evidence that patient data was accessed in the attack.

These attacks showcase the vulnerabilities in the healthcare sector. Scott Erven, a security advocate for medical devices, spoke at SAS on how healthcare is 10 to 15 years behind retail in regards to security. Sooner or later, Ervan warned, things will come to a breaking point.

The Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology released a report on February 17 calling for regulatory enforcement from the FDA for medical devices. The report cited the “suggestions” from the FDA are not enough protection and that enforceable regulations are needed for manufacturers. Regulatory involvement and oversight has challenged the speed of innovation of new medical devices. However, with the threats of inappropriate access to these devices, standards need to be established and enforced to protect patients and potential life-threatening consequences of the hacking of these devices. This is an ongoing issue as the vulnerabilities of medical devices to hackers was demonstrated at Black Hat back in 2013.

Security is not a backseat issue as the push towards digital transformation, or digitization as it is beginning to be known, is growing across all sectors of business, and the healthcare sector is no exception. Cisco Live Berlin (Lodescores: E4, BD4, N5), which took place February 15-19, focused on how digital growth will allow companies to grow faster and gain competitive edge.

Cisco Live emphasized that part of this digitization is the importance of focusing on the digital customer experience. Customers want access to virtual experts, often through using mobile apps. Although hospitals should proceed with caution. Accenture released a report earlier this year that badly designed apps have the potential to cost hospitals $100 million a year. In-house designed apps infrequently offer what consumers want (access to medical record, ability to schedule and cancel appointments, etc.), and hospitals should instead implement a patient centered approach in app development.

Lodestone Insights is tracking over 5,000 conferences in the life sciences, pharmaceutical, business, and technology sectors. We provide several web-based products to help business leaders make more informed and strategic decisions.

Our proprietary indices rank the conferences by Educational (E), Business Development (BD), and Networking (N) opportunities, and allow you to compare multiple conferences at once.

Noteworthy conferences in Healthcare and Technology coming up:

  • HIMSS 2016: February 29-March 4, 2016 (Lodescores E4, DB4, N4)
  • Medical Informatics World Conference: April 4-5, 2016 (Lodescores: E3, BD5, N5)
  • 13th Annual Health Information Technology Summit: April 10-13, 2016 (Lodescores: E3, BD3, N4)
  • Becker Hospital Review 7th Annual Meeting: April 27-30, 2016 (Lodescores: E4, BD4, N5)
  • 10X Medical Device Conference: May 2-4, 2016 (Lodescores: E3, BD3, N4)
  • Health Datapalooza: May 8-11, 2016 (Lodescores: E2, BD5, N5)

Navigator: AdvaMed & Health 2.0 Conferences

At Lodestone, we want to bring our readers information that is relevant and meaningful to the magical intersection of healthcare, technology, and life sciences.

Lodescore, our new innovative conference tracking and business intelligence tool, helps to surface and connect news with activities happening at conferences It is being called ‘the consumer reports’  and ‘moneyball’ on conferences. If you haven’t done so already, you should check it out!

Now, back to the news! Here’s just a taste of what’s happened in the past week….

Warm Regards,

Kristin Eilenberg
Founder and CEO
Lodestone Logic


News In The News
Distilling Noise into Specific Signals

California welcomed an influx from the healthcare and technology sectors from the AdvaMed 2015conference in San Diego, and the Health 2.0 9th Annual Fall Conference in Santa Clara.

Medical Devices

AdvaMed is also in the news for pursuing a repeal of the Obamacare Tax on medical devices. Spending has remained consistently low on medical devices over the years, according to Stephen J. Ubl, CEO of AdvaMed. A poll by AdvaMed of its member companies revealed that not only does the tax hurt spending on R&D it has also slowed hiring. Ubl has long been a thought leader and advocate for public policy and health care, and will take the reins as President and CEO for PhRMA in 2016.

The importance of medical device development to improve patient care cannot be underestimated. The FDA announced on October 5, 2015 that it had expanded indication for a medical device to treat patients with brain cancer. Glioblastoma Multiforme, or GBM, accounts for around 15 percent of all brain tumors and is typically resistant to standard treatment options.

The device, named Optune and created by Novocure, is portable and can be powered either by batteries or an outlet, and can be used independently by patients. Optune targets and prevents the division of cancer cells in the brain using TTTFields and can extend patients survival by a few months.

With last months’ scare revealing that medical devices can be hacked, companies are facing increased challenges to develop new devices and technologies. These concerns were discussed during AdvaMed 2015 at a panel led by Melissa Masters from Battle titled, The Hidden Life of Devices: Cyber security and Embedded Medical Devices.

Evolution of Healthcare

With the efficiencies gained with the adoption and integration of technology, there are new ways to conduct the business of healthcare and reduce administrative costs.  CEO of PokitDok, Lisa Maki, announced at Health 2.0 that PokitDok is doing away with transactional charges with payers that normally get coupled with insurance enrollment, eligibility checks, claims processing, and more. “The cost of moving data from point A to point B and automating what used to be done with a lot of legacy technology is close to zero,” Maki Said. “We want to start passing that savings back to all of you.”

U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy also encouraged the evolution of healthcare in his Health 2.0 Keynote address by stressing the importance of moving our focus from treating disease, to preventing disease. Murthy tweeted that “Innovation and Technology can help us ensure that every man, woman, and child has a fair shot at good health.”