Mobile Devices in Medicine

There’s been a lot of interest in expanding the use of mobile electronic devices as a part of medical treatment. They’ve been in use in clinical trials (for Patient Reported Outcomes, or ePRO) for years starting with Palm Pilot devices with both good and bad results. A lot has been learned in that time; security and data integrity safeguards are improving. However, as devices get more powerful and more complex, new issues are being discovered…..even in the “Apple Magic Bullet” that is touted (and marketed) as being superior on that front. Case in point (Click Link for Full Article):

Germany warns of Apple security problem

By JUERGEN BAETZ, Associated Press Writer – 04 AUG 2010
BERLIN – Several versions of Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch have potentially serious security problems, a German government agency said in an official warning Wednesday.
Apple’s iOS operating system has “two critical weak points for which no patch exists,” the Federal Office for Information Security said.
Opening a manipulated website or a PDF file could allow criminals to spy on passwords, planners, photos, text messages, e-mails and even listen in to phone conversations, the agency said in a statement.
“This allows potential attackers access to the complete system, including administrator rights,” it added, urging users not to open PDF files on their mobile devices and only use trustworthy websites until Apple Inc. publishes a software update.

There’s enormous opportunity with new technologies, but a profround responsibility to be diligent in assessing them and protecting their data.