The Health News – 26 October 2016

Overview:
•  Medical devices such as cardiac implants, used by hundreds of thousands of people, are vulnerable to potentially life-threatening cyberattacks, claims new research. The report said the wireless communications in St. Jude devices were vulnerable to hacking.

• Flinders Fertility clinical services had to destroy dozens of embryos after a generator failed at Flinders Medical Centre during the statewide blackout last month, has revealed plans to move to a new site. About 50 embryos from 12 clients were rendered unviable after the blackout.

•  The RSL has pulled out of being a partner in the redevelopment of the Daw Park Repatriation General Hospital citing “internal issues within the consortium”. The closure of the Repat is part of the State Government’s Transforming Health plan to reform the state’s hospital system.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  26th of October 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-25/cardiac-implants-vulnerable-to-life-threatening-hacks/7962556

Medical devices such as cardiac implants, used by hundreds of thousands of people, are vulnerable to potentially life-threatening cyberattacks, claims new research.

The claim has been made by cyber security experts MedSec against cardiac devices made by St. Jude Medical, the world’s largest makers of the implants.

The report said the wireless communications in St. Jude devices were vulnerable to hacking.

St. Jude has been caught up in an ongoing dispute with investment research company Muddy Waters, who hired MedSec to back up its claims, about vulnerabilities within its medical devices.

Justine Bone, the chief executive officer of private security company MedSec, said they had looked at three different types of devices: the implants themselves and the physician programmer which doctors use to set up the implants as well as to pre-program, configure and examine them.

“And then there’s the at home monitoring devices that are used by patients in their homes, to monitor the state of the implant, typically while patients are asleep,” Ms Bone said.

“And what connects all of these devices is the underlying radio frequency protocol that we found significant security weaknesses in.

“And that’s really the root of the security finding.”

She said MedSec found that it was possible for an attacker to connect to one of the devices and then to emulate them.

“[The devices program] can issue demands such as commands for an implant to vibrate, or commands for an implant to issue a shock to the patient, commands to turn off or turn on, therapy.

“So because of these problems with the underlying protocol we were able to imitate that connection and pretend that we’re a programmer, and actually remotely over radio frequency cause these devices to vibrate, to generate shock, to turn on or turn off.

Ms Bone said that the devices needed to be redesigned with better security measures, but St. Jude stood by their products.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-25/flinders-fertility-moves-to-thebarton-after-generator-failure/7962078

A South Australian fertility clinic, which had to destroy dozens of embryos after a generator failed at Flinders Medical Centre during the statewide blackout last month, has revealed plans to move to a new site.

Flinders Fertility clinical services director Dr Michael McEvoy said the move had been six months in the making, but the timing had been unfortunate given the massive power outage on September 28 and the loss of embryos waiting for transfer.

About 50 embryos from 12 clients were rendered unviable after the blackout.

The company’s cryopreserved — or frozen — material was not affected.

Dr McEvoy said work began in March “well before the unpredictable calamitous electrical storm”.

“We feel very tragically sorry for our patients and for their embryos and we’ve also been supporting all of our staff that have been particularly devastated by this incident,” Dr McEvoy said.

He said the company was still not clear why the generator failed.

The State Government has previously said the hospital’s generator failed due to a problem with the fuel pump.

Reproductive material will be transferred over the next month by specialist medical transport, with clinical services to begin at the new site on November 21.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-25/rsl-pulls-out-of-adelaide’s-repat-hospital-project/7963354

The RSL has pulled out of being a partner in the redevelopment of the Daw Park Repatriation General Hospital citing “internal issues within the consortium”.

New South Wales RSL LifeCare was selected for the project from a shortlist of three tenders.

The ABC understands the consortium pulled out due to infighting between different LifeCare branches and the SA RSL branch.

The closure of the Repat is part of the State Government’s Transforming Health plan to reform the state’s hospital system.

The building was established around the time of World War II and is recognised for its work with veterans, including those who served recently in the Middle East.

The South Australian Government on Tuesday announced a consortium led by not-for-profit ACH Group will now deliver health, education, aged care and community services from the site.

Expressions of interest were sought to provide services in November 2015 and RSL LifeCare New South Wales was selected as the preferred tender in May 2016.

The RSL consortium was to invest $125 million in redeveloping the site.

Health Minister Jack Snelling said the not-for-profit ACH Group — which narrowly missed out on selection — has agreed to do the project.

Mr Snelling said as soon as it became clear the RSL bid might fail to finalise the contract the Government engaged with the second consortium.