[ISN] Internet Takes Heart As Pacemakers Move Online

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Sun May 06 2001 - 13:13:18 PDT

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    [As if it wasn't enough that you had to worry about Internet connected
    refrigerators being hacked, and Webvan pulling up with a skid of
    Breyers Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, (A favorite of General H.
    Norman Schwarzkopf & myself) But also facing the ultimate denial of
    service attack, a cracker going to town with your pacemaker. - WK]
    By Charles J. Murray
    EE Times
    BOSTON -- Physicians and medical-device manufacturers prepared this
    week for the next big step in cardiac care: the debut of the
    Internet-enabled heart.
    The world's biggest manufacturers of pacemakers, defibrillators, and
    other heart devices said at the North American Society of Pacing and
    Electrophysiology conference here that it plans to roll out
    Internet-enabled products, some as early as this summer.
    Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis, demonstrated the Chronicle, an
    implantable heart-monitoring device now being clinically tested by
    physicians in applications where it transmits critical patient
    information to secure Internet sites.
    Medtronic engineers said the Internet capabilities will be carried
    over to the company's pacemakers and defibrillators sometime this
    Similarly, St. Jude Medical, also based in Minneapolis, showed off its
    soon-to-be-introduced Housecall 2, a tabletop "transtelephonic"
    monitoring system designed for use with the company's implantable
    The device, which allows patients at home to connect to a remote
    server, is being considered for Internet connectivity.
    Physicians at the conference said they eagerly await the integration
    of Internet capabilities into implantable heart devices.
    If used properly, they said, the Internet could be a powerful tool to
    help patients concerned about the condition of their hearts, or about
    the operation of their implanted pacemakers or defibrillators.
    This would be an incredible adjunct for patients who call their
    physician and believe their heart has had a shock," said Dr. Mark
    Schoenfeld, director of the Cardiac Electrophysiology and Pacer
    Laboratory at the Hospital of St. Raphael, New Haven, Conn. "Right
    now, we have patients who often must travel two hours just to find out
    that nothing's wrong."
    "The potential for this is straight out of Star Wars," added Dr. Paul
    Levine, vice president and medical director of the St. Jude Medical
    Cardiac Rhythm Management Division and a clinical professor of
    medicine at Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, Calif. "It's nothing
    short of a revolution in medicine."
    Medical professionals say the revolution is being fueled by a
    universal demand for remote patient management. With less face-to-face
    time available for patients, physicians and health-care managers say
    they want new techniques to deal with patient needs.
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