USB ports pose hidden risk for medical facilities

When visiting a medical facility, it can be tempting to charge a mobile device into a spare USB port, but the free charge may contain an unpleasant after-effect.
When visiting a medical facility, it can be tempting to charge a mobile device into a spare USB port, but the free charge may contain an unpleasant after-effect.

When visiting a medical facility, it can be tempting to charge a mobile device into a spare USB port, but the free charge may contain an unpleasant after-effect.

Visitors to hospitals and medical facilities carrying uncharged cell phones are a grave concern to medical professionals, according to an ECRI Institute report. The health services research organization rated the misuse of USB ports as one of the top 10 hazards facing health technologies for 2016.

According to the report, plugging unauthorized devices into medical devices' USB ports can cause life-saving devices to malfunction or may cause a monitoring device to reboot — causing severe complications. The report also warned that the misuse of USB ports could cause a security breach, risking patients' health data and healthcare facility's systems security.

The report suggested that medical facilities create policies to prevent inappropriate usage of medical device USB ports.

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