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CyberLOG's the safe word for medical devices, equipment

Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Barnes, chief medical information officer for DHA Medical Logistics, is coordinating the transition of DHA medical logistics as well as the medical device Risk Management Framework. (DHA photo) Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Barnes, chief medical information officer for DHA Medical Logistics, is coordinating the transition of DHA medical logistics as well as the medical device Risk Management Framework. (DHA photo)

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Defense Health Information Technology Symposium (DHITS)

Cybersecurity for medical devices and equipment was the focus of breakout sessions Thursday at the 2019 Defense Health Information Technology Symposium, or DHITS. The theme of this year's event, sponsored by the Defense Health Agency, was "One Team, One Mission – Enabling MHS Transformation."

Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Barnes, chief medical information officer for DHA Medical Logistics, and Army Capt. Louis Weldon, information management officer, spoke about "RMF and Medical Devices: The New CyberLOG." They explained progress toward standing up a center of excellence to unify cybersecurity efforts for medical devices and equipment. It will plan, implement, and sustain medical device and equipment security across the Military Health System enterprise, they said.

Barnes is coordinating the transition of DHA medical logistics as well as the medical device Risk Management Framework, or RMF, program. RMF is a structured process that identifies potential cyber threats, and defines strategies to eliminate or minimize risks.

The purpose is to transition away from service-specific processes to one functional capability, Barnes said, likening it to a "one for all, all for one" approach.  "We've been talking about it for almost two years," he said, adding that foremost in their mind is that patient safety, privacy, and security are never jeopardized.

Barnes described a strategy that involves standardization, integration, and transparency.  "Each service has its own good process," he said. "But blending them together can be a challenge. We'll start getting away from all these silos of repeating requirements. We can bring them in together and really look at them."

Barnes also was part of a second presentation, "The Future Path for Medical Devices and Equipment in DHA." He was joined by Air Force Lt. Col. Richard Keller, chief of Medical Logistics Enterprise Information; Frank Boals, chief of Healthcare Technology Management, DHA Medical Logistics; and Nigel Stone, Clinical Engineering Support, Health Technology Management, DHA MEDLOG.

Barnes said that currently, the various services are managing equipment processes uniquely. "They're accomplishing the same thing but in myriad different ways," he said. The goal, he said, is to standardize decision-making across the enterprise.

Barnes said the overall goals are to focus on large-impact solutions; be smart to gain natural efficiencies; increase visibility and enterprise management; and align to data instead of "how we have always done it."

"If we bring a legacy way of thinking to MHS GENESIS, we're not going to get it done," said Barnes, adding that he was paraphrasing Air Force Maj. Gen. Lee Payne, assistant director for Combat Support at the DHA.

DHITS brought together approximately 2,000 government, military, and industry information technology professionals to share knowledge, ideas, new developments, and lessons learned. The symposium was held July 30 through Aug. 1 at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida.

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