A group of major medical device manufacturers have joined a new initiative to bolster the security of their equipment amid a “growing number of cybersecurity threats.”

The University of Minnesota said its Center for Medical Device Cybersecurity would allow academia, government, and industry to collaborate to help ensure the safety and security of increasingly advanced and connected medical devices.

The hub, which will combine the university’s capabilities in medical devices, engineering, and cybersecurity, will be housed in the Technological Leadership Institute, an interdisciplinary center within the College of Science and Engineering. It will conduct research and development, as well as provide education and training to the medical device workforce.

The center was founded and funded primarily by five leading medical device and healthcare companies with major operations in the Twin Cities area: Abbott LaboratoriesBoston ScientificMedtronicOptum, and Smiths Medical.

“Cybersecurity for medical devices is critical in retaining the trust consumers place in health care companies for how the technology is used and how health information is protected,” Optum Chief Information Security Officer Allison Miller said in the announcement. “By partnering with academic organizations, industry experts, and our peers, we can help formulate policies, regulatory proposals, and state-of-the-art testing so that we not only support the long-term success of secure medical devices, but also protect the patients who rely on medical devices for their care therapies.”

Katey Pelican of the university’s Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative will serve as the hub’s interim director. The center’s inaugural year will feature roundtable discussions and a hackathon, along with networking and training opportunities. Officials also plan to launch a short course in medical device cybersecurity and a summer internship program.

Source: University of Minnesota, Optum, Other Med-tech Giants Announce Cybersecurity Hub