Have you or a loved one been in the hospital recently? If so, you know that hospitals use dozens of different types of machines for diagnosis and treatment of illness and that medical records are largely electronic. If you’ve ever wondered how all of this technology is used together to create a holistic picture that can be accessed by doctors, all while being HIPAA compliant, then look no further than people like Elisabeth George.
George is currently the Vice President for Quality, Regulatory, Sustainability, Product Security & Privacy for Philips Healthcare. That’s a long title to explain what George does: she helps ensure that a wide variety of healthcare technologies–from X-rays, MRIs, and CT scanners to the IT infrastructure that supports a hospital–are built to meet standards, including ways to protect your privacy, and are consistent across the U.S. and the world.
George studied biomedical and electrical engineering at Boston University and went on to earn a master’s degree in Engineering Management from Northeastern University. She started her career working as an engineer in the defense industry, but soon transitioned to working in healthcare. She has focused throughout her career on ensuring that healthcare products meet and exceed standards. As the world has become more interconnected, some of this work has been to help ensure that data from multiple devices can be included in a protected and integrated healthcare record.
In addition to working on technologies, George has worked to set standards and approaches. Recently, she has served on FDA Advisory panels and supported the development of a report on healthcare system vulnerability to attack through the Institute for Critical Information Technology. An excerpt from the report defines some of the problems George is helping to address for the future:
“Among all of America’s critical infrastructures, the healthcare sector is the most targeted and plagued by perpetual persistent attacks from numerous unknown malicious hackers.” George has helped to outline meaningful approaches to cybersecurity and what it means to manage healthcare in the digital age.
Written by Nicole Hutchison
FDA: Transcript for 510(k) Implementation: Discussion of an On-line Repository of Medical Device Labeling, and of Making Device Photographs Available in a Public Database Without Disclosing Proprietary Information, April 7, 2011