Medtronic data privacy lawsuit could prompt greater scrutiny of medical devices industry

US-based medical device manufacturer Medtronic is facing a legal battle over allegations that it shared a ‘treasure trove’ of diabetes patient data with tech giant Google. Data and analytics company GlobalData warns that the case could lead to heightened scrutiny of the sector.

The lawsuit, which was filed in July 2023 by concerned patients and privacy advocates, accuses Medtronic of breaching patient confidentiality.

One of the impacts of the global spread of COVID-19 is healthcare firms’ increasing dependence on emerging technologies and ramping up their data collection efforts. While the incorporation of new technologies undeniably offers substantial benefits to the healthcare sector, such as enhancing patient care, streamlining operational processes, and easing hospital congestion, GlobalData warns that it has concurrently led to a gradual rise in cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the industry.

Kamilla Kan, medical analyst at GlobalData, said: “The potential consequences for the medical device market are significant. On one hand, collaborations with tech giants can lead to ground-breaking advancements in healthcare technology. These partnerships have the potential to yield life-saving innovations and improved patient outcomes. However, as this lawsuit illustrates, they can also raise concerns about data security and patient privacy. The implications will affect patient privacy and jeopardize the public’s opinion on integrating new technologies into the healthcare industry.”

According to GlobalData poll in Q2 2023, out of 363 respondents, 41% of participants already expect cybersecurity to be a significant disruptor to the healthcare industry.

Kan added: “In the wake of this controversy, the medical device industry may face heightened scrutiny and regulatory changes. Stricter data privacy regulations could be enacted to protect patients from potential breaches. Medical device companies will need to establish clear guidelines for data sharing and ensure rigorous consent procedures to maintain the trust of patients and avoid legal entanglements.”

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