Visible to the public CAREER: Safety and security for next-generation world-scale real-time medical systemsConflict Detection Enabled

Project Details

Performance Period

May 01, 2013 - Apr 30, 2018


Kansas State University

Award Number

Interoperable, reconfigurable systems of medical devices are the future of medical technology. They will improve care outcomes by catching common mistakes, reduce clinician cognitive workload by suppressing false alarms, and streamline and simplify continued care, especially when patients move between different medical facilities. As the penetration of "smart" networked medical technology increases, we will see increased problems with cybersecurity of such systems. This project is building the theoretical foundations and software prototypes to enable safe and secure real-time medical coordination in the presence of not only random faults, but actively malicious actors.

Medical and cyber-physical systems rely on real-time feedback and control, where microseconds could mean the difference between correct functionality and a fault, and ultimately, in medical systems, life and death. Since it is not possible to count on technology functioning flawlessly, especially with intelligent active attackers who may have access to medical devices or the network through which they communicate, this project seeks to develop requirements and best practices for "optimistic real-time" safety-critical systems, with built-in fallback to safe states if timing or performance guarantees cannot be met. The software and communication protocols will allow for global-scale medical systems, with real-time care independent of the location of the clinician or the patient, minimizing the chance of malfunction as a result of natural faults or tampering. The status of the system will be communicated to users without requiring specialty knowledge of security or communication protocols.