• by bcarlson@marketresearch.com
  • August 2 2016


AACC Begins: Theranos, IVD Cybersecurity a Focus

AACC Begins: Theranos, IVD Cybersecurity a Focus

AACC, the world’s largest lab professional and IVD convention, began with a large splash -- and more media, crowds, and dare we say, rock music, than a clinical chemistry convention normally sees.   Kalorama was live tweeting and will continue to do so thoughout the American Association of Clinical Chemistry Conference in Philadelphia (follow us for updates).  This attention to the meeting came as controversial fingerstick test start up Theranos presented to the community of pathologists, lab managers and other professionals and those IVD and supply companies that sell to them.   Theranos unveiled some of the inside workings of their technology and some selected data to a data-focused and skeptical audience, with many simultaneously commenting on the slides on Twitter and Periscope.   It is not likely the talk will do much to quiet the concerns of lab professionsals, as Theranos used its presentation to unveil a new product, the MiniLab, rather than presenting data on its previous products, which many expected.  The technology is the size of a desktop printer and performs several key tests required for a lab using microfluidics, robotics and a variety of analytical processes including flow cytometry and spectrophotometry.  For this data-hungry professional group, the new product created new questions and requests for peer-reviwed data, ISE, validation of previous tests manufactured by the company, consistency of the company’s comparisions to FDA-approved devices, and goalpost-moving concerns.   The audience cheered when a scientist said that presented data fell far short of claims.   The AACC’s invitation to Theranos provided welcome attention to the testing industry, an often obscure area of healthcare that is nonetheless involved in many decisions.  As Mayo Medical Labs tweeted "Lots of ?s remain but the conversation has started."

The Diagnostic Marketing Association (www.dxma.org) held an IVD in Cybersecurity Event near the convention center.  Speakers there discussed the threat to POC and other IVD devices that are connected to the cloud.  These devices provide both benefits and risks.  The threats of ransomware hacks or medjacks for malicious intent were discussed.  An interesting focus to this meeting of marketers and IVD product development personell was the need to consider users in cyber security.  If clinical users do not buy in, the security features of medical devices will be turned off, hard-coded, or simply not used.  Rather the speakers, including Jim Jacobson of Siemens Healthineers, insisted on ’smart authentication’ - easier passwords that would last a shift, cell phone recognition, barcodes and other steps that would enable users to keep equipment safe from hacks but stil use it.    

Today the vendor showcase, the Clinical Expo begins with hundreds of IVD companies and lab supplies.  Kalorama Informaiton will be conducting meetings with top level IVD companies in order to build the primary research our reports are based on.