Saraju MohantyDepartment of Computer Science and Engineering Professor Saraju Mohanty recently received a $500,000 three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to further advance smart healthcare.

The healthcare industry is estimated to contribute up to 30 percent of the world’s stored data, and healthcare devices, such as pacemakers and insulin pumps, are susceptible to cyber security attacks just like any other Internet connected device. Mohanty, along with Electrical Engineering Professor Elias Kougianos and College of Health and Public Service Professor Elias Mpofu, plan to make that data more secure by launching Easy-Med, a hardware-assisted solution that includes security and privacy technology along with training for healthcare professionals.

“Smart healthcare is defined by the technology used to advance patient care and improve diagnoses through interconnected medical devices and online data. Imagine if someone were to hack into a pacemaker to drain its battery or into an insulin pump to change its dosage – it could lead to a critical medical issue,” said Mohanty. “The knowledge gap between the designers of smart healthcare frameworks and their users increases the vulnerability of connected medical devices and reduces their effectiveness. Our goal is to provide a full-proof security solution for these devices, while also ensuring a very minimal battery consumption and, ultimately, decreasing the chance for future surgeries.”

Mohanty says Easy-Med also will help store large amounts of data created by medical devices, improving how the healthcare industry manages data.

Funding for the project is split equally between UNT and the University of Texas at Tyler.