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Cloud-connected medical device company CEO responds to fears over hacking

You’re not wrong to worry about how your personal data is used online, but the benefits far outweigh the risks, says the CEO of publicly traded medical device company ResMed (RMD).

With more than 10 million cloud-connected CPAP and other breathing devices on the market, CEO Mick Farrell completely understands why patients are wary about letting those devices send data to the cloud.

“An individual person can turn their device into airplane mode on their own and have no connectivity to the cloud if they want to do that,” Farrell told YFI AM. “There’s a very small percentage of people who do that.”

But he says the majority of patients, and doctors, appreciate the insights they can get from being able to review data on sleep and breathing habits.

“There’s so much we can do with the information,” Farrell told Heidi ChungBrian Cheung, and Julia La Roche. “It changes the lives of the patients. It reduces the cost of taking care of the patients and it improves outcomes. Not just quality of life outcomes, but true outcomes: reductions in hospitalizations and reductions in chronic disease progression for those patients.”

“It’s a trade-off. If you want to get that data you have to go through a cloud-based mechanism,” he said.

ResMed CEO Mick Farrell rings the NYSE Opening Bell in celebration of 20 years listed on the NYSE and 30 years since its founding.

ResMed has so far collected more than 4.5 billion nights worth of data from patients using its devices. Some 2 million patients use its online tracker and app to monitor their sleep apnea treatment, and Farrell calls the company “productively paranoid” about keeping that data secure.

“Our focus on privacy and cyber security is incredibly important,” Farrell said.

They use strong encryption to make sure the data is not compromised in transmission, but even then, the company’s own privacy notice warns that “it is impossible to guarantee absolute security with respect to data protection.”

Still, he says it’s worth it to bring down costs and keep more people healthy around the world.

““You look at our economy here in the United States, 19% of the GDP is spent on health care. That’s actually sick care. If you’re able to keep people out of the hospital and in the home, than it can truly become home-based, or out-of-hospital based health care.” Farrell said. “The insights that we’ve gotten at the start here is really just one mile into a marathon of digital health.”

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AMS October 10