Course of the data collection

On July 11, 2013, 89 respondents took the survey, of which 58 respondents completed the survey. Based on the 58 respondents who completed the survey, the medical implants that people carry with them can be divided as follows:

  • ICD 69%
  • Insulin pump 21%
  • Pacemaker 7%
  • Other 3% (S-ICD/ combination of two medical implants).

The vast majority of respondents are men, 72% versus 28% of women. 40% of the respondents declared they have a medical implant that works on a wireless network, 14% don’t know. Of the 58 respondents, 14 participated in the interviews, one respondent having an ICD is also an ICD nurse. In the course of this chapter, some questions from the survey are highlighted. See Appendix 5 for a complete list of the results.

The group of patients who participated in the interviews mainly consisted of men (eleven men against three women). The majority of respondents carried an ICD (ten respondents with an ICD, two respondents with a pacemaker, and two respondents with an insulin pump). The age lies between 25 and 64 years, with the largest group falling within the 55-64 year category. Especially patients who have given comments in the survey are willing to participate in the interviews. Possible explanations can be that these respondents have the idea/confidence they can make a contribution to the research and have the need to explain themselves further. Holding the interviews with patients went very smoothly, often an appointment could be made within a week. Making an appointment with physicians was harder because of their busy work schedule. In the end, interviews were held with a cardiologist, ICD-technician, an internist, and an ICD nurse who also carries an ICD. It was challenging to find manufacturers and security experts who were willing to participate in this study. All five producers are operating in the Netherlands, were approached for this research. Also, computer security companies were approached. One of them is working for a manufacturer of RCMI’s, and two American security experts were contacted who are directly involved in research about the risks of hacking regarding RCMI’s. Many companies are not willing to cooperate with this research because there is no staff available or because a policy is in place stating that the firm is not allowed to participate in these kinds of studies. Eventually, I managed to interview a manufacturer, a marketing director at Biotronik, and an American security expert at InGuardians, for this research.

Almost all interviews were conducted by phone and recorded with the mobile application Call Recorder with the consent of the respondents. The interviews lasted on average around 35 minutes. One conversation has taken place in the hospital in the cardiology department. In this interview, I got the opportunity to see the equipment that is used to extract information from the pacemakers and ICD’s, the home monitoring systems, and different kinds of pacemakers and ICDs. Afterward, the interviews were elaborated in the form of a transcript. These transcripts were sent to the respondents. In this way, respondents could read the interview and could give any comments and feedback. First, the interviews with the patients were conducted. These interviews cast many questions that were presented to the other groups of respondents. As a result, certain ambiguities could be clarified.