Physicians could see more medical devices going mobile

See on Scoop.ithealthcare technology

If all goes as the wireless health industry plans, it can start introducing far more products that allow physicians to monitor patients with no wires attached.


The Federal Communications Commission announced that wireless monitoring devices will be allowed to transmit data by spectrum bands previously reserved for use by the aerospace industry for flight testing. This dedicated spectrum will allow physicians to monitor patients anytime from anywhere without the worries of an unreliable network disrupting data flow.


While the FCC and health care may not appear to have shared interests, when it comes to mobile health, the FCC is key to how those technologies are deployed and used. Everything from radio signals to cellphone calls are transmitted across U.S. airwaves through dedicated spectrum bands. When mobile device manufacturers develop new products, they are designed to work on specific spectrums that the FCC has granted permission to use. Due to the overwhelming number of mobile devices in use today, existing Wi-Fi networks have been deemed not reliable enough for use by critical monitoring devices.


GE Healthcare and Royal Philips Electronics, both of whom have devices in development that are awaiting spectrum allocation before taking them to market, advocated the reallocation of spectrum used by the aerospace industry for test flights to be shared with Medical Body Area Networks, low-cost wearable sensors that collect and transmit vital signs. In 2011, representatives from the medical and aerospace industries submitted a joint proposal to the FCC that detailed a shared wireless spectrum. The FCC acted on the recommendation and announced its plan on May 24.

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