Wireless healthcare

A new report claims that a dedicated frequency band for medical devices would stimulate the uptake of wireless technology within healthcare environments.

A dedicated frequency band for medical devices would boost confidence and stimulate uptake of wireless technology within healthcare environments.

This is one of the recommendations of a new report launched by ERBI Medtech in conjunction with Cambridge Wireless.

The report, ‘Is the future of medical devices wireless?’, was produced following a workshop that brought together experts from the fields of medical device development, wireless technology and healthcare. The aim was to discuss the issues that face technologists when developing devices for a range of healthcare environments.

Barnaby Perks, director of ERBI Medtech, said that wireless is a key enabling technology for monitoring and diagnostics. ‘The workshop identified clear applications for wireless technology – significantly the remote monitoring of the elderly and chronically ill. However, a big concern for the clinicians was interference between devices on congested frequencies and problems of interoperability. They could envisage a proliferation of monitors and sensors none of which could “talk” to each other,’ he added.

‘The consensus was that a dedicated medical frequency band was required, plus a set of pragmatic operating standards. The view from delegates was that not only would this set a clear framework for device development but it would also enhance public confidence. Many of the healthcare professionals mentioned that patients were concerned about close proximity to wireless devices and a medical standard might reassure them.’

The report, produced jointly with Cambridge Wireless and sponsored by Cambridge Consultants and the Health Technologies Knowledge Transfer Network, is available at http://www.erbi.co.uk.