The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to approve a plan this week to dedicate some of the available bandwidth to wireless healthcare monitoring devices. The government agency will consider the new rules at its Commission meeting on Thursday.
The approval would make it easier for the healthcare industry to use allocated broadband space to create mobile body area networks (MBANs). These patient monitoring networks would operate independently of the facilities’ other IT functions and would be dedicated to devices for observing patients’ physiological signs such as pulse rate, blood pressure, fetal telemetry, and glucose readings. Patients could be continuously monitored even while moving through the buildings without being tethered to fixed locations.
As the networks would run on part of the short-length radio wave spectrum administered by the FCC, they could eventually grow to monitor patient data from outpatient facilities, ambulances, or patients’ homes. The agency says that access to bandwidth could lead to a reduction of costs and increased effectiveness of patient monitoring. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working to streamline the approval process for mobile medical devices, over which it has regulatory control, that will use the wireless spectrum.
Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems such as Medisoft Clinical, McKesson Practice Choice, and Allscripts MyWay work with a number of medical devices now and could in time be interfaced with these wireless devices to capture patient data. For more information about EMRs, please contact Microwize Technology.