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How Are You Influencing Wireless Medical Technology?

Wed, 08/18/2010 - 6:23am

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Scott Zielski
General Manager, System Technologies and Services, Hospira

ScottZielski

Hospira has been at the forefront of wireless medical device technology in hospitals, as we were one of the first medical device companies to support multiple wireless protocols, such as 802.11a/b/g, enhanced wireless encryption, and wireless authentication with infusion pumps.

We have seen the implementation of our infusion systems serve as a catalyst for hospitals implementing and supporting wireless coverage throughout the hospital. By their very nature, infusion devices are mobile as they roam throughout the care environment with patients. Therefore, the implementation of “smart” infusion devices, such as Hospira’s Plum A+ infusion system with Hospira MedNet safety software, prompts the need to further expand wireless coverage to all areas of the hospital.

As we look toward the future of healthcare, integrations between infusion devices and clinical information systems and bar-code point of care systems will become more standard in order to improve patient care, making wireless medical technology essential. As Hospira continues to focus on bringing more integrated offerings to the market, we see our business continuing to influence the adoption of wireless medical technology.


Jon Adams
Business Development Manager, Wireless Connectivity Operation, Freescale Semiconductor
JonAdams

Connected health increases personal involvement in and responsibility for one’s own health, and partners with caregivers and loved ones. Most personal healthcare devices, whether they’re relatively simple things, like weight scales, or more sophisticated, like EKG/ECGs, bring the best benefit when the generated data creates metrics that allow the person to pay better attention to their health. Wires on weight scales just won’t work; wireless is the only way to solve the problem. Due to propagation challenges, cellular wireless doesn’t always reach to the bathroom floor, or blood pressure cuff at the desk, but standards-based, whole-home wireless, like ZigBee Health Care, does.

Using ZigBee wireless inside the home to tie together all the healthcare and wellness devices, and bridging that to the care provider via cellular or wired internet access is a great way to solve the connectivity puzzle and provide reliable, battery-efficient wireless connectivity. Freescale is an active participant in both the ZigBee and Continua Alliances, bringing technical leadership and years of experience to help major and emerging medical device manufacturers build high-quality, energy-efficient, wireless healthcare devices.

 


Alan Cohen
Medical Practice Team Lead and Director, Systems Engineering, Logic PD

AlanCohen

Telemedicine is a growing trend in the medical industry. Wireless devices, such as glucose meters, play a key role in the evolution of this new wave of patient care. Logic PD, which designs and manufactures many wireless medical devices, is working with other industry leaders to solve several of the unique challenges surrounding telemedicine.

Industrial Design–The ergonomics and usability of wireless medical devices used in telemedicine can vary greatly depending on the disabilities of a patient. The user experience for these products must be simple and friendly.

Communication Standards–Some patients may not have LAN lines or cell phone service in their homes so these medical devices must be designed to communicate via multiple wired and wireless vehicles. Logic PD is working via the Continua Health Alliance to establish wireless protocol standards.

Expense–Medical devices are typically expensive. To promote broad adoption of telemedicine, the cost of these medical devices must be much lower than hospital-grade devices and still maintain high quality for FDA approval. As both a design and manufacturing contractor, Logic PD is driving down costs through using our broad experience to design for low-cost manufacturability. 


Mark Schwartz
CEO, Product Development Technologies
MarkSchwartz

PDT’s expertise is rooted in mobile design. This heritage, married with our medical product development experience, has enabled PDT to fill a spot in the growing telemedicine movement as we work with clients to develop health/wellness tools never before feasible.

We see the smart phone influencing how telemedicine products are developed in myriad ways. PDT has developed hardware to aid in managing wellness that draws upon the strengths of smart phone design, while leveraging open architecture technologies. The recent decision by some handset makers to open up smart phone architectures is allowing us incredible opportunities for innovation and creativity. Although highly integrated package technology makes wireless product integration much easier than in years past, it still requires skilled designers to lay out products that will meet challenging regulatory and performance requirements.

Wireless connectivity adds a great deal of complexity to medical products; the key is to make the interface simple and intuitive for the user. Through rich user interfaces developed in operating system-based platforms, like Android, Windows Mobile, and WindowsCE, we are able to leverage built-in platform capabilities, enabling us to focus on the particular value-add of the targeted medical device. 

 


Jim Vana
Applications Engineering Specialist, 3M Electronic Solutions Division

JimVana

Wireless medical telemetry devices may be at risk from both EMI and RFI, as identified in the U.S. FDA Guidance on Wireless Medical Telemetry Risks and Recommendations. Even when using the developed Wireless Medical Telemetry Service bands, wireless device manufacturers need to guard against unexpected EM and RF interference that could lead to data integrity issues or other potentially disruptive situations for medical electronic equipment.

3M continues to provide a suite of leading edge solutions for EMI and RFI protection that may be used to help wireless medical device manufacturers mitigate these risks, including embedded capacitance materials for printed circuit boards, EMI/RFI shielding tapes and absorbing materials, and instrumentation for EMI testing. These solutions will continue to become more valuable as devices shrink and the amount of wireless device usage increases in the medical field.  

 

 


Joe Tillison
Technology Director, Avnet Electronics Marketing

joetillison

Wireless is certainly the buzz lately–or, more specifically, wireless sensor networks (WSN). One can’t help feeling that we’re on the verge of an outbreak of wireless sensor deployments for telehealth, patient ID/tracking, and asset management applications. The essential electronics technology is here today–extreme low power MCUs requiring only nA of sleep current, sophisticated standards-based ISM-band radios like IEEE802.15.4, and robust networking protocols like ZigBee, BluetoothLE, and 6LoWPAN. Moreover, it’s possible, when wireless sensors are coupled with energy scavenging devices that collect light, vibration, or even body-motion energy to deploy batteryless, wireless sensors that require zero maintenance.

Wireless technology, however, can also be fraught with new issues, such as equipment compatibility, RF co-existence, and network security. Certainly, the Continua Health Alliance’s efforts to define interoperable profiles for remote health monitoring and fitness equipment will help to mitigate some of these issues and give Continua-certified products a clear advantage in these applications. But, while the technology holds such incredible promise, the landscape is littered with literally hundreds of options for devices, protocols, and standards, and it’s not likely there will ever be a clear ubiquitous WSN standard analogous to Wi-Fi for wireless data networks. To support designers navigating the daunting buffet of options, Avnet stocks a variety of wireless kits for customers who just need to evaluate and test various wireless devices or protocols. 


Alex Brisbourne
President and COO, KORE Telematics

AlexBrisbourne

KORE Telematics is on the forefront of wireless medical technology, partnering with a number of application developers to improve outcomes and significantly reduce healthcare costs.

Wireless medical devices are being rapidly adopted by the healthcare industry, enabling remote monitoring of conditions from sleep apnea to heart disease and diabetes control. Collaborating with medical device manufacturers, KORE enables portable medical devices to transmit immediate information, reliably and inexpensively, allowing hundreds of thousands of patients to lead more active lives away from hospital beds.
Home-based Internet routers or landline phones help, but force patients to remain at home, even if their health condition does not warrant it. A more ubiquitous way to get information from patient to physician is needed. By using the same wireless cellular networks that power cell phones to transmit medical data, KORE enables patients to lead active lives while transmitting medical information to their healthcare provider.

By integrating the networks of major Tier 1 wireless carriers into a single cellular service platform, KORE provides ubiquitous wireless connectivity across the globe. This frees patients to literally travel the world while still having their medical diagnostics reported back to a doctor in real-time.


Ken Appel
Manager Regulated Markets, Veriteq

 

veriteq
Veriteq’s “hybrid” systems design has made it possible for a wide swathe of medical device manufacturers with applications requiring monitoring, alarming, and reporting of environmental conditions to use wireless technology and maintain gap-free records that are key to FDA compliance and ensuring product safety. By “hybrid,” I mean that recording of temperature, humidity, pressure, etc. are decentralized and done where the critical environments are (e.g., via a logger in a cleanroom), while the reporting and alarming functions are centralized.

Wireless systems have great appeal to many Veriteq customers, because the convenience factors of going wireless can be considerable. Costs can be lower too. Veriteq’s hybrid viewLinc system uses 10-year batteries on each data logger in the system that continue to collect data if wireless networks are interrupted, that then backfill in the data when the wireless system integrity is restored. This type of design redundancy, or “hybrid” systems, ensures gap-free records in the event that there is an interference with the wireless transmission, which can be brought on by something as simple as a lift truck passing through.


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