IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) and Continua Health Alliance today announced they have signed a strategic agreement to help accelerate and broaden the adoption of globally relevant standards-based technologies for the healthcare arena. This collaboration brings together Continua, the leading organization convening industry standards to enable end-to-end, plug-and-play interoperability for personal connected health, and IEEE-SA, the global standards setting organization and developer of the IEEE 11073 TM family of standards designed for the entire healthcare continuum for personal health device communications.

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study commissioned by the West Health Institute identified more than $30 billion of annual costs to the U.S. healthcare system because of the lack of medical device interoperability, or simple connectivity between devices. IEEE-SA and Continua are committed to proliferating open, standards-based medical device interoperability across the industry to promote improved outcomes through consumer self-management of health and wellness, create healthcare savings, and support the market for personal connected health devices, systems and services.

"We are very excited about this partnership with Continua Health Alliance to further develop globally relevant standards that enable the integration of data and technology used by clinicians and caregivers to help patients live active and independent lives,” said Konstantinos Karachalios, managing director, IEEE-SA. "As an industry alliance, Continua brings a real-world, market-based perspective to innovation in connected health. By establishing an environment for closer collaboration between our two organizations, both IEEE-SA and Continua will enable greater implementation of interoperable personal health devices for disease management, health and fitness, and independent living.” IEEE-SA and Continua have established a relationship focused on expanding the implementation to the IEEE 11073 family of personal health device standards, as a means to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity through healthcare devices.

Together, IEEE-SA and Continua provide an environment for like-minded organizations and individuals to come together quickly, effectively and economically to build consensus at strategic points in a technology's lifecycle. The complementary pairing of IEEE-SA, a global leader in standards development, and Continua, a global consortium establishing an ecosystem of interoperable personal connected health systems, will help foster innovation and enable widespread market implementation of end-to-end, plug-and-play personal medical devices.

“Continua and IEEE-SA will work together to promote mutual interests through standards cooperation and to support continued growth of personal connected health on a global scale,” said Clint McClellan, Continua Board president and chairman. “IEEE standards that define methods for medical devices to plug-and-play with mobile phones, home hubs and health record systems are a key component of our reference architecture defining an end-to-end, plug-and-play solution for personal connected health. In addition, IEEE-SA is the global leader in media-access device standards for the Internet. Continued development of capabilities of these standards will expand opportunities for medical device communications.” This collaboration follows the announcement of 12 IEEE 11073 standards that were recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that are relevant to interoperability of medical devices.

“Continua’s Design Guidelines incorporate the IEEE 11073 standards, and recognition of these standards by the FDA supports the fundamental value of IEEE’s work in connected health as well as Continua’s vision for a connected health technology ecosystem that offers simple, plug-and-play connectivity from end to end,” said Mr. McClellan. “We are pleased to collaborate with IEEE to accelerate the global adoption of standards-based technologies for personal connected health.” IEEE 11073 standards are designed to help healthcare product vendors and integrators create interoperable devices and systems for disease management, health and fitness and independent living that can help save lives and improve quality of life for people worldwide. The growing IEEE 11073 family of standards is intended to enable interoperable communication for traditional medical devices, as well as personal health devices, and convey far-ranging potential benefits, such as reducing clinical decision-making from days to minutes, reducing gaps and errors across the spectrum of healthcare delivery and helping to expand the potential market for the medical devices themselves.

For additional information on the IEEE 11073 family of standards visit: IEEE 11073 standards are developed in the spirit of the “ OpenStand ” paradigm for global, open standards.