New medical device profile for Bluetooth wireless technology
22 November 2007
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced a
Medical Device Profile for Bluetooth wireless technology at Medica in
Düsseldorf last week.
A Bluetooth profile defines how different applications use Bluetooth
wireless technology to set up a connection and exchange data. The Medical
Devices Working Group of the Bluetooth SIG developed this profile to ensure
that devices in the medical environment can transfer data between devices in
a secure and well defined way via Bluetooth wireless technology.
Thanks to its elementary values such as low power, low cost, high
security and robustness, Bluetooth wireless technology is ideally suited for
these applications. With healthcare costs globally caught in a relentless
upward spiral, the healthcare industry needs creative solutions to meet the
ever-growing need for quality health services with wireless convenience,
while allowing patients, insurers, and governments to keep their budgets in
The recently announced ultra low power addition to Bluetooth technology
will further strengthen the opportunities to reduce cost size and power
consumption for many small, button-cell operated health and fitness devices.
This is expected to be available for general use in such devices in 2008.
The rapidly expanding health market is increasingly making use of
Bluetooth wireless technology to connect devices. Most of these connections
are between a computing device (eg home health station, cellular phone,
telemedicine device, computer or PDA ) and one or more Bluetooth enabled
devices (eg medical, health and fitness sensors such as heart rate, blood
pressure, glucose, weight, and oximeters, etc).
The transmission of data
takes place quickly and seamlessly such that the user need not be involved.
The Bluetooth-enabled telemedicine solutions will help patients to recover
or monitor their health and wellness while at home or away, potentially
saving significant amounts of money by reducing in-hospital care.
For the elderly, wireless applications allow a more mobile monitoring
system and less confinement to a room or a bed, thereby contributing to a
better quality of life.
“For medical and health applications, data can be very sensitive; therefore,
it is important to make sure the solution facilitates compliant compliance
with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and
other international data privacy requirements”, says Dr Mike Foley,
Executive Director of the Bluetooth SIG.
“In addition, some applications require increased reliability of
connectivity, timely processing of data, proper prioritization of time
sensitive data for single and multi-profile applications, improved data
interpretation and improved resiliency to network issues. The new Medical
Device Profile ensures the medical, health and fitness industries the best
wireless solutions on the market.”
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