Thursday, April 26, 2007

Log in and say “Ahhh”

A growing class of medical devices are moving into the digital, networked era, and they need standards to make sure they interoperate. Enter the IEEE 11073 personal health data work group.

The committee, that now includes nearly 100 people from more than 50 organizations, started its work last July. So far, it has defined use cases, drafted a broad set of requirements, and created a draft for a common data exchange protocol.

The group aims to define nine standards in its first round of work. Beyond the data protocol, they include a common data format specification and specs specific to six device types--a blood pressure monitor, a pulse oximeter, a heart/pulse rate meter, a scale, a thermometer and a glucose meter. The group will also write a technical report that describes the use cases and environment for networking such systems.

Thanks to Doug Bogia, chairman of the committee and a member of Intel's digital health group, for providing an update on the committee's work. The Intel group helped found the Continua Health Alliance that is trying to pave the way for such systems. We baby boomers will likely link many of these future devices to our PCs and cellphones someday.

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