Thursday, September 06, 2007

Rx for medical messaging

I am still unpacking my notes from a trip to the annual Engineering in Biology and Medicine Conference, this year in Lyon. An email from Leonardo Estevez of Texas Instruments whom I met there jogged my memory about one effort.

At the conference I saw plenty of papers about medical consumer devices using Bluetooth, ultrawideband, Zigbee, cellular and RFID. Indeed, there's an embarrassment of riches these days and a growing problem in interoperability for the devices people imagine will soon appear on future home and personal area nets.

The IEEE 11073–20601 group, also known as the personal health data group, is working on a standard application layer mapping that would link standards for existing 11073 medical data formats to the wealth of wireless transports. Rather than write separate mappings for each wireless transport, they want to write template each can use. But the group needs broader representation to do its work. They are woefully underrepresented in Zigbee for instance. If you want to be part of this effort contact Douglas.P.Bogia@intel.com

Separately, Leonardo of TI tells me he sees an opportunity for a kind of medical SMS service that alerts family members and doctors with simple, standardized and machine-readable notes.

"If for example, I receive a message that tells me my grandmother hasn’t talked to anyone on the phone for the last two days or has been forgetting to take her drugs – I might want to call her. Physicians are also interested in this kind of information," Leonardo writes.

Sounds like a good idea. Leonardo is trying to find a forum, the 20601 effort or perhaps a new group, to champion it.

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