The Bluetooth SIG (the group put together by tech companies like IBM, Intel and Motorola to guide the standards and development of Bluetooth wireless), is looking into applications for medical devices in the home.
“Health-related devices in the home, such as blood pressure monitors and exercise equipment, which implement the new standard will be able to send information wirelessly to Bluetooth enabled PCs or cell phones so that users can monitor their health information or share this information with a doctor or fitness coach anywhere in the world,” said Robert Hughes, chair of the new Bluetooth SIG Medical Devices Working Group and a senior wireless standards architect in Intel’s Digital Health Group.
There are already Bluetooth-enabled medical devices on the market, but these are based on proprietary technology. The creation of an industry standard design profile will ensure interoperability and proliferate the use of the technology.
According to Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG: “Because of its worldwide availability, existing pervasiveness in mobile phones and laptops, Bluetooth technology is ideally suited for medical devices that will provide a better quality of life for patients while reducing the cost of healthcare.”
The Working Group will begin work immediately, drafting the specification this year with the new profile available for use in devices in the first half of 2007.
The completed profile will run on all current versions of Bluetooth technology including the proposed UWB high-speed version.
Bluetooth seems like a nice middle ground between the range (but complication) of 802.11a/b/g/n and other more short-range solutions like IR or proprietary radio connections. As Bluetooth becomes more pervasive, secure simple systems would make for great monitoring in a more mobile in-house patient population.
More from Electronics Weekly, and from the Official Bluetooth Wireless Info Site