Lets say it all together now . . .”FINALLY!” The plethora of proprietary technologies in the medical devices industry is a huge impedance to the ultimate goal of seamless integration. This is a big step in the right direction and we hope to see it enthusiastically adopted across the board.
The USB Implementers Forum, Inc. (USB-IF) today announced the formation of the Personal Healthcare Device Working Group. The group’s initial goal is to define a USB Personal Healthcare Device Class specification. The new specification will enable health-related devices, such as blood pressure cuffs and exercise watches, to connect via USB to consumer electronic products, such as PCs and health appliances. Interoperability of health-related devices and consumer electronic products will facilitate the communication between patient and doctor, individual and fitness coach, or elderly person and a remote caregiver.
“The USB-IF is pleased to see the medical device industry embrace a proven industry standard such as USB for connectivity,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF president. “Millions of users already benefit from USB’s ease-of-use and interoperability. The USB-IF is working to deliver that same great user experience into the medical devices doctors and patients depend on.”
The USB Personal Healthcare Device Working Group has an ecosystem of more than 14 supporting companies including: Cisco, Intel Corporation, Nonin and Welch Allyn. One of the main goals of the new USB Personal Healthcare Device Working Group is to define a USB Personal Healthcare Device Class for transporting standardized healthcare messages and data. The Group has begun investigating requirements and device class architecture, and the new Personal Healthcare Device Class should be available for use in devices near the end of 2007.
The USB Personal Healthcare Device class is initially targeting three main areas:
Health and Wellness: Consumers could use a USB device, such as an exercise watch or a heart rate monitor, to connect to electronic devices, such as a PC or a cell phone. This information may be sent to a coach or caregiver for evaluation and assessment. Disease Management: Individuals with a chronic condition may want to manage their care by sending information from blood pressure cuffs or glucose monitors to tools such as health appliances or mobile health devices. This information can then be sent to a caregiver for action and analysis. Aging Independently: Information from USB devices that monitor daily living, such as motion sensors, can be sent to consumer electronics devices, such as a health appliance or PC, and on to remote caregivers or family members.