Continua Health Alliance is a group of technology, medical, and related companies, that is working on developing communication protocols for use on at-home medical devices. The basic idea is that if you’re a diabetic and decide to purchase a new blood glucose meter, you’d choose from those that have the Continua logo because that would supposedly guarantee compatibility with the sugar tracking software on your computer, and the computer of your doctor. Considering the list of companies that are participating in defining these protocols, it does suggest Continua will end up being a popular medical communication standard. As such, they have begun releasing initial specifications, and should be finished with all of them early next year. David Whitlinger, Chairman of Continua, and Director of Healthcare Device Interoperability at Intel, said in a conference call this morning that he believes that by the end of 2008 we’ll see Continua approved products hitting pharmacy shelves.
The Continua Version One standards represent a marriage of well developed healthcare informatics data standards with proven consumer electronic technologies. This integration provides the specifications necessary to enable connectivity across a wide variety of personal telehealth devices and services. The Version One standards include the Bluetooth Medical Device Profile Specification (Bluetooth SIG), USB Personal Health Device Specification (USB Forum), ISO/IEEE 11073 Personal Health Device Specifications (IEEE), and Health Level 7 for integration with standards-based electronic health records (EHR). The comprehensive set of guidelines will help improve the quality of care by empowering consumers and their healthcare providers to more simply share information through common communication channels such as telephones, cell phones, PCs, TV set top boxes, as well as other dedicated health devices.