Wireless medical devices might receive a little more love, thanks to a proposal from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission that was unveiled last week that would set aside the 2.36-2.40 gHz band for exclusive use by Medical Body Area Network (MBAN) devices. The goal, of course, would be that physicians would be able to remotely monitor a patient at home or in the hospital using wireless sensors attached to the body, giving patients the mobility to move around and doctors the ability to provide care while physically away from their patients.
According to the FCC, the specific benefits of the spectrum allocation are:
- Provide more reliable service and increased capacity for the use of MBANs in hospital waiting rooms, elevator lobbies, preparatory areas, and other high-density settings.
- Dramatically improve the quality of patient care with more effective monitoring, catching patients before critical stages, improving patient outcomes, and ultimately saving lives.
- Decrease expenses while increasing competition and innovation, easing entry for companies that are developing new wireless medical devices.
The mobile health industry is expected to grow to $2 to $6 billion by 2015, and setting aside part of the radio spectrum could fuel it even further by giving medical device manufacturers a large and reliable wireless band to use instead of developing devices on a variety of frequencies that aren’t compatible with each other.
Other wireless medical products have already established a presence on the wireless spectrum. Back in December, the FCC gave the OK for wireless devices that relay nervous signals to paralyzed limbs to use the 413-457 mHz band, and the Medical Implant Communications Service is already occupying the 401-406 mHz band. In addition, the FCC is hoping to allocate two additional spectrum bands for use in medical facilities and in homes.
More info from the FCC: Chairman Proposal To Spur Innovation In Medical Body Area Networks…
Article from Reuters: FCC chooses spectrum for wireless medical devices…