FCC Mulls Spectrum For Medical Gear - InformationWeek
01:43 PM

FCC Mulls Spectrum For Medical Gear

The designation of low-frequency wireless spectrum for Medical Body Area Networks, or MBAN, could drive adoption of low-cost telehealth applications for home use.

While President Obama Tuesday signed the healthcare reform bill into law, other segments of the federal government are in the midst of decision-making that could also influence a proliferation of new healthcare services.

Several months ago, the FCC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, or NPRM, seeking public comment on allocating a spectrum for medical body area networks, or MBAN. Some healthcare technology vendors are hoping the FCC will approve a low frequency band that they say would allow for the fast development of inexpensive medical monitoring gear for hospital and home use.

The FCC is expected to issue a draft rule on MBAN by early summer.

The spectrums being considered by the FCC include a band of 40 MHz at 2360-2400 MHz, which is a band considered underutilized, or "quiet" right now, and has been used primarily by aerospace firms and the U.S. Dept. of Defense, said Paul Coss, Philips Healthcare's MBAN and wireless strategy lead.

If allocated for MBANs, the 40 MHz swath of spectrum would allow manufacturers such as Philips to leverage existing technologies and components that work in a neighboring band and quickly develop new, very low-power wireless sensors for use in healthcare, said Coss in an interview.

New low-cost MBAN products would complement U.S. healthcare providers' ongoing efforts to roll out and "meaningfully" use e-medical records and other health IT systems in accordance with the federal government's $20 billion HITECH stimulus bill signed into law in February 2009.

Health data collected via low-cost patient monitoring devices in homes, hospitals, and even in ambulances could be integrated into these e-medical record systems.

Together, those efforts could drive the use of less costly in-home patient monitoring and fuel growth and innovation in telehealth applications, said Coss.

Healthcare products companies such as Philips Healthcare (and GE, which has been lobbying for a dedicated, low frequency radio band for patient monitoring systems for a number of years) are in favor of establishing the 2360 to 2400 MHz band for health IT purposes because the band is a "sub band" of the 2400 MHz band used for some consumer-oriented products today.

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll