Wireless technologies that are transforming medical care

Improving patient outcomes, meeting stringent compliance mandates and reducing costs are key health care provider requirements. To meet these objectives, the medical industry is accelerating the integration of radio frequency (RF) mobile devices into all facets of their workflow, from implantable devices, to mobile diagnostic equipment, to even facility automation that makes hospitals “smart”. In order to meet this challenge, medical device manufacturers are looking to offer solutions that can be implemented more quickly, provide reliable connectivity and deliver tight data security.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the use of RF wireless technology can translate into significant advances in health care. Wireless medical devices deliver a wide range of benefits that include increasing patient mobility, giving staff the ability to remotely program, and enabling physicians to remotely monitor patient data regardless of the location of the patient or the physician.

WiLink™ 8 and customized device drivers from Intelligraphics

Intelligraphics recently announced a collaboration with Ivenix Inc. on an infusion pump platform built on TI’s WiLink™ 8 WL1837MOD chipset. Designed with patient safety as a top priority, the Ivenix solution uses technologies similar to a smartphone and is designed to manage patient-specific intravenous (IV) information (see Figure 1, below). The goal of this platform is to improve health care compliance, data flexibility and remote connectivity.

 As part of the TI WiLink™ 8 high-performance Wi-Fi® plus Bluetooth®/Bluetooth low energy portfolio, the WL1837MOD is an industrial-grade Wi-Fi dual-band, 2.4/5GHz Bluetooth and Bluetooth low energy module with two antennas. It supports multiple hardware, software and operating systems, providing the flexibility, reliability and throughput that medical device manufacturers are looking for.

Be sure to consider the following when developing wireless medical devices:

  • Your preferred wireless technology, including 802.11, Bluetooth and near-field communication (NFC).
  • Quality of service (QoS) and data throughput.
  • Coexistence and compatibility with existing information technology (IT) infrastructure.
  • Enterprise-level security and data-protection compliance.
  • Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) with other medical devices.

Enterprise-level security to help protect patients and assets

Manufacturers of medical devices that potentially could be affected by cybersecurity threats should be extremely vigilant. In 2014, the FDA published a document explaining how medical device manufacturers should proactively design-in security features that help insulate the device from cybersecurity threats, at all levels of the application stack.

Intelligraphics provides enterprise-grade security at the point where the hardware and software interact with the device driver and firmware. Security solutions include Extensible Authentication Protocol, Transport Layer Security (EAP-TLS) as a feature within the Intelligraphics Enterprise Security suite. EAP-TLS is one of the best-supported methods used by enterprise security vendors. The biggest strength of EAP-TLS is its leverage of the public key infrastructure (PKI), or certificates, which provide a secure and well-known way to authenticate and authorize users for network access.

Wi-Fi-enabled medical devices such as X-ray, sonography, insulin meters and other assets can benefit from optimized 802.11 and Bluetooth solutions built on the TI WiLink™ 8 platform to meet stringent requirements. The development team at Intelligraphics provides device driver, firmware and RF optimization expertise to help wireless medical device manufacturers deliver performance, Wi-Fi reliability and IT coexistence from their products.

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