On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission announced a plan to allocate spectrum bandwidth for wireless medical sensors that could be used to monitor patients' health, The Hill's "Hillicon Valley" reports (Feinberg, "Hillicon Valley," The Hill, 5/15)..
If the plan is approved, the U.S. would be the first country to allocate spectrum for medical body area networks, or MBANs, according to CNN's "The Chart."
How the Plan Would Work
MBANs are wireless systems that use wearable sensors to monitor patients' vital signs, such as blood glucose levels, blood pressure, pulse, respiratory health and temperature.
Under FCC's plan, MBANs would use the newly allocated spectrum to form a wireless network, aggregate information from the wearable sensors and transmit the data to a centralized computer system. Health care providers then could conduct real-time monitoring of patients who use wireless medical devices.
According to manufacturers of MBAN systems, the use of wireless medical sensors could drive down health care costs (Dellorto, "The Chart," CNN, 5/17).
On May 24, FCC is scheduled to vote on the plan to allocate the spectrum for MBANs (Carew, Reuters, 5/17).
If the commission approves the plan, FCC and FDA have an agreement to collaboratively streamline the process for approving MBAN devices. FCC would review the technical aspects of a device, while FDA would review its medical features ("Hillicon Valley," The Hill, 5/15).
MBAN devices would need to receive FCC and FDA approval before they could be used in hospitals ("The Chart," CNN, 5/17).