On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission released a final rule to allocate wireless spectrum for medical body area networks -- or MBANs -- beginning Oct. 1, Modern Healthcare reports (Lee, Modern Healthcare, 9/11).
How the Technology Works
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.
In May, FCC voted to approve a plan to allocate spectrum for MBANs. Under FCC's plan, MBANs can 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 can conduct real-time monitoring of patients who use wireless medical devices.
In addition, hospitals can wirelessly monitor patients using low-powered devices that would turn off when patients moved outdoors (iHealthBeat, 5/24).
Details of Final Rule
In its final rule, FCC wrote that allocating spectrum for MBANs "will enhance patient safety, care and comfort by reducing the need to physically connect sensors to essential monitoring equipment by cables and wires."
However, some details about FCC's MBAN plans remain unfinished, according to Modern Healthcare.
For example, FCC has yet to name a frequency coordinator to manage the process by which MBAN users register and coordinate their use of the technology.
On Monday, industry stakeholders GE Healthcare and Philips Healthcare sent a joint comment letter urging FCC to designate a frequency coordinator by June 2013 (Modern Healthcare, 9/11).