Wi-Fi Alliance, Continua to collaborate on wireless device standards for home health

The Wi-Fi Alliance and the Continua Health Alliance have agreed to work together to facilitate and promote the use of Wi-Fi wireless networking for personal health and fitness devices. The two organizations will conduct joint technical reviews of their specifications and guidelines to ensure the interoperability of these devices, primarily used in the home.

Since 2000, the Wi-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit organization, has certified more than 9,500 products for interoperability, quality and security. As more wireless devices become available for home use, it's beginning to expand from hospitals and other healthcare facilities into the consumer space. The alliance already has certified health-related products from such companies as Draeger, Healthsense and Roche.

Continua represents 240 manufacturers of home monitoring and personal health devices. It established a certification program in January 2009, partly to ensure the interoperability of these products. The alliance views the use of wireless as another step toward acceptance of home health and fitness devices in the consumer marketplace.

"Given its ubiquity in the home, Wi-Fi will play a key role in empowering individuals to better manage their fitness and health," said Chuck Parker, executive director, Continua Health Alliance. "Creating and implementing cost-effective personal connected healthcare technologies that work together to enable individuals to be proactive about their healthcare requires a rich marketplace of interoperable health devices and services. Working with the base that the Wi-Fi Alliance has established will help make that a reality."

In a presentation at HIMSS11, Parker noted that electronic home monitoring of patients with chronic diseases can help reduce mortality, hospital admissions and office visits. In addition, these devices enable patients to remain at home instead of going into long-term care.

Continua recently developed "plug and play" standards that allow home monitoring data to flow directly into EHRs, PHRs, and health information exchanges, Parker said.

To learn more:
- here's the press release
- read the TCMnet article 

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