GE Healthcare seeks new class of wireless patient monitors

GE Healthcare is trying to cut the cords on patient monitors with a new effort to develop wireless monitoring systems called body sensor networks. Working in conjunction with parent company General Electric's GE Global Research division, GE Healthcare is looking to replace the traditional wires that connect sensors to monitors with wireless sensors that send vital signs to bedside or patient-worn receivers, Health Data Management reports. Clinicians would be able to access patient data remotely and in real time.

GE Healthcare hasn't announced a schedule for product development, but the Waukesha, WI-based business unit is working on body sensor networks while it pushes federal regulators to reserve radio frequency for the technology. (Other vendors have dubbed monitoring systems "body area networks," but those rely on established standards wireless like Wi-Fi and ZigBee.)

The Federal Communications Commission, at GE's request, recently proposed rules to carve out a dedicated radio-frequency band for low-power, short-range, wireless patient monitoring devices called the Medical Body Area Network Service (MBANS).

For more information about body sensor networks and GE's corporate initiative:
- peruse this Health Data Management story
- see the GE Healthcare press release
- read the FCC's June 29 notice of proposed rulemaking (.pdf)