FCC, FDA pave the way for wireless medical devices

The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Communications Commission are working together and separately to bring forward innovative wireless technologies and devices for health care faster. Both agencies aim to engage with innovators earlier and more often to streamline the process of licensing a product or bringing it to market.

One of the goals for both agencies is making sure that the proliferation of wireless devices that will be integrated in hospital work can operate together and with other equipment, such as an infusion pump next to the patient, and not interfere with each other’s activities and data transmissions. FCC is close to finalizing rules it proposed last year to expand its radio spectrum service to promote cutting-edge research for the development of wireless devices, said Kerry McDermott, FCC director of health care. FCC is focusing on wireless test beds, in which qualified organizations may conduct a range of research without having to ask permission every time they want to do something different. A test case for that are medical body area networks, which include wearable or implantable sensors that read key patient information like temperature, pulse or blood pressure, and rely on short range signals like Bluetooth technology, she said. The sensors will wirelessly transmit the data back to a hub where it is processed or displayed.


FCC, FDA pave the way for wireless medical devices