FCC modifies rules for mobile medical sensor spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission has modified its rules for allocating wireless spectrum for wearable medical sensors that transmit patient data to a control device. These sensors and control device form what the FCC calls a Medical Body Area Network (MBAN).

In 2012, the FCC allocated 40 megahertz of spectrum in the 2360-2400 MHz band for MBANs--the 2360-2390 band is for indoor use and the 2390-2400 band is for outdoor use. MBANs share this spectrum with aeronautical mobile telemetry.

"MBAN technology provides a platform for wireless networking of multiple body-worn sensors used for measuring and recording physiological parameters and other patient information or for performing diagnostic or therapeutic functions, primarily in health care facilities," explains the FCC in its order finalizing rules for MBAN operation released on Aug. 21, 2014.

MBAN devices are used to monitor patients wirelessly and provide doctors and healthcare professionals with real-time data for faster response in case of medical need. The FCC said that MBAN benefits include reductions in emergency transfers and less exposure to hospital infections, resulting in saving lives and reducing healthcare costs by billions of dollars.

The modification issued this week was in response to two petitions, one by the American Hospital Association asking that all MBAN devices be registered, and a second from GE Healthcare, Phillips Healthcare and the Aerospace and Flight Test Radio Coordinating Council asking for--among other things--the duties of the MBAN coordinator to be explicit.

As part of the order issued this week, the FCC finalized the process for selecting an MBAN coordinator, who will "facilitate use of the MBAN frequencies, which operate in shared-use bands," the order explains.

For more:
- read the FCC order

Related Articles:
An Apple a day keeps the doctor mobile
Smartphone users want doctor on call
mHealth app helps elderly patients with medical independence