Software Integration of Medical Devices – An Important Issue in Modern Health Technology
- General issues regarding interoperability in medical devices are discussed
- Examples based on Service Oriented Architectures are presented
The number of medical and health devices is increasing steadily. Interoperability between medical devices which means the capability of interacting with each other on an abstract software or semantically level does not keep pace, though. While many data communication standards are available for wired and wireless networking most medical and health devices are severely limited in terms of device cooperation across different manufacturers due to business strategy, legal, and safety issues and are missing technical interconnection solutions on a syntactic level. Thus, operators and users often still use “stone-age integration” of isolated health devices by printing results and feeding those into the other devices.
Networked medical devices can be mostly found for the specific product line of a given manufacturer only.
Upcoming interoperability standards for medical devices like the ISO/IEEE 11073 or HL7 are not adopted widely.
On the other hand Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) based on Web Services have proved to be a viably approach so solve interoperability issues in business environments. Based on this we discuss Web Services for Devices (www.ws4d.org) for device discovery and event processing in dynamic environments. Adopting other Web Service standards can be used for secure data transport, description of interfaces and messaging thus offering a solution for Plug and Play Interconnection of medical and health devices and paving the way for new eHealth business opportunities and improved medical care. One specific open source standard “Devices Profile for Web Services” will be highlighted which has been successfully implemented even on many resource limited embedded devices as well as standard computers and in factory automation thus yielding an easy to use Plug and Play embedded device ecosystem. Tool support for easy service creation and device cooperation will be demonstrated.
As an example we present some eHealth application examples from European projects like OSAMI (Open Source Ambient Intelligence Commons for an Open and Sustainable Internet).
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