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A Simple Answer to the Complex Problem of Medical Device Connectivity

Many medical devices still use proprietary RS-232 based protocols to connect and share data with other systems. Some have adopted network-based protocols that are more open but still cannot be understood by EMR systems or third party clinical applications without integration software. Some manufacturers provide enterprise gateway solutions that do connect to the EMR but manage data for a fleet of devices. The time and labor to install and maintain multiple enterprise gateway systems is a significant burden to hospital IT teams.

Medical devices that use IHE DEV and ITI profiles offer an alternative approach that simplifies data communication. Messages compliant to these standards are understood by most EMR systems and other data consumers. IHE profiles are sponsored by the American College of Clinical Engineering (ACCE), the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI).

Implementing IHE interoperability protocols inside a medical device is the most seamless way to deliver easily understood data connectivity. The next best solution is a small footprint cloud-managed per device gateway plugged into the medical device data port that adds compliance and translates proprietary data formats.

The IHE DEV profile defines a standardized communication protocol and terminology mapping. IHE ITI profile defines encryption and handshaking standards designed to assure accuracy and privacy of data transmission. It also includes cybersecurity best practices to protect the data network. Because IHE profiles are vendor neutral the hospital IT can implement connectivity for one category of device and easily integrate data from multiple vendors used throughout the hospital.

IHE standards based interoperability profiles represent the best practice in medical device connectivity. Check out our tech tips on how to make it simple to implement and manage.

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