Updated Resource Answers Wireless Technology’s Frequently Asked Questions
April 1, 2020
Categories: AAMI News, Health Technology Management, HTM Professionals, Information Technology
With more and more medical devices going wireless, there are bound to be questions—from what to look for in a wireless medical device to the importance of maintaining and managing a wireless network.
That’s why AAMI has released The Medical Connectivity FAQs, a free resource developed to help healthcare technology management (HTM), IT, and facilities management professionals understand the state of wireless tools and technologies, their use in healthcare, and how they can best be managed based on each profession’s responsibilities.“
We hope that this document serves as a medium for HTM,IT, and facilities management professionals to gain a better understanding of each other’s roles, enabling them to participate more fully in conversations about hospital network decisions that have a clinical impact and, ultimately, improving patient outcomes,” said Steve Baker, PhD, principal at Alpha Bravo Connectivity, clinical assistant professor at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR, and editor of the FAQs.
To that end, the FAQs provide answers and actionable tips to 81 questions submitted by subject matter experts, including security and network architects, HTM professionals, software and device manufacturers, and healthcare providers.
The FAQs were developed by AAMI’s Wireless Strategy Task Force, which was recently integrated into the Health Technology Alliance, a partnership consisting of AAMI, the American College of Clinical Engineering, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The first edition was published in 2014.
Among the many updates in the new document is a section on Bluetooth technology that includes a review of the different types of Bluetooth and guidance for implementing the technology with adequate security measures.
The sections on security and the maintenance and management of the wireless network also underwent extensive updates to include an in-depth guide to developing and evaluating a medical device security program and instructions for measuring and maintaining the health and wellness of a wireless network through troubleshooting, capacity planning, and software upgrades.
Baker led The Medical Connectivity FAQs project for AAMI and was assisted by Bill Salzstein, Travis Ruthig, and Ali Youssef, who contributed greatly to the Bluetooth, security, and wireless network sections, respectively; as well as Rick Hampton, Paul Sherman, Matt Pekarske, Peter Thornycroft, Shawn Jackman, Calvin Sproul, Phil Raymond, Maggie Berkey, and Mark Heston.
The Medical Connectivity FAQs are available for free download in the AAMI Store.
Medical Connectivity FAQ #72: What Bluetooth revision should hospitals be using?
The Medical Connectivity FAQs editors offered the following recommendations based on known issues of security and interoperability:
- Device designers and manufacturers should always use the latest specification possible. Only use Bluetooth-enabled devices tested and listed to Bluetooth 4.2 or later. Use only Basic Rate/Enhanced Data Rate devices tested and listed to Bluetooth 4.0 or later.
- New devices and systems should be tested and listed to the latest specification, at least Bluetooth 5.0
- If earlier versions are deployed, care should be taken to understand the potential security or compatibility issues involved and mitigate them by limiting access to information or areas of use.