Bluetooth 4.0 includes vital sign monitoring specs

By Brian Dolan
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Bluetooth Low Energy heart rate

Dayton Industrial's heart rate monitor

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) recently announced the finalization of two new developer specifications for connected vital sign monitoring devices looking to make use of the short range wireless technology. The specs called health thermometer profile and heart rate profile, are the first mobile health profiles to be part of the upcoming Bluetooth 4.0 release. The 4.0 update for the popular wireless technology will feature Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) as well as increased transfer speeds. In the press release, the SIG noted that Bluetooth could enable connectivity in medical device technology that provide vital sign monitoring and interaction with wireless devices.

An estimated forty million medical devices already feature Bluetooth technology, according to the SIG.

At least one medical device company has already announce plans to make use of the heart rate profile: Dayton Industrial unveiled a heart-rate monitor that will leverage Bluetooth 4.0. The low energy heart rate chest belt will feature energy efficiency technology that the company claims will enable it to run an average of 1.5 years on a single coin cell. The SIG says that connectivity to upcoming Bluetooth 4.0-enabled smartphones will allow for improved health and fitness monitoring apps. A blood pressure profile is expected to be released in July.

In June 2009, MobiHealthNews spoke with Bluetooth SIG's Executive Director, Mike Foley, about the potential for Bluetooth Low Energy (LE), the "hallmark feature" of Bluetooth 4.0. Foley discusses Bluetooth's potential in fitness and medical devices, the SIG's relationship with Continua and discusses other short range wireless technologies.

For more on the recent Bluetooth announcements, check out this MedGadget post