Interoperability for wireless health devices has a pulse, at least

By Brian Dolan
01:44 pm

Continua Health AllianceWhat's old is new again? Continua Health Alliance certified Nonin's Bluetooth-enabled fingertip pulse oximeter as the first, interoperable wireless health device. Nonin's USB-enabled pulse oximeter was the very first (and only other) Continua-certified device. 

The news runs counter to claims made by the Continua Health Alliance's Rick Cnossen, who chairs the alliance's technical working groups: At the American Telemedicine Association event in April, Cnossen announced that the first Bluetooth-enabled Continua-certified device would be announced in early May. What's more, Cnossen indicated to an audience member during the question and answer period that the first Bluetooth-enabled Continua device would not be made by Nonin. 

While delays for certification announcements are common and understandable, the move to promote Nonin's wireless pulse oximeter as the very first Continua-certified wireless health device is somewhat puzzling. Continua is an alliance of some 190 companies, many of which make health devices that are assumedly gunning for interoperability certification. Cnossen's comments at ATA indicated he understood that promoting another Nonin device would do a disservice to the marketing effect of announcing a different company's product -- if only to make clear that Nonin isn't the only company with market-ready, interoperable devices.

Instead it appears that -- at least for now -- Continua is a one trick pony.

Continua announces Bluetooth Low Energy, ZigBee for Version 2
Which technology should Continua pick?
Continua: TV set-top box could be home health hub 

Read on for the press release from Continua.


Nonin Medical, Inc. Announces the First Bluetooth(R) Continua(TM) Certified Product

MINNEAPOLIS, June 9 -- Nonin Medical, Inc., a leading innovator of physiological monitoring solutions, made history today by announcing the world's first Bluetooth(R)-enabled fingertip pulse oximeter, Onyx(R) II, Model 9560 is now certified as compliant to the Continua(TM) Version One Design Guidelines. By using the Bluetooth Health Device Profile (HDP) and ISO/IEEE 11073 data protocol, this Continua(TM) Certified product signifies a major step in the adoption of interoperable standards in telemedicine and chronic disease management such as COPD, CHF and asthma.

Nonin has been a key contributor in the architecture of interoperable standards, including ISO/IEEE 11073, USB Personal Healthcare Device Class (PHDC) and Bluetooth Health Device Profile (HDP) - all part of the Continua Health Alliance Certification requirements. Dedicated to developing cross-industry standards to reduce the cost of healthcare delivery, Nonin is working with many Continua partners to achieve this goal. "I am proud to announce the certification of the first Continua Bluetooth device, a fingertip pulse oximeter from Nonin Medical, Inc.," said Rick Cnossen, Continua president and chairman of the board of directors. "The availability of a Continua Certified Bluetooth solution contributes to Continua's mission to establish an ecosystem of interoperable personal telehealth solutions, empowering people and organizations to better manage their health and wellness."

"We are extremely excited about the Continua certification of the Onyx(R) II, Model 9560 and the role it will have in building an interoperable personal health ecosystem," said Jayant Parthasarathy, Ph.D., eHealth Business Manager for Nonin Medical and Chair of Continua's Technical Working Group. "This device is used globally by numerous OEM health management system providers to wirelessly transmit accurate vital signs data between patients and clinicians. We see this as an essential tool for disease management and healthy living."

Nonin recently announced the world's first Continua(TM) Certified product, the PalmSAT(R) 2500 with USB, and now added the first Bluetooth(R) enabled Continua(TM) Certified product to its list of interoperable solutions. Nonin continues to actively invest and develop innovative technologies and education tools for patient empowerment, wellness advocates, healthcare providers and manufacturers.

About Nonin Medical Inc. -

Minneapolis-based Nonin Medical, Inc. is a privately owned company specializing in the design and manufacturing of noninvasive physiological monitoring solutions. Nonin distributes its products to health professionals in more than 125 countries and has over 100 OEM partners worldwide. Nonin's industry-leading capabilities in signal processing and sensor design, plus its on-going integration of features not available in competitive products, are the foundation of its leadership in innovation.

About Continua Health Alliance -

Continua Health Alliance is a non-profit, open industry coalition of the finest healthcare and technology companies joining together in collaboration to improve the quality of personal healthcare. With more than 190 member companies around the world, Continua is dedicated to establishing a system of interoperable personal health solutions with the knowledge that extending those solutions into the home fosters independence, empowers individuals and provides the opportunity for truly personalized health and wellness management.


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