US Federal Communications Commission to reserve special radio frequencies for medical telemetry

Andover 20 July 1999 The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on July 14th, 1999 to dedicate a portion of the radio spectrum for medical telemetry devices. Wireless medical telemetry is used in hospitals in order to transmit patient data such as ECG or electrocardiograph waveforms in real time. As a major manufacturer of wireless medical telemetry, Hewlett-Packard Company fully supports this decision.

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The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on July 14th, 1999 to dedicate a portion of the radio spectrum for medical telemetry devices. Wireless medical telemetry is used in hospitals in order to transmit patient data such as ECG or electrocardiograph waveforms in real time. As a major manufacturer of wireless medical telemetry, Hewlett-Packard Company fully supports this decision.

For many years, hospitals and manufacturers have struggled to squeeze their medical telemetry systems into slivers of radio frequencies. In an effort to avoid potential interference in the future caused by business radio operations, television broadcasts, and other transmissions, the FCC, the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Society for Health care Engineering (ASHE), as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been working together to identify a new spectrum for use by medical telemetry devices.

Medical telemetry devices have operated on a shared basis with two-way business radio users within the UHF band and with TV broadcast stations within the VHF band. Despite the fact that telemetry operates on a shared or secondary basis to these other users, for the most part, medical telemetry devices have not experienced significant interference from these sources. However, as business radio use grows and digital TV stations become more prevalent, medical telemetry devices in general will be subject to more and more interference as time goes on.

Therefore, HP and other providers have tried for a decade to find adequate spectrum resources for wireless medical telemetry technologies. After much significant study and input from the AHA, ASHE, FDA and industry, the current proposal is to establish a specific frequency range of 608-614 MHz within the UHF band for medical telemetry operations. This spectrum would be shared only with radio astronomers whose use is extremely unlikely to interfere with medical telemetry. An additional 8-9 MHz near 1400 MHz would also be allocated to medical telemetry users on a co-primary basis.

Unlike medical telemetry products from most other manufacturers, HP's telemetry product already operates within the UHF band. And due to solid system design and channel selection, current customers of HP's telemetry equipment can continue its use without experiencing any interference from business band radios in the newly approved range of 608-614 MHz as well as in the existing one of 460-470 MHz. In addition, because HP's product operates within the UHF band, HP telemetry customers will not experience interference from either existing analogue or new digital TV broadcasters.


Leslie Versweyveld

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