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Continua updates interoperability guidelines for home, personal health devices


By Joseph Conn
Posted: March 26, 2014 - 2:00 pm ET
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The release of new interoperability guidelines for home health and other personal health devices from the Continua Health Alliance and their adoption by the International Telecommunications Union should help fuel the use of patient-generated health data moving forward.

Beaverton, Ore.-based not-for-profit Continua has announced the debut of its 2014 design guidelines, whose aim is to enable manufacturers that adhere to its interoperability standards and implementation specifications to achieve “end-to-end, plug-and-play connectivity for personal connected health” with other devices and systems using the guidelines.

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“Continua's 2014 Design Guidelines have been adopted by the ITU as the first global standard for personal connected health devices and systems, enabling more efficient innovation and accelerated adoption of personal connected health, and improving the self-management of health and wellness,” Clint McClellan, Continua board president and chairman, said in a news release.

“The prevention and management of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity, are critical priorities in the world today,” McClellan said. “As a result, interoperability is becoming a key criterion for delivering care via readily available consumer products such as smartphones, tablets and computers.”

Continua announced last month plans to merge with the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

Continua claims more than 240 member organizations. A product registry on its website lists 78 home health products, including digital pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors, glucose meters and weigh scales, tested and certified as compatible with other devices and networks using its guidelines.

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, about 500 million consumers and healthcare providers worldwide will use mobile health apps within the next two years.

Continua launched in 2006, backed by medical and home health device makers, technology companies and providers. The ITU is a United Nations agency for information and communication technologies.

The 2014 guidelines are available online and without charge by sending an e-mail request to: admin@continuaalliance.org.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn


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