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ETSI produces tech standard for telehealth

28/05/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

European standards organisation ETSI has published a new standard for networks carrying data from small medical devices that are carried on or inside the body.

ETSI graphic

In a move that could contribute to the growing adoption of telehealth technology in healthcare, it has produced the ETSI TS 103 327 standard for smart body area networks (SmartBANs).

Its relevance to the field is conveyed in a specific reference, in the form of a use case, on its value in supporting fall monitoring systems for elderly people in their homes.

It also includes a high level architecture for managing SmartBANs, with an emphasis on interoperability between different solutions and applications. This indicates that body sensors should communicate with a body getaway or hub, which in turn will send data to a local server or distributed monitoring servers and services managed by medical specialist, care givers, patients’ relatives and home managers.

ETSI said this should encourage the creation of new cross-domain applications in order to integrate SmartBANs into the web of things (WoT), the software architectures and patterns that allow objects to be part of the world wide web.

Interfaces and infrastructure

The standard also establishes standardised service and application interfaces and facilitators, APIs and infrastructure for interoperability, and guidance for secure interactions with any SmartBAN data or entities.

Its creation is a step towards the horizontal management of body area networks across a range of areas, ETSI said.

The organisation has previously highlighted the development of body area network technologies and said that for them to reach their full potential there is a need for devices to be optimised for specific purposes. For example, those suitable for monitoring people during bursts of exercise a few days a week may not be right for 24/7 monitoring in telecare.

The standard is aimed at helping to provide scope for this optimisation while supporting interoperability. 

SmartBAN devices run on ultra-low power with a low complexity medium access control protocol and need to be robust against any interference in transferring data.

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