Freescale Semiconductor introduced a home health hub (HHH) reference platform to help medical equipment manufacturers quickly and easily create remote-access devices that can collect, connect and securely share health data for improved healthcare management.
The HHH reference platform is based on Freescale’s i.MX28 applications processor and ZigBee® and sub-1 GHz transceivers. It enables secure WiFi and Ethernet connectivity to remote devices with displays, such as tablets, smartphones or PCs with medical-specific remote user interface (UI) options. The platform also can provide wired and wireless connectivity to end healthcaredevices, such as blood pressure monitors, blood glucometers, weight scales, pulse oximeters and more via ZigBee, sub-1 GHz, USB, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy including medical-class-specific device profiles.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are 860 million chronic disease patients worldwide, and 75 to 85 percent of all healthcare spending can be attributed to chronic disease management. Many of those who suffer from chronic diseases are 65 years or older – a demographic that the U.S. Census Bureau estimates will represent 19 percent of the U.S. population, or about 72.1 million individuals, by 2030.
Societies around the world continue to look for ways to reduce health care costs for these chronic patients while improving their quality of life. Remote patient monitoring devices can be made based on Freescale’s home health hub reference platform and can allow patients to avoid unnecessary emergency room visits which both saves money and helps improve patient outcomes.
“The changing dynamics of the aging global population are creating an increased demand for new technologies and tools that can offer peace of mind to the family members of seniors living at home,” said Steven Dean, manager of Freescale’s Global Healthcare team. “There’s also a need to provide access to healthcare in remote and growing regions of the world to improve the quality of life for millions of people. Our new home health hub reference platform is designed to simplify development of connected medical devices and help our customers more easily address these growing needs.”
Freescale’s HHH reference platform provides comprehensive functionality and can be used as the foundation for connected medical product designs, giving developers a head-start to help them get to market faster. The Freescale HHH reference platform delivers a hardware implementation and the necessary software components to provide pre-validated, secure connectivity for healthcare devices and user interfaces.
“We have proven technology out there to monitor patients and connect their data to the cellular network, such that a healthcare professional could intervene instead of the patient having to go to the emergency room,” said Kent Dicks, founder and CEO of MedApps. “We’ve found this to be extremely effective.”
The HHH reference platform software adheres to Continua device profiles to provide consistency and compatibility with other Continua-certified medical devices such as blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters and weight scales. The platform also enables connection to the Microsoft HealthVault, a privacy- and security-enhanced online data repository that lets users organize, store and share their health information.
The HHH reference platform consists of an aggregator/gateway board based on the low-power i.MX28 applications processor (built on the ARM9™ processor) running various connectivity interfaces to healthcare end devices and wireless or wired connectivity for a remote user interface. Also included is a panic alarm sensor based on Freescale’s MC12311 sub-1 GHz radio, providing personal emergency response system (PERS) functionality. To complete the reference platform, software such as board support packages (Linux® and Windows®Embedded Compact 7) and example code are included.
“If you think about all of the different devices in a healthcare ecosystem, Windows Embedded allows our partners to align on one trusted technology platform,” said Lorraine Bardeen, marketing director for Windows Embedded EMEA at Microsoft. “This collaboration with Freescale builds upon Microsoft’s vision for the evolution of intelligent systems by helping medical manufacturers and healthcare organisations capture the full potential of connected medical data.”