Mar 1, 2007 By Mary Rose Roberts, Mobile Radio Technology

In his January 2004 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush pitched a plan that called for the implementation of electronic error prevention systems at all U.S. hospitals to reduce incidents of patients being improperly treated. As Congress continues to grapple with the proposal, medical centers nationwide are skipping the debate and embracing wireless technology like never before, in order to ensure sound patient/physician interactions.

Health-care systems’ foray into wireless actually began with implantable cardiac telemetry devices in the early 1960s. During the early years of adoption, medical practitioners learned that electromagnetic interference, or EMI, could negatively affect the performance of such devices.

The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Device and Radiological Health (CDRH) working group began studying the issue in the late 1960s when concerns surfaced over EMI’s effect on cardiac pacemakers. It wasn’t until decades later, in June 2000, that the FCC established the Wireless Medical Telemetry Service, which allocated the 608 MHz to 614 MHz, 1395 MHz to 1400 MHz and 1429 MHz to 1432 MHz frequencies primarily for use by medical telemetry devices.