Docs Want Medical Devices That Talk to Each Other

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2008 2:15 PM CST
Docs Want Medical Devices That Talk to Each Other
A child undergoes surgery.   (AP Photo)

Even as electronic consumer gadgets grow more sophisticated, medical technology lags, relying on wires that one doctor calls “malignant spaghetti,” the Boston Globe reports. Because devices such as heart monitors and IV drips can’t communicate easily, human error enters the equation. "My bank can notify me via text message if my account has a low balance, but medical devices can't let me know if my patient is having a critical event," grouses one doctor.

Medical devices currently “don't speak the same electronic languages,” one doctor said. Not only do doctors not “realize things can be better than they are today,” but device makers hesitate to introduce advanced connectivity because of price concerns and fear of increased competition. Once the first truly connected medical device emerges, though, the paradigm will shift. “As soon as you get the iPod,” one FDA official said, “it just mushrooms.” (Read more hospital stories.)

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