[IoT Healthcare Industry News] Developing RPM Devices Made Easier by Bluetooth SIG’s Newly Released Generic Health Sensor Profile

developing rpm devices made easier
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On November 23, 2023, Bluetooth SIG has made a significant announcement, revealing their publication of a set of specifications that standardizes the approach for collecting sensor data from Personal Health Devices (PHDs), used for Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) solutions.

bluetooth sig announced ghs profile

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This set of specifications is called Generic Health Sensor Profile, delineating how to use the Generic Health Sensor Service (GHSS) to communicate health-related observations from different types of Personal Health Devices (PHDs) and of other Generic Attribute Profile (GATT) services, in order to support the exchange of crucial information such as device details, battery status, and power information, and accommodating multiple users on a single device.

This profile is a concerted effort to establish a uniform and efficient framework for handling sensor data from health devices, contributing to enhanced interoperability and simplified BLE device integration.

You may be also interested in What is RPM in Healthcare?

The Importance of Developing Personal Wearable Health Devices

Over the past few years, the pandemic has prompted a notable shift in the perception of both patients and healthcare providers, emphasizing the significant advantages offered by personal wearable medical devices in the realm of remote health monitoring solutions

This shift has also led to a growing emphasis among manufacturers concentrated on developing medical wearable devices designed for real-time monitoring of vital statistics, with a focus on facilitating the early detection of diseases or the identification of significant health risks.

Statistical data from Grand View Research underscores this trend, projecting that the healthcare segment is poised to experience the second-highest growth rate in the global wearable technology market from 2022 to 2030, closely following the surging popularity of consumer wearable electronics applications.

Using personal health devices geared towards promoting health, facilitating preventive treatment, and helping manage ongoing ailments, optimizes the doctor-patient relationship through more proactive and efficient telehealth solutions, and empower individuals to individuals to take charge of their health, fostering a collaborative and informed healthcare environment.

Difference between Consumer-grade and Medical-grade PHDs

Even the global landscape of medical wearable devices is evolving rapidly, it’s crucial to note that consumer-grade and medical-grade personal health devices have distinct differences between the two, although they may share common functionalities. So what’s the difference?

Consumer-grade Persoanl Health Devices

For companies who wants to incorporate wearable technology and health tracking solutions into their products for increasing sale volume, their consumer-grade devices mainly provide users with a more comprehensive and user-friendly health monitoring experience, fostering greater engagement in personal wellness and proactive health management.

Rich Embedded Sensors

Consumer-grade personal health devices often includes a diverse array of sensors to capture all-round health and fitness data, such as body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen, blood sugar, calorie consumption, and step count, etc., offering users a holistic view of their health and wellness.

Built-in Algorithm

After capturing vital sign monitoring data, the intelligent algorithm within the devices will turn raw data into meaningful insights. This enable the PHDs to generate personalized suggestions for a healthy lifestyle or exercise regimen, and provide early warnings when anomalies or deviations from normal health parameters are detected.

User-friendly Battery Life Optimization

Consumer-grade personal health devices are usually battery-powered, which means ensuring longer battery life and reducing the frequency of charging is crucial for optimizing user experience. The balance between the power consumption of various sensors and functionalities and device operational efficiency is the key.

Medical-grade Health Monitoring Devices

With health monitoring as the core function, professional medical-grade wearable devices requires higher data accuracy, aligning with regulatory requirements, and compatible with healthcare ecosystems and health information exchange standards. When designing and developing medical-grade wearable devices, the following four aspects need to be carefully considered:

Accurate Data and Timely Warnings

Medical-grade devices require a higher level of accuracy in data measurements. Therefore, precision of sensors and the reliability of data collected are paramount, especially when the device is intended to serve as a diagnostic tool, providing reliable data for healthcare professionals. 

Meanwhile, there should be a mechanism of timely warnings, alerting users and healthcare professionals to potential health issues.

Additionally, ensuring the availability of long-term data is crucial for providing doctors with a continuous and detailed history of a patient’s health data, in order to support accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.

Non-Intrusive Design

Non-intrusiveness is an important feature for wearable devices that need to be worn for an extended period of time. The device design should be tiny and lightweight, and minimizes safety concerns and hidden dangers. Non-intrusive design ensures users can incorporate the device into their daily lives without hindering normal activities or causing discomfort.

Long-Term Continuous Use

Professional medical-grade wearables should be engineered for long-term, continuous use to provide a sustained health monitoring solution. This involves optimizing battery life and reducing the frequency of charging, ensuring the device remains operational, especially during critical health monitoring periods.

Ensuring Data Security

The using scenarios for professional-grade wearable medical devices encompass in-hospital and home health management. Home-based scenario need to keep maintain the security of the collected health data.

While in hospital settings, the complexity increases as numerous wearable health monitoring devices may be in use simultaneously, and Bluetooth gateways as well as hospital management systems are involved. This requires robust IoT connectivity solutions, efficient data transmission, and a centralized system for real-time monitoring and analysis. In this situation, facilitating stab;e communication between devices, ensuring data integrity, and safeguarding sensitive patient information is paramount.

bluetooth health monitoring devices

Challenges Faced by Developing Medical-grade PHDs

Before the Bluetooth SIG publish the Generic Health Sensor Profile, there is a lack of universal standard for collecting and uploading sensor data from Personal Health Devices (PHDs) into Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems via Bluetooth gateways. The absence of a widely accepted standard have led to commonly seen compatibility issues and interoperability challenges, making it difficult to integrate various remote health monitoring devices into the broader healthcare infrastructure.

For EHR system providers, they need to develop custom API interfaces for RPM Bluetooth Gateway solutions. This require the huge investment on both time and cost for software programming.

For Healthcare providers, this hinders the seamless integration of diverse remote health monitoring devices into the broader healthcare infrastructure, and resulted in a limited selection of health monitoring devices that EHR system providers could incorporate into their RPM programs.

In a word, the lack of universal standard for collecting and uploading sensor data from remote health monitoring devices has impeded the rapid growth of the remote patient monitoring solution market.

You may want to know: what is IoT-based remote health monitoring system?

How Does Generic Health Sensor Profile Address These Challenges?

To address these challenges, Bluetooth SIG has collaborated with developers of major EHR systems, RPM services, and remote patient device manufacturers to established the Generic Health Sensor (GHS) Profile. It serves as a universal specification for collecting and uploading PHD sensor data into EHR systems, benefiting all key stakeholders involved in the RPM market.

For Healthcare Providers: 

The variety of personal health monitoring devices available for prescription or recommendation in the practice increases. This expanded selection allows providers to foster more personalized patient care, according to actual individual patient needs and preferences.

For EHR System Providers:

The adoption of The universal GHS Profile improves BLE-enabled system adaptability and ease of integration.

For PHD Vendors:

The GHS Profile simplifies development processes and enables remote health monitoring device manufacturers and vendors to expand their market reach. Take Zigbee 3.0 as a reference, it is a universal standard that devices from different manufacturers and brands can be easily integrated via a universal Zigbee gateway. The GHS Profile streamlines the BLE device-gateway integration process, fostering a more efficient, cost-effective, and interoperable environment for remote patient monitoring solutions.

All in all, the GHS Profile facilitates interoperability, expands BLE-enabled remote health monitoring device options, reduces costs, cultivating an environment that all involved parties in the remote health monitoring ecosystem enjoy the benefits.

Final Word

The global wearable technology market has shown significant growth, with a value of USD 61.30 billion in 2022. It is projected to continue expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.6% from 2023 to 2030. This growth projection presents opportunities for companies looking to enter the market and become key players.

If you are interested in making a mark in this thriving industry, Dusun IoT welcomes you to consult us for an innovative one-stop solution from design to manufacturing to global supply, and more. We have extensive experience in BLE device development, particularly in the areas of BLE gateways and end devices, and we specialize in downlink and uplink Bluetooth IoT solution system integration. With our ODM experiences and resources, Dusun IoT is absolutely a valuable partner to assist you in bringing competitive wearable technology products to market.

It’s also worth noting that the GHS Profile is now available for use by all Bluetooth SIG members, opening up opportunities in the realm of health monitoring devices. If you are interested in venturing into wearable technology market, Dusun IoT welcomes your collaboration and joint exploration. Our expertise and capabilities can help streamline the development process and ensure high-quality, reliable solutions.

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