Continua will post at its Web site early next year details of a compliance and testing program for device makers based on the upcoming guidelines. The group expects many of its OEM members will have compliant devices ready to demonstrate at events next year.
"It's our goal that this logo would take the place of consumers needing to know all the gobbledygook about what standards devices need to support," said Whitlinger.
"We see this group as part of an emerging paradigm in health care that will help create new product opportunities," said Deepak Ayyagari a principal scientist in the personal health technologies group at Sharp Corp. and a Continua member.
Probably the most difficult task for Continua is convincing insurance providers to permit reimbursement for use of home health care systems. To that end the group has contracted with a research company Abt Associates Inc. to develop a digest of all tele-health research studies on remote chronic disease management in the US and Europe over the past five years.
The resulting document will be used to make the point tele-health systems are cost effective. However, Continua members see the document as just the beginning of a long dialog.
"There may be quite a bit more work in coming years to prove out the reimbursement case for these systems," said Whitlinger.
The technology road map for the group will also evolve, he said. Continua has already put out to member companies a call for abstracts for a second-generation of use cases they want to address. About 30 abstracts have been submitted to date. Sometime next year, the group will determine which of those use cases it wants to address and develop requirements based on them for additional standards.
Researchers are prototyping consumer health systems using a wide variety of wireless transports including ultrawideband, RFID and Zigbee—transports currently not addressed by Continua. Whitlinger said the group's technical committee will continue to track new transports and other technologies it wants to include in future guidelines.
In addition, Continua is trying to broaden its membership. As more devices come online and become a significant data source, more companies involved in electronic medical records will become interested in Continua. The group also needs to broaden its membership to include more health care and insurance providers, observers said.