Medical device interoperability will increase the efficiency of healthcare, thus it is good to know that Continua Health Alliance has been able to get the support of many large corporations including medical device manufacturers as well as hospitals and insurance companies, as they can help via providing of funding or information.
Chris - http://americanvisitorinsurance.com
Interoperability opens up quite a number of possibilities which could lead to reduction of medical errors and make medical attention rather swift. However, the cost of the peripherals that may be needed to upgrade the existing design may prove to be a significant hurdle.
Antiquus: those are good points. Personally, I wouldn't want my life to be dependent on a Windows anything: I'd start out with a for-real real time OS. But some of the mission-critical aspects of the design of a medical device can be handled by the use of good requirements, and in particular, requirements such as NASA's that deal with computer-based control systems. A defibrillator is certainly a mission-critical device, in fact, NASA would call parts of it "Crit-1" because failure can be catastrophic: loss of life or vehicle. So for sure, design of standard anything for medical devices has to be done by experienced people, not fresh-outs.
Be careful what you wish for. A 2 minute boot time on your WinCE-based defibrillator may not be the cost-savings that Marketing was looking for. Same goes for WLAN support -- what if that defibrillator can't "log on to the network"???
These are mission-critical devices in a sense, but only within a small geographical radius. Having wide-reaching compatibility and connectivity for secondary functions (like logging the defib activity so Finance can bill someone) should never be allowed to get in the way of the primary goals.
A little standard is a dangerous thing. The article mentions that a real-time OS is desirable, but would add to memory requirements. Of course: surely it would. But having one or two standard OS choices that are ready for the medical app to be "plugged-in" would save time and strain on the development team. Not only that, but surely very few companies plan to roll their own OS? It does happen, but I wonder how often it ends in tears vs. success.
This will revolutionize home medical care. Patients will be able to be monitored via internet and only come in to be seen when really necessary. It can also revolutionize medical care in remote areas since the data can be sent to a Dr. via cell phone for a diagnosis.