Officials from Vodafone Global Enterprise have confirmed the organization will be providing telecommunications services to Boston Scientific to enable the transfer of cardiac monitoring data via cellular technology, reports Information Week.
As a result, physicians will be able to access real-time health information on their patients’ vital signs and general cardiac health on their smartphones and tablet computers.
The announcement is the latest example of how global telecommunications infrastructure is being used to benefit large scale healthcare IT initiatives. In February of this year, Boston Scientific announced a similar collaboration with AT&T regarding its plans to utilize AT&T’s cellular technology in its LATITUDE patient management system.
Telecommunications companies are beginning to leverage the power of services such as cloud computing within the healthcare IT industry, largely due to increased demand and the need for substantial network infrastructure capabilities.
“Boston Scientific’s moves to work with Vodafone and AT&T signals its awareness that, in connected health, it is not just the device – the network matters,” Irene Berlinsky, senior research analyst for multiplay services at IDC, told the news source. “The best device in the world is useless if the network fails.”
However, this burgeoning application of healthcare IT and wireless technology could soon face additional scrutiny. According to ComputerWorld, wireless networks utilized by physicians and healthcare IT projects could soon be regulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) under the same guidelines and oversight frameworks as medical devices.
The news source reports that in 2008, the FDA released revised guidelines as part of its Medical Device Data System (MDDS). Some healthcare IT experts speculate that increased focus on compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act could spur the FDA to reclassify wireless networks used by hospitals under the MDDS regulatory frameworks.