Ensuring Medical Device Interoperability with Legacy Systems

With the increase in the number and variety of healthcare facility settings evolving into complex specialized environments, the number of challenges also is on the rise. Interoperability problems are the most common, as disparate vendors, complex processes, and clinical standards create serious barriers to delivering improved patient experiences and better patient care outcomes. Settings with multiple brands of medical devices face a variety of proprietary data formats, disrupting the healthcare information flow and, therefore, putting patients at risk of poor outcomes: medication errors, delayed care personnel response, unnecessary duplicate testing, missing important clinical information, etc.

Open standards proliferation dramatically improves interoperability and data exchange. In March 2019, the FDA approved the IEEE 11073-20701 standards family (known as SDC – Service-oriented Device Connectivity core standards) as a recognized consensus standard. Then, in April 2020, the whole group of SDC Core Standards was approved and published by the ISO group (ISO/IEEE 11073-20701:2020). By leveraging the IEEE 11073 core standards, point-of-care (PoC) medical device manufacturers can use integration and mapping techniques to add value to their products.

SDC specifies the communication protocol for PoC equipment to ensure patient safety by enabling reliable data exchange between medical devices within an open IP-based system. While SDC, like every emerging technology, promises new opportunities for medical device manufacturers and hospitals, the conversion of legacy systems to SDC protocol can be challenging.

As a member of the OR.NET e.V. association, committed to international standardization of SDC, Auriga amplifies its decade-plus long experience in medical devices custom software development by offering support in implementation of the new standard, investigation of the challenges, and pre-emptive mitigation of the potential risks. Our recent conversion of proprietary protocols to SDC projects for several ICU devices allowed us to identify some of the challenges of such transitions and to elaborate solutions that ensure medical equipment interoperability. We have summarized and shared our experiences, confident that what we have learned can be applied to most PoC medical devices in the market and will help to improve the quality of acute care delivery and achieve better clinical outcomes.

What you get from this whitepaper:

  • Eight challenges of legacy system conversion to SDC protocol (and how to overcome them)
  • Two potential bottlenecks that are most likely compromise the workload of the converter if not addressed properly
  • Three steps to embracing manufacturer-independent connectivity for protected health information

Feel free to download a PDF version of the whitepaper here.