IBM's Open Standards Push Moves Into Medical Equipment Manufacturing -- And Beyond

July 25, 2007
Partnership with University of Florida gives working example of powerful new device-driven, vendor-agnostic business architecture

In today's world, we expect most devices to provide a single function at a given time, and that's the end of it. In a healthcare clinic, for example, a blood-pressure monitor displays one reading and stops. But what if, at a consumer's direction, devices that are important to our daily lives could function continuously, automatically sending vital information to those who could use it to deliver new and valuable services? In such a world, a new panorama of consumer-centric enterprises could emerge.

The fact is, for a wide range of devices and functions, this world is now within our grasp.

The continuous collection and monitoring of outpatient vital signs, medications, lab results and physical activity can enable expert collaborative assessment and treatment and provide first responders with accurate, long-term and immediate patient history. This approach allows for correlation and trend analyses of dynamic information from a myriad of integrated devices, with existing healthcare information systems, and will support their evolution and growth into Web-based software healthcare solutions.

The new roadmap technology, based entirely on open standards and communities, also has tremendous implications for the "unchaining" and integration of devices in all kinds of industries.

The new technology applies to wholesalers, retailers and distributors who require immediate monitoring and control of shipments, such as RFID sensor data pumped directly into their systems and shippers of hazardous materials who must track their products throughout the manufacturing and shipping processes, control environmental conditions during shipment and verify final delivery.

Today's standards integrate business systems through a set of service and event driven models that can be used, reused and combined to address all kinds of changing business priorities and demands. IBM and UF see that such an industry shift can only be realized within a strong, open community. This requires adoption of existing standards and the contribution of key enabling technologies through standards and open source. OSGi provides for modular systems that can be remotely configured, maintained and adapted. W3C standards provide for interoperable and highly scalable, reliable and secure enterprise systems. Eclipse provides a strong open-source software community. IBM has seeded this effort through the contribution of core enabling components to the device project within Eclipse's Open Healthcare Framework (OHF).

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