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Information exchange has experienced a paradigm shift due to the appearance of wireless transport technologies. A wide variety of technologies have been proposed recently with different characteristics for diverse application environments. Such emerging technologies can be applied - depending on their specific features - to different e-health use cases. Additionally, some of those technologies have already adopted a path to medical device interoperability, while others are on their way to enable that potential. Hence the need to perform an overview of such technologies, which can be useful when designing interoperable, wireless-enabled e-health solutions. This article therefore reviews the emerging technologies that can be incorporated into the complex e-health information communication ecosystem and details the transport technologies that have adopted a specialized medical profile for ISO/IEEE 11073 interoperability such as USB, Bluetooth, and ZigBee. Discussion is focused on the expected path of novel emerging technologies toward ISO/IEEE 11073-compliant medical device interoperability. As a result, this article provides an up-to-date guideline for designers of standard-compliant wireless-enabled e-health architectures, helping in the selection of the appropriate technology for their designs.
Date of Publication: November 2011