Enabling healthcare companies to lower IIoT system costs

12th February 2019
Alex Lynn

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity company, Real-Time Innovations (RTI), has announced a variety of new capabilities to its connectivity software, RTI Connext DDS, which is designed to advance the development of complex medical systems and based on the Data Distribution Service (DDS) Standard.

This new product release will provide medical device manufacturers with the connectivity technology needed to address critical design challenges faced in developing secure, interoperable medical devices for healthcare systems of the future.

Systems of medical devices communicating seamlessly and securely have the opportunity to improve patient outcomes, reduce medical errors and lower healthcare system costs. To realise these benefits, the healthcare industry must collect and transport unprecedented amounts of data in real time, across a large number of diverse devices. For example, in the connected hospital of the future, data will not just be sent to a proprietary onsite server or cloud for analysis, but devices will share real-time data with each other securely and reliably, providing a foundation for AI and Clinical Decision Support (CDS).

Healthcare IoT systems and connected medical devices are highly complex and face a number of challenging issues throughout the design process. Developers of medical-grade products must address five major design challenges:

  • Provide syntactic interoperability to lay a foundation for standards-based semantic (i.e., data model) interoperability in the future.
  • Ensure a secure system according to governing regulatory bodies, such as the FDA’s guidance on cyber security.
  • Provide access to real-time patient data from a variety of near patient medical devices.
  • Enable connected health solutions to scale to thousands of nodes providing critical infrastructure for device manufacturers and providers.
  • Provide the foundation for a highly reliable network of devices and applications with no single points of failure.

RTI Connext 6 claims to satisfy all of these complex, system-level requirements simultaneously, without the need to make any tradeoffs or compromises in the process. For example, developers can build their systems to scale as large as they need to without having to compromise on the level of security. This enables them to design products faster while lowering costs and allowing them to focus on their core competencies, system development, data analysis and user experience.

New capabilities in Connext 6 provide:

  • Increased Security: In any type of healthcare environment, maintaining the highest degrees of security is of the utmost importance. The Connext DDS connectivity framework allows medical device manufacturers to secure the data in-use down to the data-type level meeting the requirements of the FDA cyber security guidance and minimising the impact to system performance.
  • Decreased time to market: To design the connectivity software required for medical-grade systems, medical device manufacturers have the choice of designing the software in house (which is expensive, difficult and time consuming), or adopting an off-the-shelf-solution. Those that choose a well-documented, off-the-shelf connectivity framework like Connext DDS are reportedly able to meet development and security requirements, solve specific design challenges and get to market faster.
  • Connext product line scalability: New features are compatible and interoperable across the RTI Connext product suite: Connext DDS Secure and Connext DDS Professional for standard processors and microcontrollers, Connext DDS Micro for resource-constrained microcontrollers and Connext DDS Cert for the most safety-critical applications.

David Niewolny, Director of Market Development, Healthcare at RTI, stated: “Of all the industries adopting the IoT, the Healthcare market will have one of the most profound impacts on the quality of human life. We have the opportunity to improve patient care, make treatments more accessible and cost-effective and help generations live longer than ever before. But with this digital revolution, new systems require new technology.

“With Connext 6 we’ve combined our deep expertise in healthcare with our legacy of mission-critical connectivity software to introduce a medical-grade offering that meets the stringent requirements of the market. From surgical robotics to proton-beam radiation therapy, we are thrilled to work with our healthcare customers to build the connected medical systems of our future.”

Additional new product capabilities include:

  • Large data distribution: Allows streaming of high-bandwidth data from many disparate sources and sensors, important in both 3D imaging and Healthcare IoT application.
  • Data extensibility: Supports longevity and evolution of large, expensive medical equipment, such as large CT scanners – enabling interoperability across generations of products.
  • Data-centric gateways: Provides intelligent data routing for greater efficiency and support for integrating and scaling distributed medical systems, easing integration with legacy medical devices and enterprise.
  • Enhanced performance: Reduces CPU overhead and end-to-end latency in distributed applications – a necessity for haptic control loops in surgical robotics and for the development of real time near-patent Clinical Decision Support (CDS), like in surgical robotics systems.

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