NFC to ease management of diabetes - Embedded.com

NFC to ease management of diabetes

LONDON — Cambridge Consultants has developed a medical device concept for managing diabetes that uses near-field communication (NFC), the close-proximity wireless communications standard, to integrate glucometers and insulin pumps.

The prototype device (left) , developed in conjunction with Philips, demonstrates how NFC can be exploited to simplify treatment for millions of diabetics worldwide, and could be the first of a new generation of medical devices that use close-proximity wireless communications.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), diabetes is officially classified as a worldwide epidemic with the number of people with the disease to double to 366million by 2030.

Cambridge Consultants concept device uses the characteristics of NFC to streamline treatment, by wirelessly linking a glucometer with an insulin pump. The glucometer records the blood sugar reading and then recommends a bolus dose of insulin. If the patient accepts the dose, then they simply swipe the glucometer against the insulin pump, which could be located beneath clothing, and the drug is delivered.

This confirmation feature, which Cambridge Consultants dubs 'patient-in-the-loop dosing', enhances confidence and security, and allows the user to modify dosage calculations for lifestyle reasons.

“NFC has the potential to be a catalyst in developing the efficiency and portability of medical devices for a number of applications. It both simplifies treatment and aids patient compliance, which makes it a win-win solution for easing the treatment of many problematic medical conditions,” said Richard Traherne, head of wireless communication from Cambridge Consultants.

“Initially, we're developing a device that demonstrates NFC as a way of improving the management of diabetes, but we see strong potential for the technology in a wide array of medical applications including pain relief, asthma and respiratory care, gastric electrical stimulation therapy, and treatments for congestive heart failure or urinary urge incontinence.”

Dominique Brule, NFC segment marketing manager, mobile communication from Philips Semiconductors, added, “It is a testament to the versatility of the secure NFC technology that the variety of applications has now reached the medical arena. Everywhere we have been able to implement NFC the results, in terms of user satisfaction, have been excellent. NFC will improve medical care for patients in the hospital and at home, making it more efficient, effective, safe and less stressful for patients.”

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