Wireless wearables: The role of Wi-Fi® in enabling digital health (2016)

Enabling the promise and value of digital health as it relates to the Internet of Health (IoH) requires the use of wireless technology. With the proliferation and ubiquity of Wi-Fi® in the home, hospital, and everything in-between, Wi-Fi will play a dominant role in making the digital health vision a reality. The benefits of using wireless technology in wearable devices are numerous, ranging from reduced cable clutter, fewer accessories requiring infection control, increased patient comfort through smaller wearable devices, uninterrupted monitoring outside the hospital, and reduced recovery time by enabling patients to ambulate within the care area and still be monitored. Historically, these benefits only extended to the boundaries of the hospital, but with the digital health ecosystem, those boundaries will be broken down and extended into the patient home. In the ecosystem of digital health, users will be monitored in real-time, anytime and anywhere, through the use of wearable wireless devices.

This paper provides an overview of wireless technologies in the digital health ecosystem and focuses on the role of Wi-Fi and associated best practices in enabling the promise of wearable devices in digital health. The paper will define and outline wireless wearables within the digital health ecosystem, typical radio frequency (RF) environments and use cases for wireless wearables as well as associated challenges and best practices, and relevant and associated Wi-Fi certification programs to deliver the optimal user experience through Wi-Fi connectivity.

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