However, there is currently no published standardized, repeatable methodology by which manufacturers of RFID equipment or medical devices can assess potential issues with electromagnetic interference and evaluate means to mitigate them.
To resolve these concerns, the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) recently began developing testing protocols for RFID technology in the health care setting. The test protocol development is being overseen by AIM Global, the international trade association representing automatic identification and mobility technology solution providers, and also includes MET Laboratories, a company that provides testing and certification services for medical devices.
“A comprehensive set of test protocols, which are sufficiently precise to permit repeatable results, is required to understand if there is an interaction between various types of RFID systems and active implantable medical devices, electronic medical equipment, in vitro diagnostic equipment and biologics. Only after the protocols are developed will we be able to investigate the cause of any interactions, the result of any interactions, and ways manufacturers might eliminate or mitigate interactions,” said Craig K. Harmon, president and CEO of Q.E.D. Systems and chairman of AIM Global’s RFID Experts Group. This group is overseeing the Health Care Initiative and includes representatives from 40 organizations in the United States, Europe and Asia.
GTRI researchers will test how RFID systems affect the function of implantable and wearable medical devices, such as pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, neurostimulators, implantable infusion pumps and cardiac monitors.
“The internal components, firmware and hardware of every company’s devices are different, meaning that each device can respond differently to the same electromagnetic environment. Since there have been various preliminary tests and publications from different organizations indicating that there may or may not be issues with RFID system environments and these devices, it is important to standardize the way to test such devices,” said Ralph Herkert, director of GTRI’s Medical Device Test Center.
Herkert and Gisele Bennett, director of GTRI’s Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory, will evaluate and determine the best method for measuring whether interference takes place as a result of RFID emission in both active and passive RFID technologies covering the spectrum from low-frequency to ultra high-frequency.
The researchers will test whether radio frequency-emitting devices cause any negative effects on the medical devices, and under what conditions these effects might occur. Testing will also determine whether specific medical devices are particularly susceptible to certain radio frequency identification characteristics and if any corrective actions can be taken to mitigate such susceptibility.
Medical device testing is not new for GTRI, which established its Medical Device Test Center more than 14 years ago. The facility was created to enable manufacturers of implantable cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators to work with providers of electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems, used by retailers, libraries and other establishments to prevent theft and track inventory. The center’s original mission was to help manufacturers improve compatibility between implantable medical devices and EAS systems that radiate electromagnetic energy. In 2006, GTRI expanded its operations and facilities to test new types of security and logistical systems (SLS), including RFID.
To test the effects of RFID systems on medical devices, the researchers simulate real-world conditions by placing a medical device in a tank of saline solution that simulates the electrical characteristics of body tissue and fluid. The medical device is then exposed to different RFID technologies. Several tests are performed with the device placed in different orientations to represent how people typically interact with the emissions.
“We think the testing procedure for RFID systems will be similar to the EAS system procedure, but there are a few more challenges with the RFID systems because a person doesn’t always pass through a portal,” noted Bennett, who is also a member of AIM Global’s RFID Experts Group. “Medical devices can be affected by active tags with stronger signals or RFID systems reading passive tag signals.”
The test protocols developed by GTRI will be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for concurrence, after which a worldwide certification program will be launched and other testing facilities will be invited to participate.
Funding to develop these test guidelines is currently being provided by GTRI, but the researchers are actively looking for external funding.
“We have more than 35 years of experience at GTRI testing medical device interference and we think that testing the effects of RFID on medical devices is an important area to pursue,” added Bennett.Research News & Publications Office
Abby Vogel | Newswise Science News
A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones
28.03.2017 | Science China Press
Timing a space laser with a NASA-style stopwatch
28.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering