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Researchers Publish Diabetes Device Communications Standards

December 11, 2014
by David Raths
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Goal is establishing consistent data protocols and universal understanding of device data

Researchers at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at the University Health Network in Toronto have published interoperability standards to help diabetes care devices such as insulin pumps, blood glucose meters, and continuous glucose monitors communicate with one another and with other devices.

Device manufacturers’ proprietary communications systems have made it difficult for researchers to build upon existing technologies, particularly across different platforms. Proprietary systems have also limited possible innovation from others considering development of artificial pancreas systems and new diabetes data management tools, according to a report from JDRF, a global organization focused on type 1 diabetes research.

Funded by the JDRF Canadian Clinical Trial Network (JDRF CCTN), Joseph Cafazzo, Ph.D., of University Health Network piloted the development of standard protocols to define how diabetes devices communicate. 

The newly published standards set a definition of communication between continuous glucose monitor devices and their linked managers, such as personal smartphones and computers. The goal is to enable interoperability by establishing consistent data protocols and universal understanding of device data. This in turn is anticipated to accelerate research and development in the area of the artificial pancreas systems and impact how patients use diabetes technology for years to come.

“This is a long-awaited milestone for manufacturers, researchers, and for people with diabetes,” said Dr. Cafazzo, principal investigator of the project, in a prepared statement. “There are now defined, open standards where previously none was available. This will ultimately accelerate the ability of companies to produce new technologies for the improved management of diabetes and for developing artificial pancreas systems.”

The Centre for Global eHealth Innovation collaborated with stakeholders from industry, academia, and healthcare providers to develop the interoperability standards within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) Personal Health Devices Working Group. The new standards also work with the Bluetooth Special Interest Group Profile for Continuous Glucose Monitoring to ensure that the device data can also be transmitted to medical records databases in clinics.  

JDRF is partnering with the Helmsley Charitable Trust to fund a project to promote the adoption of the new communications standards by diabetes device manufacturers.

Read the ISO/IEEE 11073 publications here:

“Part 20601: Application profile – Optimized Exchange Protocol”

“Part 10425: Device Specialization – Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)”