GE plan for medical radio frequency moving forward

The Federal Communications Commission has taken another step that puts General Electric closer to a

The Federal Communications Commission has taken another step that puts General Electric closer to a dedicated radio frequency band for wireless medical devices — technology that the Fairfield, Conn.-based company has spent more than four years creating through its Global Research Center in Niskayuna and its health care division based in Waukesha, Wis.

The FCC published a notice of proposed rulemaking that is available for public comment until Oct. 5. A public notice regarding GE’s proposal was published last April.

GE Global Research Radio Frequency and Photonics Laboratory scientist David Davenport explained that the proposal advocates the creation of a separate home for wireless medical devices so that they won’t interfere with cellphones and other types of wireless communication devices.

“What we really focus on is how to make the wireless connection highly robust — to get a high rate of data from many patients in a hosptial without losing the data and really provding a higher level quality of service than you would have with a cellphone,” Davenport said Tuesday.

According to Davenport, the networks would help reduce the time it takes to administer care.

For each active critical care bed in a standard hospital setting, 40 percent of patient care time is spent manually recording patient monitor information that the networks would provide in a much more efficient, automated approach to monitoring, Davenport said on a blog published by the Global Research Center.

GE Global Research has dedicated a lab to wireless technologies, according to spokesman Todd Alhart.

“At the research lab, we have a fundamental core expertise in key areas that we can leverage and spread across a number of different business applications,” Alhart said. “There’s a lot of experience that we’ve brought from our transportation business and our aviation business that we’re translating into [our health care division].”

To comment on GE’s proposal for creating a radio frequency band for wireless medical devices, go to and click on the “Submit a Filing” link on the right. The docket number is 08-59.

To hear GE Global Research scientist David Davenport explain more about GE’s wireless medical device technology, visit

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