Global tech org reveals new standards for blood glucose monitoring devices

The IEEE is unveiling a new standard to help control the flow of information from blood glucose meters to other technology.--Courtesy of the IEEE

As patient monitoring picks up steam in the med tech industry, global technology organization IEEE is rolling out a new standard for operating devices geared toward the diabetes market.

The organization's IEEE Standards Association approved IEEE 11073-10417-2015, an independent way to control the flow of information from personal healthcare devices such as glucose meters to cell phones, computers and other products, IEEE said in a statement. The system could mean big things for devicemakers looking to cash in on the patient monitoring market, which is expected to surpass $5.1 billion by 2020, according to a report cited by the organization.

The IEEE's new technology could help streamline communication between devices, allow for interoperability and advance R&D and manufacturing for the products, the organization said in a statement. Plus, new standards combined with older, tried-and-true technology could speed up artificial pancreas development, the IEEE noted, a potential boon for medical device companies and researchers rolling out glucose meters.

"In a world that is increasingly connected, and where telehealth expansion has become a driving force in standards development, there is a clear benefit for device manufacturers to adopt an open standard whereby they assure their products will continue to interplay in an evolving, vast, and varied market," Daidi Zhong, chair of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, said in a statement.

The organization's new system supports a "broad group of stakeholders" and allows users to make sure devices stay up to par, "opening the door for further product development based on interoperability," Zhong added.

The IEEE's technology comes at a pivotal moment, as med tech outfits focus their attention on products aimed at a growing diabetes population. Although restrictive reimbursement measures in the U.S. have taken their toll on revenues, companies such as Roche ($RHHBY), Abbott ($ABT), Bayer and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) are still forging ahead with their blood glucose meters.

Meanwhile, researchers are hard at work on developing artificial pancreas devices. In a recent study backed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), scientists developed a fully implantable insulin delivery system with an innovative algorithm that stabilized blood sugar levels and staved off hypoglycemia.

- read the IEEE statement