News from the BioCity Campus

“The future of medicine lies in the networking of technologies”

Exchange data between medical devices from different manufacturers securely and in a user-friendly manner: The answer to this is IEEE 11073 Service-oriented device connectivity (SDC). A networking technology that is primarily used in operating rooms and clinics and was co-developed at the University of Leipzig. Prof. Dr. Thomas Neumuth, technical director of the Innovation Center for Computer-Assisted Surgery (ICCAS), explains in an interview the special features and current developments of this dynamic, technical interface. The technology has the potential to permanently change the healthcare landscape, he says. From October 18th to 20th, leading industrial companies will exchange ideas about medical networking technologies at a workshop at ICCAS.

Prof. Neumuth, why has it been a matter of course in consumer electronics for years to network devices and software, but in medicine it is such a lengthy process?

The delay in the networking of medical devices compared to consumer electronics results from the strict regulatory requirements in medicine. Since errors can pose serious health risks, safety and reliability are top priorities. In addition, medical systems are often complex and require careful integration into clinical processes, which poses additional challenges in terms of technology and organization. In contrast, consumer electronics enable faster product development. However, standards such as IEEE 11073 SDC represent significant advances toward interoperability and have the potential to sustainably improve healthcare.

What advantages does this technical interface offer in the daily work of people in the healthcare sector? 

The new interface technology acts similarly to a universal translator between medical devices from different manufacturers. It facilitates communication and data transfer, similar to a USB port in computer technology. This allows healthcare professionals to focus more on patient care rather than resolving technical discrepancies. The interface also facilitates data-based decisions, such as automatically activating devices immediately before use, and promotes cost efficiency by expanding device compatibility. In sum, it improves both the efficiency and quality of healthcare.

How widespread is the IEEE 11073 SDC technology, which you played a key role in developing as part of a large nationwide lighthouse project, in practice now?

The lighthouse project, in whose development ICCAS played a key role, ended in 2016, after which the important phase of international standardization activity began. Since 2019, the networking technology has been recognized as an ISO and IEEE standard. This recognition marks a crucial milestone and is confirmation of years of research and development work. The first medical devices that use this technology have been available on the market from leading medical technology manufacturers since 2022. The first European hospitals also began integrating the technology into their everyday care in 2022. This is a promising sign that the technology is gaining traction and making its way into clinical practice.

At this year's DMEA trade fair, one of the most important events for digital healthcare, companies from America and China were very interested in IEEE 11073 SDC technology - what does that mean for you? 

The lively interest in the technology at this year's DMEA trade fair, particularly from companies from America and China, has several implications for our research and work at the Innovation Center for Computer-Assisted Surgery (ICCAS). It underlines the global relevance of our research and development work and opens doors for international collaborations, which is crucial for the transfer of research results into practice. It also shows that the market for such technologies is growing, which in turn promotes and accelerates research and development in this area. It is encouraging to see that the importance of efficient and secure networking of medical devices is being recognized worldwide and the quality of global healthcare is being advanced through ICCAS technologies.

Mehr Informationen: The  Innovation Center for Computer-Assisted Surgery (ICCAS) develops digital technologies for future clinical applications. The ICCAS is an interdisciplinary institute and research center of the Medical Faculty of the University of Leipzig and the university transfer center for medical technology in Central Germany. Experts from the fields of medicine, computer science and engineering work together to develop innovative medical technologies to improve diagnoses, treatment decisions and surgical interventions.


Source: Press release from the University of Leipzig from July 17.10.2023st, XNUMX


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