“The trick is finding the best balance among the physical
characteristics of the device…, power consumption, and RF
performance to meet your design requirement.”
In wirelessly connected medical devices, you have multiple choices for wireless technology. The trick is finding the best balance among the physical characteristics of the device (such as wearables), power consumption, and radio-frequency (RF) performance to meet your design requirement.
For example, the short-range connectivity that Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) provides may be good enough if the device connects to an application on a smartphone. If the device is in a hospital, however, and needs to connect over a long range, maybe from a patient room to a nursing center, you need architecture to support that scenario. You could build a Wi-Fi module into your device to connect to an information center directly, or you could build a gateway that goes into a room and connects to your BLE device. Then, you have Wi-Fi inside that gateway that connects to the information center. Or, you could build a cellular module into your device that connects directly to a cellular network.
Power consumption is a big consideration. If you are designing a wearable device and you want to build Wi-Fi into it, you cannot have a wire connected to it because that would require a large battery—not be practical for a wearable device. With BLE that connects to a smartphone app, you can build a much lighter device with a smaller battery. Such a configuration is ideal for collecting patient data that goes through a smartphone app to the cloud, where remote doctors can see it for medical diagnosis. Part of product development, then, involves creating the smartphone app and the RF data interface.