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The MD PnP Medical Device Interoperability Program is based at the Massachusetts General Hospital Dept. of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine and Partners HealthCare System. Our work on safe and secure interoperability spans the entire healthcare continuum. The Medical Device "Plug-and-Play" Interoperability Program advances safe and secure interoperability to improve patient care

The Challenge: How can we better use medical devices to improve the safety of medical care?

Medical devices are essential to the practice of modern medicine. Clinical measurements such as blood pressure and temperature, x-ray and ultrasound imaging, administration of intravenous medications, and support of critical life functions all require medical devices. However, despite our reliance on sophisticated medical equipment, most devices are not designed to interconnect with other devices and are not inherently secure. Therefore, it is difficult to connect individual devices into integrated medical systems to improve patient care, avoid unnecessary accidents, and obtain comprehensive data to personalize care delivery.

The Answer: Facilitate the adoption of open standards and interoperable technologies to securely Integrate Clinical Environments (ICE).

The OR of the Future

Since its establishment in 2004, the Medical Device “Plug-and-Play” (MD PnP) Interoperability Program has been enabling the adoption of medical device interoperability as a foundation for the creation of complete and accurate electronic health records and the cost-effective development of innovative third-party medical “apps” for diagnosis, treatment, research, safety and quality improvements, equipment management, and adverse event detection and reporting when using networked medical devices for clinical care.

Our team is working to develop shareable databases, open-source tools, and applications that will enable a broader community of researchers and manufacturers to implement safe and secure interoperable medical device systems. We have taken a multi-faceted approach to reduce key barriers to achieving interoperability, including:

  • A systems perspective in which the application of technology must support patient safety and effective healthcare delivery
  • Support of foundational open standards (e.g. ASTM F2761, Integrated Clinical Environment, or “ICE”)
  • An OPEN SOURCE implementation of ICE - See OpenICE
  • Elicitation, analysis, and modeling of clinical use cases and system engineering requirements for an open architecture instantiation of ICE as a platform and “ecosystem”
  • Alignment of clinical, manufacturer, and FDA regulatory science expectations
  • Implementation of prototype use cases in an open “sandbox” environment in our MD PnP Lab in Cambridge Mass
  • Contributing the work listed above and our program's expertise to diverse national HIT initiatives
  • Development of our lab as a "virtual hospital" testbed for interoperability and cybersecurity research

 See new MD PnP Lab under construction OpenICE technical information