The Emergence of USB in Medical Devices
USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. It is a standard connection protocol that connects many types of devices to other hardware. You can find USB ports on computers, televisions, printers, and even household appliances.
USB began in 1994 and has since become the most successful tool for integrating electronics around the world. Today, USB is ubiquitous and universally recognized. It enables almost any device to interface with other devices, no matter the manufacturer.
In the medical industry, USB devices provide an opportunity to make communications between medical technologies more standardized. Although hospitals and clinics may use different software and hardware, they may still be able to communicate with the implementation of USB connections in their devices.
Some of the most prevalent USB devices used in the medical industry include:
The Continuation of Serial Connections in Medical Devices
Despite the ubiquity of medical USB ports, serial connections are still prevalent. Many legacy medical devices are still dependent upon asynchronous serial lines. Replacing them is simply not cost effective.
To solve interoperability issues, serial connections can be augmented with USB adaptors to help devices communicate. In some cases, devices may be fitted with custom USB ports if no adaptors are readily available.
Nonetheless, serial connections tend to be slower than USB. Meanwhile, experts are continually improving USB standards.
At present, the most advanced USB standard is USB 3.1. This standard is known as “Superspeed+” and can transfer data at 10 Gbps (gigabytes per second).
Most devices adhere to the USB 2.0 standard. But manufacturers continue to develop devices and cables that adhere to 3.0 and 3.1.
Technological Standardization in the Medical Industry
Standardization remains the biggest barrier to healthcare interoperability. Through the proliferation of USB connected devices such as medical ID bracelets and other machines, more and more systems will be able to communicate efficiently.
The purpose of medical technology is to aid in the care of patients. With USB standardization, healthcare professionals can bypass many of the roadblocks that keep them from their patients and deliver more optimized care.
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