Secure Wireless Connectivity for Portable Medical Devices

Create secure and reliable wireless medical devices with a convenient user experience.

Portable Medical Devices Overview

Governments are reducing healthcare costs by increasing clinical efficiency. The global outpatient ambulatory care service market is expected to grow 4.8% yearly until 2026, while hospital stays have declined for decades. Wirelessly connected medical devices are critical for enabling efficient and patient-friendly remote care services, reducing healthcare costs, preventing the viral spread of diseases, and allowing more people to access care while enjoying an everyday life at home.

See how Lura Health developed a Bluetooth-enabled saliva monitoring device smaller than a tooth with up to 12 months of battery life using Silicon Labs BG27.

What Are Portable Medical Devices?

Portable medical devices track patients' physiological conditions in post-acute, rehabilitation, and chronic cases. The collected health data can be viewed remotely or on a smartphone app via a Bluetooth connection by the user or healthcare professional. Bluetooth Low Energy is the most deployed wireless technology for portable medical devices such as blood glucose meters (BGM), continuous glucose monitors (CGM), blood pressure monitors, pulse oximeters, insulin pumps, cardiac monitoring systems, epilepsy management, and more.


Portable Medical Devices – Wireless Design Considerations

What do you need to know when designing portable medical devices? Read on for the top design considerations.

How to Minimize Energy Consumption of Medical Devices?

The lifetime of medical devices can vary from days to months to years of stocking and use, making power optimization challenging. Silicon Labs’ EFR32 architectural flexibility supports EM0, EM1, and EM2 low-power modes by shutting down sub-components such as areas of RAM and the radio when not in use. The BG27 Bluetooth LE SoC features an ultra-low transmit power (TX) of 4.1 mA at 0 dBm and a receiver power (RX) of 3.6 mA. Its exceptional RX sensitivity of -98.9 dBm decreases output power, while the ARM® Cortex®-M33 features 29 µA/MHz active and 1.6 µA sleep currents with 64 kB RAM retention. In addition, the BOOST_EN pin on the BG27 allows products in a warehouse or transit to remain off for months, consuming less than 20 nA, until awoken, ensuring the battery remains fully charged for use.

How to Optimize Wireless Performance on Resource-constrained devices?

Silicon Labs BG27 features ultra-low transmit and receive power and exceptional receiver sensitivity on a footprint of 2.3 x 2.6 mm, making it an excellent Bluetooth LE solution for resource-constrained medical devices such as CGMs. High-performance wireless improves the reliability and quality of your medical devices and increases customer loyalty and revenue.

How to Minimize Form-factor?

Silicon Labs chip scale packaging (CSP) SoCs provide you with extremely small wireless solutions without compromising performance or low-power capabilities. Bluetooth LE solutions such as the BG27 with dimensions of 2.3 x 2.6 mm, or the BG24 WLCSP with dimensions of 3.1 x 3.0 mm, allow you to design small, appealing devices. Our CSP solutions increase your competitive advantage by accommodating compact designs or more space for additional functionalities, memory, and battery. Additionally, the RF-certified BGM220S Bluetooth LE module with an integrated antenna fits a footprint of 6x6 mm and speeds up time to market.

How to Improve Battery Level Tracking on Medical Devices?

How can you as a product designer prevent unexpected battery depletion during the use of critical health applications? The integrated Coulomb Counter on BG27 enables you to implement accurate battery level tracking on portable medical devices to increase safety and the user experience.

Enhancing a Medical Device with DCDC Converter

The Silicon Labs BG27 ultra-low-power Bluetooth LE SoC features an integrated DCDC converter providing you with a wide voltage range of 0.8V-1.6V or 1.71V-3.8V. It enables the use of single-cell alkaline and silver-oxide or other button cells to reduce product size and cost and extends battery use.

How to Maximize Security of Portable Medical Devices?

Portable medical devices process private health data, making security critical. Silicon Labs’ Bluetooth solution is secured at all levels, to safeguard your devices against the most sophisticated cyber-attacks. Our Secure Vault is the most advanced IoT security solution with up to PSA Certification Level 3, enabling you to design secure medical devices, comply with medical regulations such as DTSec, and protect your users, brand reputation, and revenue.

How to Increase the Measurement Accuracy of Medical Devices?

Silicon Labs Bluetooth SoCs (BG24) offer advanced Analog and Digital peripherals such as the 16-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC), 12-bit digital-to-analog (DAC) converter, precise on-chip voltage references, and robust RF interference tolerance, enabling you to design highly accurate medical devices, gain a competitive advantage in the market, increase customer satisfaction, and grow product sales.


Portable Medical Device Block Diagram

Block diagram of typical portable medical device design with wireless SoC, analog front end, sensors/actuator interface and display capabilities. Silicon Labs EFR32 covers both the Wireless SoC & MCU capabilities. 

Additional Products and Services

Explore your IoT Training with Works With 2023 On-Demand Sessions

Works With 2023 featured expert-led IoT training, including more than 40 technical sessions across six tracks, and you can watch all of them on-demand here. This curriculum features the latest trends, tools, and design techniques for developers and will dive deep into the technologies driving the IoT. You can start with your wireless technology by clicking the links below.

Additional Resources and Documentation 

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