In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), AAMI has recommended that the agency seek ways to make additional spectrum available to unlicensed medical devices.
In February, the FCC announced it was increasing available spectrum in the 5 GHZ band to reduce anticipated congestion. The proposal would make up to 195 megahertz of unlicensed spectrum available for ultra-high-speed Wi-Fi. Many medical applications operate on the unlicensed 2.4- and 5-GHz bands, and no interference protection exists in these bands. This posses a risk to patients using these devices.
AAMI suggested that health care delivery organizations be given vicinity-based prioritized access to these new bands. Simply making new spectrum available in the 5 GHz band without interference protection or coordination of use will likely only become more difficult as future demands crowd the spectrum space.
AAMI also proposes the extending this provision for critical applications in settings outside a traditional health care facility. Users located in the vicinity of these priority applications would be required to discontinue use of the spectrum—a move that would affect less than 0.05% of the population, according to AAMI.