ISO/IEEE 11073 Personal Health Data (PHD) standards are a group of standards addressing the interoperability of personal health devices (PHDs) such as weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, blood glucose monitors and the like. The standards draw upon earlier IEEE11073 standards work, but differ from this earlier work due to an emphasis on devices for personal use (rather than hospital use) and a simpler communications model.
Demographic changes (the rapidly aging population in many industrialised countries) and an increase in chronic diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease) has led many to ask how technology can be used to ease the burden on health care professionals and provide useful tools to the elderly and infirm – and in particular how technology can help people cope with their conditions within their own homes. This is leading to the development of "personal health devices" which allow people to monitor their own conditions within their own homes and provide the information that such devices obtain to health care professionals and other carers.
Concern that incompatible systems will slow the roll-out of useful personal health devices has prompted moves towards ensuring interoperability. The Continua Alliance is a group of companies and bodies seeking to promote the growth of this personal health market. They are working with the IEEE Standards Association, and the IEEE-EMBS affiliated 11073 Personal Health Data Working Group is formulating standards for data formats and communications to ensure device interoperability.
In the words of IEEE 11073-20601-2008, that standard:
...addresses a need for an openly defined, independent standard for converting the information profile [of personal health devices] into an interoperable transmission format so the information can be exchanged to and from personal telehealth devices and compute engines (e.g., cell phones, personal computers, personal health appliances, and set top boxes).