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HCL Technologies

Near Field Communication in Medical Devices

Near Field Communication in Medical Devices

Near Field Communication (NFC) is a wireless communication standard which enables two devices in a short range to establish a communication channel within a short period of time through radio waves in the 13.56 MHz frequency range. NFC can be a useful technology for data transfer between two devices in close proximity to one another. Because it needs the two devices to be in close proximity to one another (less than 10 cm), it is more secure than other wireless technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Hence, it can be seen as an easy and secure tool for establishing quick two-way connections for data transfer. While the biggest differentiating factor for NFC over RFID is that it is a two-way communication tool, one of the devices/cards can have a passive NFC tag which can reduce the cost and still behave in the same way as any other RFID tag.

This technology is being increasingly adopted for use in wireless transactions, including money transfer, loyalty coupons, transit passes, tickets, etc. Mobile handset manufacturing companies are increasingly integrating NFC hardware in their phones. Not surprisingly, it is gaining traction in the field of medical devices and digitizing medical records. However, there are certain challenges that NFC faces in this field, restricting widespread adoption of the technology. This paper looks into the details of this technology, its advantages and disadvantages over existing solutions, and the feasibility of its usability in this highly-regulated area.