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Lawmakers Ask For Probe Of Wireless Medical Devices

August 15, 2011

Two senior Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee want the Government Accountability Office to look into whether the Federal Communications Commission is doing all it can to ensure that wireless medical devices are safe.

On Monday, Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., sent a letter to the GAO asking the watchdog to study the FCC's oversight of wireless medical devices.

"Innovation in broadband and wireless enabled medical devices holds significant promise for improving health and reducing the costs of healthcare for all Americans," the lawmakers wrote. "In bringing forward innovative wireless technologies and devices for healthcare, it's critical that these devices are able to operate together and with other hospital equipment, and not interfere with each other's activities and data transmissions. It's also important that such devices operate in a safe, reliable, and secure manner."

The letter cited a recent demonstration at a hacker conference in Las Vegas where a computer analyst showed how it's possible to remotely control wireless medical devices, including pace makers, intravenous pumps, and blood pressure cuffs.

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