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IEEE 1073

1996 Edition, January 1, 1996

Complete Document

Standard for Medical Device Communications Overview and Framework

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This standard for medical device communications defines a family of standards for providing interconnection and interoperability of medical devices and computerized healthcare information systems. Medical devices include a broad range of clinical monitoring, diagnostic, and therapeutic equipment. Computerized healthcare information systems similarly include a broad range of clinical data management systems, patient care systems, and hospital information systems.

This family of standards is firmly based on international standards for open systems communications and on the base layer standards and standardized profiles for the actual protocols and services specified.

This document is the top-level document in the family of documents comprising the IEEE 1073 family of standards. It is intended to provide the reader with an overview of the concept of medical device communications applied in this family of standards, as well as to provide a roadmap to the other documents in the family.

While complete references are provided to international documents where appropriate, the reader will greatly benefit from a familiarity with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) documents for computer communication protocols, and particularly their basic reference model for Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) and related service and protocol definitions.

An overall definition of the IEEE 1073 family of standards is provided, describing the interconnection and interoperation of medical devices with computerized healthcare information systems in a manner suitable for the clinical environment.


The scope of this family of standards is to provide for open systems communications in healthcare applications, primarily between bedside medical devices and patient care information systems, optimized for the acute care setting. The scope of this document is to provide the overall definition of the family of standards. It does so by defining a conceptual model, an information model, and a communications model for medical device communications and by specifying constraints for conformance to the set of standards.