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Medical Device Radiocommunications Service (MedRadio)

The Medical Device Radiocommunications Service (MedRadio) is in the 401 – 406, 413 – 419, 426 – 432, 438 – 444, and 451 – 457 MHz range. MedRadio spectrum is used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in implanted medical devices as well as devices worn on a body. For example, MedRadio devices include implanted cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators as well as neuromuscular stimulators that help restore sensation, mobility, and other functions to limbs and organs.

Similar services include Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS).

Background

The Medical Device Radiocommunications Service (MedRadio) dates back to 1999 when the FCC established the Medical Implant Communication Service (MICS). At that time, the FCC set aside three megahertz of spectrum at 402 – 405 MHz for medical implant devices. In 2009, the FCC created the Medical Device Radiocommunications Service (MedRadio) in the 401 – 406 MHz range. The creation of the MedRadio Service incorporated the existing MICS spectrum at 402 – 405 MHz and added additional spectrum at 401 – 402 MHz and 405 – 406 MHz for a total of five megahertz of spectrum for implanted devices as well as devices worn on the actual body.

Also in 2009, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on a petition for rulemaking filed by Alfred Mann Foundation to allow up to 24 MHz of additional spectrum in the MedRadio Service for implanted devices that help restore sensation, mobility, and other functions to limbs and organs. The technical term for these devices is Medical Micro-Power Networks (MMNs). The FCC released an Order in November 2011 that expanded the amount of spectrum in MedRadio Service based on the Alfred Mann petition for rulemaking.  

Licensing

The Medical Device Radiocommunications Service (MedRadio) is licensed by rule. Licensed by rule means an individual license is not required to operate a MedRadio device.

The FCC service rules for the Medical Device Radiocommunications Service (MedRadio) are located in 47 C.F.R. Part 95.

Channels

The rules do not specify a channeling scheme for Medical Device Radiocommunications Service (MedRadio) devices. They may operate on any frequency in the MedRadio spectrum that does not exceed these authorized bandwidths:

401 – 401.85 MHz:  100 kHz

401.85 – 402 MHz:  150 kHz

402 – 405 MHz:  300 kHz

405 – 406 MHz:  100 kHz 

413 - 419 MHz:  6 MHz

426 - 432 MHz:  6 MHz

438 - 444 MHz:  6 MHz

451 - 457 MHz:  6 MHz

Operating a Medical Device Radiocommunications Service (MedRadio) Device

Only authorized health care providers are eligible to operate Medical Device Radiocommunications Service (MedRadio) devices. An authorized health care provider is a physician or other individual authorized under state or federal law to provide health care services using medical implant devices.

Manufacturers of MedRadio devices and their representatives are authorized to operate such devices only for the purpose of demonstrating, installing and maintaining the equipment for the benefit of duly authorized health care providers.

Because MedRadio devices are authorized on a secondary status, the devices must not cause harmful interference to devices that are authorized on a primary basis and must accept interference from devices authorized on a primary basis.

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