Announcing a new standard for evaluating wearable, cuffless blood pressure devices

Announcing a new standard for evaluating wearable, cuffless blood pressure devices 150 150 IEEE EMBS

IEEE 1708™ proposes guidelines for emergent technology that is designed to enable innovative services such as beat-to-beat monitoring of blood pressure.

PISCATAWAY, N.J., USA, 26 August 2014 – IEEE, the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, today announced the approval of IEEE 1708™ “Standard for Wearable Cuffless Blood Pressure Measuring Devices.” Bringing a new dimension to the growing portfolio of IEEE standards designed to drive innovation in the burgeoning e-health space, IEEE 1708 is intended to support evaluation of wearable, cuffless devices for measuring a person’s blood pressure.

“Existing standards for evaluating blood-pressure meters were created for the traditional devices that utilize cuffs and typically capture ‘snapshot’ measurements of blood pressure. Those standards do not address all aspects needed for the emerging wearable devices,” said Yuanting Zhang, chair of the IEEE 1708 working group, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Fellow, director of Key Lab for Health Informatics of Chinese Academy of Sciences and director of Joint Research Center for Biomedical Engineering at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. “There is a clear need for a new standard for evaluating the performance of the emergent wearable, cuffless devices that could provide ‘continuous’ estimation of arterial blood pressure and for calibrating the devices with standardized reference and defined procedures. IEEE 1708 targets those gaps.”

Wearable, cuffless devices can influence life-saving innovations in healthcare. For example, such devices could enable continuous, real-time, beat-to-beat measurement of blood pressure for improved remote, mobile monitoring of cerebral/cardiovascular and hypertensive patients, even while they sleep. Cuffless capabilities for blood-pressure estimation could be incorporated in wearable platforms such as watches, eyeglasses, mobile phones or cloth or in “e-skin” or epidermal devices for measurements anywhere and anytime.

“The newly developed wearable, cuffless devices utilize completely different measurement techniques from those of the conventional, cuff-based devices. These techniques enable the new devices to be small, durable, noninvasive, energy efficient and cost effective,” said Carole Carey, chair of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society/Standards Committee, which sponsors the IEEE 1708 working group, and a former director and senior scientific reviewer with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Most importantly, greater utilization of the wearable, cuffless devices could expand and enhance the care that can be delivered by supporting innovations such as beat-to-beat, mobile monitoring of blood pressure from hospital to home, without constraints of time or space.”

Sponsored by the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, IEEE 1708 was created specifically for evaluation of these new devices. The standard is applicable to all types of wearable, cuffless devices, regardless of their mode of operation (measuring short-term, long-term, snapshot, continuous or beat-to-beat blood pressure or blood-pressure variability). IEEE 1708 provides guidelines for manufacturers to qualify and validate their technology, potential purchasers or users to evaluate and select products, healthcare professionals to accurately calibrate devices and academia to design testing protocol.

IEEE 1708 is an important addition to the growing framework of IEEE e-health standards designed to support life-saving capabilities across traditional medical devices and leading-edge personal health devices alike. A buildout of e-health capabilities for expanded remote monitoring and care is underway in healthcare globally, toward the goal of helping more people live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

IEEE 1708 is available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.

For more information on the IEEE 1708 Wearable Cuffless Blood Pressure Monitors Working Group, please visit