OR.NET—Safe Interconnection of Medical Devices in Operation Rooms

OR.NET - Safe Interconnection of Medical Devices in Operation Rooms

Nowadays in Europe the interconnection of medical devices in an operating room is almost always limited to devices from a single manufacturer or the clinic operator assumes the role of a manufacturer. This is partially due to technical restrictions but especially due to the legal requirements needed in the medical domain. These legal requirements impose that a complete system-of-systems has been successfully tested and certified before its use in an operating room.

Especially for clinic operators this situation limits the technological and economical benefits that could be obtained by the interconnection of medical devices from different vendors. The OR.NET project focuses on the safe, secure and dynamic interconnection of medical devices from different manufacturers in an operating room. The project is funded by the German federal ministry of education and research (BMBF). In this project the ISP is engaged with nearly 50 project partners, ranging over medical device manufacturers, clinic operators, standardization organizations and universities. A main project objective is the standardized interoperability for medical devices. More specifically, the goal is to build future medical devices with interoperable capabilities, to facilitate their simple integration.

The official website of the OR.NET project states the project goals as follows:

Integration and networking in the field of medical IT has been for years a big issue. A lot of projects are focused on the integration of IT systems not only within a health care facility, but also trans-sectoral. The integration and interconnectivity of medical devices with each other and IT systems is increasingly important. The OR.NET project is addressed to this issue.

Snapshot from a brain surgery
Snapshot from a brain surgery

We focus in this project on the question how runtime verification can be used to ensure the security of such interconnected systems. The new idea of the project OR.NET is the dynamic interconnection of medical devices. This leads to the problem that risk analysis and measures cannot be implemented for two specific interconnected devices. Instead one must consider one device and the network which may contain many other devices connected to it, which are not know. Of course this general idea has to be restricted in many ways for a safe interconnection fulfilling the legal requirements.

We are deriving a concept on how formal interface specifications can be used in the risk analysis. For example using such specifications one can automatically check the compatibility of devices. The result of this check must be strengthened at runtime using generated monitors checking that every device fulfils its own interface specification.

With these ideas we contribute to the goal of the whole project: Allow the clinic operators to choose medical devices from different manufacturers fulfilling the intended use. Furthermore it should be possible to connect the devices safely in a plug-and-play-manner. If a device fails (also during surgery), it must be possible to exchange it dynamically by one having the capabilities to fulfil the same intended use. Moreover, the particular combination of devices must not require a dedicated certification and must not require the clinic operator to take over the role of a manufacturer.

In contrast to the OR.NET project the MD PnP project focus on distributing core functionality and consider not primarily the critical area of the operating room.


Cover of the official OR.NET brochure.

The official OR.NET brochure summarizes the goals and the results of the different sub-projects.

Funktionspräsentation in Lübeck am 13. Juli 2015

Sorry the text and the picture's captions about this presentation and demonstration are currently available only in German.

Am 13. Juli wurden in Lübeck in einer Funktionspräsentation die ersten Zwischenergebnisse des Projektes OR.NET gezeigt: Über den Standard 11073-SDC konnten Messwerte zwischen medizinischen Geräten ausgetauscht und zum Beispiel im Bildschirm eines Mikroskops oder eines Endoskops eingeblendet werden. Darüber hinaus konnten Medizingeräte zu Geräteverbünden zusammengeschlossen werden, sodass zum Beispiel ein Ultraschall-Dissektor über ein Mikroskopsystem ausgelöst werden konnte. Die verwendete Kommunikations-Middleware OpenSDC in der Version 1.0-BETA_05-HOTFIX konnte außerdem verwendet werden, um Auftragsdaten und Patientendaten, die über den Konnektor IS aus dem Krankenhaus-Informations-System ausgelesen wurden, an die Geräte zu verteilen. Schließlich wurde die Übertragung von Echtzeit-Datenströmen demonstriert: An einem Monitor konnten EKG-Signale und Plethysmogramme verschiedener Sensoren empfangen und angezeigt werden.

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An der Demonstration beteiligt waren die Institute für medizinische Informatik, für Softwaretechnik und Programmiersprachen und für Telematik der Universität zu Lübeck, die Stabsstelle Informationstechnologie des Universitätsklinikums Schleswig-Holstein, das Institut für angewandte Mikroelektronik und Datentechnik der Universität Rostock, sowie die Firmen UniTransferKlinik Lübeck, Möller-Wedel, Söring und MEDNOVO Medical Software Solutions.

Projects undertaken as part of OR.NET

The following project were undertaken partly or completely in the scope of our engagement in OR.NET:

Papers published as part of OR.NET

The research and publication of the following papers were partly or completely done in the scope of OR.NET:


If you have further questions feel free to contact Malte Schmitz.