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Spacelabs' Digital Telemetry Systems Are First to Operate in New FCC-Designated Band.

Business Editors, Health/Medical Writers

REDMOND, Wash.--(BW HealthWire)--June 28, 2000

Spacelabs Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: SLMD) announces systems to help hospitals respond to a move by the FCC designed to end the threat of high-definition television and new business radio wireless transmissions potentially interfering with and disabling medical telemetry systems.

The FCC created the Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS) on June 8, 2000. The WMTS designates specific radio frequency (RF) bands for medical telemetry operation -- 608-614 MHz, 1395-1400 MHz and 1429-1432 MHz. Spacelabs was the first manufacturer with telemetry products operating in the newly protected range. Spacelabs introduced a new digital telemetry system in October 1999, which operates in the 608-614 MHz band.

"Our experience since October has shown that the 608-614 MHz range is a good path out of the frequency bands that are prone to RF interference," said Stan Wiley, director of product development for telemetry products at Spacelabs.

Historically, hospital telemetry systems have operated in the Private Land Mobile Radio band (450-470 MHz) or on unused television channels. In recent years an increase in the use of mobile radios and implementation of digital television have increased the incidents of RF interference, disrupting vital signs monitoring provided by medical telemetry systems.

Neither mobile radios nor television broadcasts are allowed to operate in the newly designated WMTS frequencies. Hospitals may elect to continue to operate their installed telemetry systems on the old bands as secondary users, but will do so at their own risk.

"This ruling constitutes a clear message to hospitals that they should migrate to the less susceptible bands," commented Wiley. "As mobile radio and digital television applications continue to grow, hospitals risk interference to medical telemetry systems not operating in the new WMTS frequency ranges."

Spacelabs was instrumental in the creation of the Critical Care Spectrum Act of 1999, which was introduced to Congress by US Congressman Jay Inslee. The Company also served as a Charter Member of the Task Force on Medical Telemetry established by the American Hospital Association.

Additional information is available at www.spacelabs.com.

Spacelabs is a leading provider of integrated medical information systems and instrumentation with a strategic focus on wireless, telemedicine and Internet solutions for healthcare.

(c) Spacelabs Medical, Inc. 2000

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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 28, 2000
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