PCHAlliance publishes and promotes the Continua Design Guidelines, the only open implementation framework for authentic, end-to-end interoperability of personal connected health devices and systems. 

The Continua Design Guidelines are based on common international standards defined by recognized standards development organizations, and are built on four key principles:

  1. Authentic interoperability – connectivity requiring minimal effort on the part of the user
  2. Open source development model – the Continua Design Guidelines are universally accessible, non-proprietary and not for profit
  3. Flexibility – designed to provide maximum choice for developers and end users (healthcare buyers, individual clinicians and consumers)
  4. Wisdom of the market – the market in aggregate has more wisdom than any individual stakeholder; thus the Continua Design Guidelines are developed through a consensus process

Valuable tools and resources support product certification via the Continua Design Guidelines, including: the Continua Enabling Software Library (CESL) and test tool development, representing over $2 million worth of software development created by Continua to enable complete end-to-end functionality. PCHAlliance members have access to Continua Certification Experts, pre-market interoperability testing, Technical Operations Leads and brand support for Continua Certified products. PCHAlliance also participates in a series of events around the world to connect members with buyers, as well as Plugfests, Summits and an online Product Showcase highlighting Continua Certified products and services.

The Continua Council is the Continua Design Guidelines governing body, boasting today's most dynamic, forward-thinking and successful organizations: Fujitsu, Intel, Orange, Philips, Roche Diagnostics, Sharp and UnitedHealth Group. 

Download our white paper Fundamentals of Data Exchange for a basic description of the data that is being exchanged between sensors, gateways, and end services and the value-add Continua provides beyond the referenced standards to make implementations truly interoperable.

Download the Continua Design Guidelines for free:

Version Download Link
2016 2016 Design Guidelines
2015  2015 Design Guidelines
2014  2014 Design Guidelines
2012  2012 Design Guidelines
2011  2011 Design Guidelines
2010  2010 Design Guidelines
Version One  Version One Design Guidelines

Public Commenting

PCHAlliance non-members and members are invited to comment on the most current version of the Continua Design Guidelines.  All comments, from members of the PCHAlliance and from non-members alike, will be reviewed and addressed in the next round of development.

Continua Advances the Internet of Things with its 2016 Design Guidelines

The 2016 Continua Design Guidelines are to made available to the public in July 2016. Members may begin certification to these guidelines immediately.  

WAN Mobile-Ready Interface: What's Needed for Personal Connected Health

The 2015 Design Guidelines enable a new mobile and app-ready option for WAN (wide area network), that is an important enhancement to support mobile health solutions, including key applications for health, medical and wearable devices. For example, the new Design Guidelines support the secure collection and transmission of personal health data from mobile devices to electronic medical records.

The newest Design Guidelines simplify and extend the services that can be provided to the home using industry standards, focusing on three areas: (1) simple access to device data, (2) additional services that support a better user experience, and (3) an improved framework for remote management.  

Enhancements in the 2015 Design Guidelines include:

  • Capability Exchange Certified Device Class -- reduces the amount of information that must be pre-configured on a device in order to obtain plug-and-play interoperability.
  • Observation Upload Certified Device Class via new REST Interface-- supports a range of use cases from informal health, wellness, fitness and social engagement applications to simple clinical applications. The REST Interface is prevalent in consumer Internet applications, such as those routinely found on Smartphone and tablet platforms such as iOS and Android.  REST web services are increasingly being used in the healthcare domain, including several projects in HL7 (Health Level 7 International, 2013) and IHE (Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise, 2013).
  • New Specializations for Health, Medical and Fitness Certified Device Classes -- augments the existing 17 device specializations and profiles with Sleep Apnea Breathing Therapy and Bluetooth Smart Weighing Scale and Body Composition Analyzer.
  • Authenticate Persistent Session Certified Device Class
  • Questionnaires Certified Device Class
  • Time-stamps and Time Synchronization

Participate in Interoperability Testing Phase

Continua members are invited to participate in the internal interoperability testing.  If you have any questions or feedback on the 2015 Continua Design Guidelines, please submit via Continua’s commenting portal.

2015 Continua Design Guidelines & Approved Use Cases Now Available

The 2015 Continua Design Guidelines contain references to the standards and specifications that Continua selected for ensuring interoperability of devices. The 2015 Continua Design Guidelines are now available for download. Approved use cases are also available.

Continua Use Cases, 2006-2014

Continua use cases are approved by member ballot and incorporated into its Design Guidelines according to procedures set out in Continua’s Lifecycle Process. Once approved for development, a use case is generally divided into one or more “work items”, discrete increments of capability, for development as Guidelines. In complex cases, some work Items may be completed and published as Guidelines while others remain in development.

Once approved at ballot, a use case normally remains open to development for a period of 4 years, after which it becomes ‘closed’ unless there is a case put forward for an extension.

The following documents provide indexed, searchable access to all balloted use cases, within their corresponding timelines. For questions about a particular use case or Continua’s process for approving and developing use cases into guidelines, please contact

The Continua Design Guidelines are available free of charge.

Continua device certification does not mean or imply that the device is legally marketable in any country; certification only assures that devices communicate in a standard fashion per Personal Connected Health Alliance certification requirements and Guidelines. Refer to the device manufacturer or country Health Authority for specific details associated to device marketability or usage. PERSONAL CONNECTED HEALTH ALLIANCE DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WITH REGARD TO ANY CERTIFIED PRODUCTS, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES OR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY INFRINGEMENT. ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES ARE THOSE PROVIDED BY THE MANUFACTURER, DISTRIBUTOR OR SELLER OF THE DEVICES AND PERSONAL CONNECTED HEALTH ALLIANCE MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH REGARD TO THE EXISTENCE OR AVAILABILITY OF THE SAME.