Metrics for telemedicine selection of PAN or WAN interface


Telemedicine is emerging as a new way to help people improve their quality of life, and the widespread use of wireless technology has brought unprecedented challenges to the interaction of personal health and medical devices. This challenge stems from the need for people to communicate with each other between some wireless-enabled instruments and end devices. To meet this need, it is important that all devices communicate using the same protocol, in order to maintain the integrity of the data. sex. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the general issues related to wireless technology and provide tips for choosing the right wireless standard in different situations.

As one of the fastest growing interdisciplinary fields today, telemedicine uses a variety of technologies to provide people with health and medical information over long and short-range wired and wireless networks. Telemedicine became a catalyst for innovation in information services in health care. It enables patients, physicians and other providers to have new ways of communicating, enabling those with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer to achieve a higher quality of life at a lower cost. With the advent of short-range wireless connectivity, telemedicine technology continues to play a key role in the health, fitness and sports markets. The following two examples can help to better illustrate the impact of wireless connectivity technology on telemedicine:

· For example, a jogger can carry a variety of sensors to monitor his vital indicators (including heart rate, blood pressure, SpO2), skin moisture, and other athletic performance such as running speed, calories burned, and stride length. These parameters can be collected in a mobile device (eg: watch or smartphone, etc.) during his run and then downloaded or sent to his personal computer, trainer or doctor. After analyzing these data, doctors or coaches can make recommendations for training improvements to improve the jogger’s exercise endurance and performance.

· Another example is an ambulance carrying out a rescue mission at the accident scene. The emergency medical team (EMT) that visits the hospital as required by the accident can start relevant treatment on the way back to the hospital, immediately start monitoring various vital signs of the seriously injured, and make adjustments to the injury. Diagnose and send vital data and diagnostic details to the hospital’s emergency room. Sending this data in advance allows nurses and doctors to be better prepared for admission, so that the right treatment can be administered as soon as the injured person arrives at the hospital, saving a lot of valuable time and ultimately saving lives.

These two examples demonstrate the important role that wireless connectivity solutions can and are playing in the widespread telemedicine field, by:

· Collect data more accurately, frequently and at low cost

· A new way of connecting patients and healthcare professionals

Continua Health Alliance (Continua Health Alliance)

The Continua Health Alliance is an international non-profit, open industry organization of more than 230 companies that addresses and resolves issues of commonality in the application and deployment of telehealth products and services. Their mission is to build a personal healthcare ecosystem that empowers consumers and organizations alike to better manage their health. The alliance is not responsible for the development of specific new communication standards, but selects some existing standards, and then develops general guidelines. To successfully solve the generality problem, three important refinements need to be done:

· Chronic disease health management

· Medical and Health

· Increased life expectancy

picture1 A framework defined by the Continua Health Alliance is shown.

Metrics for telemedicine selection of PAN or WAN interface

picture1 Continua telemedicine end-to-end system architecture

This end-to-end system architecture consists of the following 4 main parts:

· Personal Healthcare Equipment: Monitor basic vital signs such as blood pressure, weight, pulse, oxygen levels and blood sugar levels and send these data via wired or wireless connection.

· Integration Manager:Enable personal health devices to record data in the form of an Electronic medical record (HER) for review by the home and/or hospital at any time. Such an integrated manager may utilize a smartphone, personal computer, or other specialized device.

· Health Service Center:Store and analyze patient-related information in a centralized location. This can be a doctor’s office, home, or a health care facility.

· Health Records:Used to store collected data. Forms include Personal Health Record (PHR) or Electronic Medical Record (HER)

Four kinds of networks are defined in this integrated management architecture, and we will mainly introduce the personal area network (PAN) and the wide area network (WAN) here.

Since PANs are characterized by low power consumption (typically batteries), we chooseBluetooth® and ZigBee® are the wireless standards for future generations of Continua-compatible telemedicine systems. Bluetooth technology is generally used for the connection between mobile integrated managers (eg: smartphones) and sensors or medical devices; while ZigBee is used for wireless networking of low-power sensors, such as those that allow patients to be independent at home. The connection distance of the PAN network is generally 1 meter to 10-20 meters, and most devices connected to the PAN network are powered by batteries.

Wide Area Network (WAN) access is best when data needs to be transmitted over longer distances (greater than 30 meters) and when the bandwidth is greater. The Continua Alliance has chosen the w3c standard for the WAN, which can be implemented using any IP-based network. This enables solutions such as Wi-Fi and most 3G network services to transfer data from the manager/hub to the backend software.

It should be noted that authorization is required only when products certified by Continua Health Alliance are required, and a specific network access standard is selected. If Continua certification is not required, the system/product architecture can choose other network access standards such as: IEEE 802.15.4, ANT, 6lowPAN or even some proprietary radio standards in the 2.4 GHz or 900 MHz bands.

Some Important Metrics When Choosing a Wireless Connection Standard

The choice of a particular network cable connection standard or technology is the result of a series of trade-offs and optimizations. Various wireless standards can be compared based on a number of parameters, such as specified data rates, network topology, transmission distance, and more. These parameters are metrics.picture2 Most of the parameters to compare when choosing a wireless standard for telemedicine and medical applications are shown. Not all of the metrics listed below are application-specific, and the number and types of metrics depend on the specific end application.

picture2 Parameters to consider when comparing different network connectivity standards

surface1 Outlines the data rates required for the acquisition of physiological information or vital signs for many applications, including chronic disease management or health condition management. Blood pressure monitoring requires a data rate of 1-10kbps. If the application involves sending still images, a data rate of 2Mbps is required. Product developers need to know which technology can support the data rates required by the application to transmit data.

Operating frequency is another important metric we need to consider. The spectrum used to transmit data is regulated by major government regulators. Spectrum requirements and regulations vary depending on the region and market (eg, hospitals or general consumers) the product targets. Additionally, network topology may have an impact on software stack size and current consumption. This is especially true for applications using protocols that require a full mesh topology (eg ZigBee).

surface1 Data rates for different monitored biosignals

picture3,4 and5 Several wireless network connectivity standards are compared using transmission distance and data throughput parameters.picture3 Shows that Bluetooth technology and the ANT protocol are the most suitable non-proprietary standards for body area networks (BAN), which require very short distances and very low power consumption.picture4 Shows that Wi-Fi may be the most suitable networking standard for high data throughput.picture5 The battery types required for different standards are shown. From these graphs, we can clearly know that Wi-Fi requires higher power consumption than several other connection methods.

picture3 Communication distance of various technologies.

picture4 Data throughput for various technologies

picture5 Various technologies require power supply

in conclusion

There is no doubt that telemedicine has greatly benefited from the widespread availability of wireless technology, which has revolutionized the way healthcare services are delivered. However, the rapid development of wireless technology has also brought about the problem of commonality between different wireless devices and devices, making it difficult to choose the right wireless standard. There are many wireless standards available for telemedicine applications, and it is important for engineers and developers to choose the one that best suits the specific end application. In the process, technology implementation has indeed led to an easier, more comfortable life for patients, physicians, healthcare providers, and all other participants in the healthcare ecosystem.


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