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Modern, portable self-measurement devices such as hand-held glucometers and ECG instruments can provide feedback in electronic form to patients. However the information is mostly transmitted by proprietary cable and there is no agreed format for migrating this data to information systems in clinics where it can be used by clinicians. The result is a muddle of transport mechanisms and software. There is a clear need for a simple, open and agreed means of data communication to help patients to manage their condition and to support clinicians who engage in home telemonitoring. To allow patients freedom to move, the first stage in the communication; i.e. from the instrument to computer, should be wireless. The main aspiration of this research work is to investigate home help care in order to ascertain how to format, transport and convey the medical information recorded in a fruitful, standardised way. There is an absence of medical standards that are specifically for wireless collection of homecare monitoring results. Placing recorded medical data into a standardised structure and transporting it on an open “off the shelf” wireless communication protocol should eradicate the need for practitioners to have a muddle of proprietary cables to view the results of monitoring instruments that differ from patient to patient. This work focuses on and compares the relevant characteristics of the major wireless technologies. The characteristics of the signals that are generated during various homecare monitoring activities can then be compared with the characteristics of the transport media. The intention is to determine which wireless technologies are best suited to wireless home monitoring. The medical condition and patients applicable to homecare are categorised, the sampling rates and accuracy required to reconstruct the biological signals employed to monitor these various conditions are determined. The biological signals characteristics enabled a theoretical bandwidth for the raw signal to be determined. The wireless communication constraints are defined by the homecare signals transported and by the needs of the patient. To discover the practical difficulties associated with developing such a system a conceptual model and a proof of concept prototype is implemented on a lightweight portable device. The project focuses on biomedical signal characteristics; Medical standards (CEN/TC 251 Vital, IEEE, POC, HL7) and the physical layer aspects of wireless Standards in the ISM Band are investigated. The prototype receives messages in an XML format that is based on pr-ENV 14271 FEF from a simulated homecare instrument, parses incoming XML documents and stores the resulting information in a rudimentary personal health record. A graph GUI interface allows patients to view a configurable time graph of their homecare results over periods of time. A relational database allows for the storage and retrieval of biomedical data. The project is implemented predominantly in Java.
Cronin, A. (2004). The investigation of a wireless medical homecare data logger. Masters dissertation. Technological University Dublin. doi:10.21427/D7BK6F