Wireless Healthcare Applications

Advances in Wireless Sensor Networking have opened up new opportunities for integrating specialized medical technology with wireless networks. These sensor networks connect to existing Wireless Infrastructure, augmenting data collection and real-time response.

There are two major categories of wireless applications:

  • Monitoring physiological functions such as vital signs, glucose level or medication compliance
  • Biofeedback applications that provide information directly to patients or to medical professionals

Unobtrusive, Wearable Sensors collect data in real time reducing the cost and inconvenience of visits to the physician. Remote monitoring of Vital Signs is possible with miniaturized wireless nodes, while the advent of smart fabrics means sensors can be worn without discomfort or skin tissue break down.

Wireless Sensor Networks can monitor Vital Signs providing real time Glucose Monitoring, EKG, Blood Pressure and even Brain Activity. Miniature accelerometers and gyroscopes monitor stroke, epilepsy or other events. Health and Wellness applications demand the ultimate in Low power, Size and Reliability. A new generation of SoCs combine low power 802.15.4 (Zigbee), Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), R4CE, and ANT radios with low power processors, instrumentation interfaces and RF Energy Harvesting capabilities to provide the Lowest Power Consumption and the Smallest Size. These Sos support wearable, subcutaneous or implantable sensors that require minimal battery back up and connect directly to Smartphones, PDA’s or Laptops.

Remote DiagnosticsRemote Diagnostics

Remote Diagnostics increase the convenience of diagnostic procedures while improving the speed and accuracy of diagnosis. Smart phones already support over 6,000 Health Care applications. Wireless Medical Telemetry links real time diagnostic data to Smart Phones. Low power multimode SoC solutions are required.

Continuous MonitoringContinuous Monitoring

Continuous Monitoring patients chronic conditions helps detection and response to problems as they occur. Patient surveillance extends beyond discharge from the hospital with remote monitoring. Sensors connect to cellphones or PDA’s via Bluetooth. Miniature, wireless sensors monitor core body temperature, heart rate, respiration rate and skin temperature. Low power multimode SoC solutions are required.

Healthcare ComplianceCompliance

Comliance is enhanced by reminding patients to self medicate or alerting them to their health status with current personalized feedback. Patients pay attention to their status and take a more active role in managing their health. Sensors provide feedback on cardiac condition, glucose levels, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels. Stress, fatigue, impact and even brain activity can also be monitored. Low power multimode SoC solutions are required.

Healthcare WellnessWellness

Wellnes is enhanced by body sensors that measure heart rate, breathing rate, movement, fitness fatigue and distress. Comfortable, unobtrusive, cost effective sensors monitor multiple parameters providing complete feedback on the quality and consistency of the effectiveness of a complete exercise regimen. Applications include Personal fitness or physiotherapy, training programs and weight loss. Low power multimode SoC solutions are required.

Wireless Healthcare Technology

The key requirements for Wireless Healthcare Technology are:

Interoperability: Devices may use unlicensed bands for general telemetry. Implanted medical devices may use a licensed bands allocated specifically for that purpose by the FCC. Biomedical devices may use the WMTS band (Wireless Medical Telemetry Services, at 608 MHz or the emerging band at 2360-2400MHz

Real-time Data Acquisition and Analysis: Instrumentation of Analog Sensors, Event ordering, time-stamping, synchronization and signal processing will be required.

Reliability and Robustness: Sensors and other devices must operate with enough reliability to yield high-confidence data suitable for medical diagnosis and treatment.

Compatibility: Low power medical sensors will need to be compatible with existing wireless standards.

See chart

The integration of different types of sensors, instrumentation, data processing, energy harvesting and wireless connectivity within a limited space with extremely low power suggests an new breed of SoC.

A typical Biotelemetry System consists of:

  • Sensors to monitor particular signals,
  • Analog Instrumentation,
  • Low power processing,
  • Energy Harvesting and Power Management
  • Low Power Bluetooth, Zigbee or WiFi radios

RF Integration’s SoC capability can provide the highly integrated solutions.