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QoS-based management of biomedical wireless sensor networks for patient monitoring

Carlos Abreu1*, Francisco Miranda12, Manuel Ricardo3 and Paulo Mateus Mendes4

Author Affiliations

1 Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Viana do Castelo, Portugal

2 CIDMA, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

3 INESC TEC, Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal

4 Centro Algoritmi, Universidade do Minho, Braga, Portugal

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SpringerPlus 2014, 3:239  doi:10.1186/2193-1801-3-239

Published: 9 May 2014

Abstract

Biomedical wireless sensor networks are a key technology to support the development of new applications and services targeting patient monitoring, in particular, regarding data collection for medical diagnosis and continuous health assessment. However, due to the critical nature of medical applications, such networks have to satisfy demanding quality of service requirements, while guaranteeing high levels of confidence and reliability. Such goals are influenced by several factors, where the network topology, the limited throughput, and the characteristics and dynamics of the surrounding environment are of major importance. Harsh environments, as hospital facilities, can compromise the radio frequency communications and, consequently, the network’s ability to provide the quality of service required by medical applications. Furthermore, the impact of such environments on the network’s performance is hard to manage due to its random and unpredictable nature. Consequently, network planning and management, in general or step-down hospital units, is a very hard task. In such context, this work presents a quality of service based management tool to help healthcare professionals supervising the network’s performance and to assist them managing the admission of new sensor nodes (i.e., patients to be monitored) to the biomedical wireless sensor network. The proposed solution proves to be a valuable tool both, to detect and classify potential harmful variations in the quality of service provided by the network, avoiding its degradation to levels where the biomedical signs would be useless; and to manage the admission of new patients to the network.

Keywords:
Patient monitoring; Quality of service; Admission control; Biomedical wireless sensor networks