Accelerating the development of mobile health systems through technological advancements
Numerous factors are making the concept of mHealth a reality, including a growing geriatric population, increased spending on health care, demand for telehealth, and a strong awareness and need for healthy living and fitness (seepicture1). In the past, issues preventing this concept from becoming a reality were requirements such as network access, security, reliability, and low cost and low power consumption. Later, mobile phones were rapidly popularized all over the world.
picture1 Some drivers of health care development
A lot of work has been done to use technology to improve the quality and ease of use of medical devices.A key factor affecting wireless medical solutions is the dramatic reduction in the size of medical devices – enabling mobile healthcare devices to be found in clinics, doctors’ offices, and even the homes of patients at large (seepicture2). To achieve this, designers need a thorough understanding of analog and embedded processing, systems knowledge, global support infrastructure, advanced process technologies, and the evolution of the medical industry. In addition, the high standards of quality and reliability required by the medical market must always be met.
picture2 The impact of wireless technology on healthcare
In recent years, with the Bluetooth®The widespread adoption of low-power wireless technologies such as Low Power (BLE) and ANT™ in smartphones and some single-mode peripherals has created an ecosystem that enables a broad range of caregivers and physicians to wirelessly connect to healthcare monitoring systems gave birth. Some home healthcare devices may be mobile (eg, activity monitors, etc.), while others are typically fixed somewhere in the home (eg, scales, etc.) and may not be able to connect to the wireless gateway. Because people often move around their homes, wearable devices such as watches or jewelry can automatically transmit buffered data from a remote scale to a gateway elsewhere in the home.
One thing that is important to most patient monitoring systems is ensuring mobility and system flexibility while maintaining data integrity. Wi-Fi™ and Ethernet are the interfaces that allow hospitals to network and connect all their equipment to patients’ homes. With patients wearing wireless body sensor network devices, caregivers can now connect patients remotely. This can be accomplished by connecting to a patient’s home security system, a data integration manager, or even a cell phone using the hospital’s internal network or link.This data is transmitted to nursing staff or call centres, enabling continuous monitoring of the individual situation of the patient’s family (seepicture3). Continua Health Alliance is a non-profit, open industry alliance of the world’s leading health care and technology companies to improve personal health and to build a universal personal telehealth solution that promotes patient autonomy. program system. It also allows people and many institutions to better manage their health. The urgent need for healthcare industry certification will further increase the use of a variety of general-purpose devices that work together to further complement the healthcare ecosystem.
picture3 Healthcare Monitoring Ecosystem
Interfaces and Standards
picture4 Wireless Interfaces and Standards
In its efforts to build a universal medical device ecosystem, Continua has a strong interest in the use of transport protocols such as USB, BLE, and Zigbee.®etc.) are defined for various medical devices connected to the data integrator (manager) (seepicture4). Continua uses many off-the-shelf standards to transmit and receive data between various medical devices. If a medical device manufacturer wants to use the Continua logo on its products, it must go through a rigorous certification process.
Communication distance, data rate, and power consumption are all key considerations when choosing a wireless interface. Bluetooth®Both the BLE and BLE protocols have a certain communication distance and have a higher data rate than Zigbee. Compared to traditional Bluetooth technology, BLE is more power efficient for the sensor, allowing the use of a smaller size battery. Zigbee, on the other hand, has moderate data rates and duty cycles, and supports mesh networking, allowing multiple sensors to be used in the same system for greater communication distances.
Choose the right solution for peripherals
Product designers need to review many checklists when deciding which wireless technologies and solutions to choose for peripheral products.
- Network Processors and True MCU Solutions
- Network processor:
- Simple interface for easy integration
- No need to port existing application code
- Single chip solution:
- Minimize cost by reducing BoM components
- Takes up less board space for power optimization
- Network processor:
- Find a vendor who can provide a complete solution:
- Do you need a network processor or a single-chip solution?
- Do you require a fully compatible, integrated BLE stack?
- Do you need single-mode or dual-mode support?
- Are you asking for configuration files, an easy-to-use interface?
- Are you designing in a module, or are you integrating the chip directly onto the board?
- Do you need RF design support?
- Do you require third-party hardware, software, system integration support?
Depending on your product and business needs, you can choose from different combinations. TI makes this process easier by offering a variety of solutions that meet the various needs of many manufacturers.
From a technology implementation perspective, the success of mHealth depends on the availability of numerous solutions that enable portability, network access, and data security. You will see that health monitoring systems will rapidly spread from hospitals to ordinary households. This will help physicians and patients monitor patient health-related developments and events. Undoubtedly, providing a security infrastructure with various functions for the monitoring system is the key.
- To download TI’s medical application guides, please visit: www.ti.com.cn/medicalguides.
- To view TI’s wireless solutions supporting smart sensors, visit:
About the Author
Sid Shaw is a business development manager for low-power products in TI’s Wireless Connectivity Group. Sid holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computational Engineering and a Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.