Data Concentrator for Medical Applications

Due to demographics in western countries home applications known as Mobile Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) Systems offer great opportunities in medical sector. These embedded systems are intended to supervise patients remotely using multi-parameter biosensors and secure communication networks in order to improve quality of medical care as well as guaranteeing privacy of personal data. A system failure can affect a patient’s health or even cause death indirectly at worst. If a patient’s monitoring system is “outsourced” to the patient’s home, consequences of a system failure are critical. Given that the AAL-System is located at the patient’s site, i.e. inside a trustworthy environment the major endangering originates from external interfaces for data transmission.

The use case “Data Concentrator for Medical Applications” for ambient assisted living systems will focus on safe and secure communication technology for AAL systems. The system shall be designed as a multi-purpose data concentrator (Figure 1). For maximum flexibility the (analogue) data source is not specified for a single application. Data sources may be simple devices like thermometers or scales as well as more complex biosensors like heart rate watches, ECGs, skin resistance measurement systems or lab-on-a chip devices.

The patient’s site is supposed to be secure. The Ethernet is used for communication. Hence it would correspond to a stationary device connected e.g. to internet. The replacement of the cable connection with a wireless connection could be done optionally for different applications. Here the focus is on data concentration and transmission, including:

  • Transmission of confidential medical data on demand, ensuring privacy

  • Data transmission under shortcomings i.e. due to temporary unavailability of interconnections, bandwidth limitations or constraints regarding energy consumption

  • Remote system configuration through authenticated staff only i.e. doctor

Data concentration i.e. reduction of generated data is mandatory due to safety related requirements i.e. limited resources of the transmission channel as well as due to security related aspects. The less information transmitted the lower the risk feeding information to an eavesdropper. This contrasts with safety requirements by redundant information allowing a plausibility check on receiver side.

The activities on this use case are led by partner Infineon, supported by technology specialist eesy-id.

Image: Figure 1: Basic concept