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22-12-2010, 02:31 PM


This paper presents a methodology for monitoring patients remotely without geographical barriers using a General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) enabled embedded system. The motivation for this work is the realization that remote patient monitoring and control is becoming a necessity and that mobile facilities need to be developed to meet the current and the future requirements.The system architecture is described and performance has been evaluated in the context of data security needs. The suitability of the GPRS connectivity is considered in the context of the overall architecture and TCP/IP over GPRS has been shown to provide both a feasible and practical strategy. The results achieved compares the performance using both an insecure channel and one protected through the implementation of Secure Shell (SSH).The embedded system has been developed using the Linux Operating System, as this allows the overall system footprint to be configured to meet the initial requirements. This will revolutionize the overall quality of life of million of patients worldwide by creating a virtual consulting room.


Increased requirements for health monitoring and the lack of available medical expertise in many areas of the world often require patients to travel to medical centres at considerable inconvenience and expense. Remote telemedicine has now become a real possibility, but the issues of data integrity and security over normal Internet channels causes concern. Furthermore, the use of mobile technologies for the implementation of such systems holds a great promise but these do bring their own security challenges. Previous studies have highlighted the need for telemedicine to be cost effective, secure and convenient . However, the mobility restrictions imposed by the use of traditional landline carriers have been shown to be significant barriers to the practical adoption of remote services. The development of embedded mobile technologies in the health care marketplace can be considered as both evolutionary and revolutionary. Successful monitoring of remote patients has been undertaken, but the possibility of controlling the overall patient environment is a major step forward.The proposed architecture takes two main forms. One would be direct monitoring and control from a central server, the other the implementation of monitoring and control strategies at the local level, with supervisory control implemented from the central service point. The devised architecture is highly scalable, allowing implementation on systems across different platforms.


Telemedicine is a way by which patients can be examined, investigated, monitored and treated, with the patient and the doctor located poles apart. Telemedicine has seen a tremendous growth in the recent years in countries like UK, U.S.A, Greece, Japan, Canada, Germany and now in developing countries like India where around 650 million people live in rural areas. TheEuropean Commission has defined telemedicine as “rapid access to shared and remote medical expertise by means of telecommunications and information technologies, no matter where the patient or relevant information is located”.The new face of telemedicine is also needed due to an increase in aging population. The number of persons aged 60 years or older is project and implimentationed to be almost two billion by 2050 [2]. As a result, patients don’t need to visit a hospital or their doctor so frequently which means lower health-care costs. It has been widely noticed that mobile devices are emerging as the ‘stethoscopes’ of next generation healthcare industry. An introduction of embedded internet technology in healthcare industry introduces cost-efficient systems with optimal performance, high confidence, reduced time to market and faster deployment.


We have observed that TCP did few retransmissions which cause the decrease in throughput. It has been observed that SSH deployment introduces small overhead in case of uploading data bundles but in the case of downlink it has been drastically reduced. We observed that this amount of reduction in the data transfer is acceptable as the patient monitoring application demands high level of security.

The results achieved also showed that the bandwidth of GPRS is limited due to various known and unknown reasons and we have to find out ways to maximize the performance of the connection through GPRS gateway. One of the good points which have been observed during the experiments is that GPRS connection once made never got disconnected unless done willingly.

However, no discussion of security will ever be complete and the only task is to deploy security and constantly evaluate known and emerging threats. The research carried out thus far has concentrated on developing a working system that allows the transmission of patient’s data over secure wireless networks. This work is part of our on-going research into the use of embedded systems in the healthcare sector.
It has been noticed during the research that elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) is been in demand for authentication, digital certificates, and public key encryption of the wireless devices, its implementation will be carried out in the future work.


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