Wireless sensing systems in clinical environments: Improving the efficiency of the patient monitoring process

Jeong Gil Ko, Tia Gao, Richard Rothman, Andreas Terzis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple studies suggest that the level of patient care may decline in the future because of a larger aging population and medical staff shortages. Wireless sensing systems that automate some of the patient monitoring tasks can potentially improve the efficiency of patient workflows, but their efficacy in clinical settings is an open question. In this article, we introduce the challenges that such wireless sensing systems must overcome and provide insights on the techniques and features that system designers should consider for successful deployments in clinical settings. We do so through MEDiSN, a wireless sensor network (WSN) designed to continuously monitor the vital signs of ambulatory patients. We validate the usefulness of MEDiSN with test bed experiments and results from a pilot study performed at the Emergency Department, Johns Hopkins Hospital. Promising results indicate that MEDiSN can tolerate high degrees of human mobility, is well received by patients and staff members, and performs well in real clinical environments. We leverage our experience from this hospital pilot study to outline outstanding issues and argue about the steps necessary to bring wireless sensing applications to commercial use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5431935
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Andreas Terzis received his Ph.D. degree in computer science from the University of California at Los Angeles. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University, where he leads the HiNRG Group. He is a recipi-ent of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award. His research interests include the broad area of WSNs, including protocol design, system support, and data management.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering


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