Wireless communication may soon be at the heart of a secure and reliable patient healthcare network. The challenge, however, is to prevent signals from mobile phones and laptops from interfering with more sensitive medical equipment and patient monitoring devices. Healthcare organizations are also under tremendous financial constraints so cost must be considered.
Shalinee Kishore, an associate professor in electrical and computer engineering, studies the design, analysis and performance of different types of wireless networks. Her group is currently working to optimize these networks, an endeavor that includes signal verification, anomaly detection, algorithms for information gathering and retrieval from sensors, sensor networking, and secure and low-power wireless communications.
Kishore now plans to focus on the needs of the healthcare industry. “The optimization of wireless communications within a healthcare facility could lead to a healthcare information network constructed around an individual patient,” says Kishore. “This would ultimately bring about an improvement in that patient’s treatment.”
In a collaboration with a team of scientists led by Dr. Barry Gilbert and Dr. Erik Daniel at the Mayo Clinic, Kishore is planning to develop an optimized wireless communication network that can handle data transfer from patient monitoring devices. These wearable devices will be used to track a person’s physiological data or physical activity. They will be designed to carry out an initial analysis and to send relevant data to an upstream network for detailed interpretation by a trained professional. Such data transfer systems could be used to support a broad range of medical studies in areas ranging from endocrinology, orthopedics, obesity and neurology.
“Our aim is to develop a more efficient, secure and reliable method for collecting and correlating patient information,” she says.