UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A wearable sensor jacket and enabling technologies for a telemedicine system Xiao, Shan


Telemedicine will alleviate the pressure on healthcare systems by reducing avoidable hospital visits and providing a service that can directly address the specific needs of patients, notably of the elderly and the disabled. Unlike the current healthcare services, which primarily focus on treatment of illness in a centralized manner, a telemedicine system has the promise of distributing the medical consultation, which can provide rapid and convenient healthcare particularly for under-served rural communities. This thesis develops enabling technologies for a convenient and wireless telemedicine system. The system uses a multi-sensor jacket, which a patient wears for acquiring the vital information that a medical professional would need to make accurate diagnosis of common illness. In the system that is developed in the present thesis, the sensor jacket will automatically inflate in a conformable manner when the patient wears it. The sensors are properly located to acquire the vital data. The acquired signals are wirelessly transmitted to a local computer for processing, and transmitting to the medical professional through a public communication network. A wireless telemedicine system relies more on the bandwidth of the communication network than a wired system does. Hence, size reduction of the data stream is important. This thesis proposes a new method to reduce the size of an ECG signal, for example, by determining the key attributes of the signal. The key attributes are transmitted instead of the entire ECG waveform. Then the proposed method regenerates a representative ECG waveform at the doctor’s end using the transmitted attributes. Illustrative examples show that the method is quite accurate and effective in medical diagnosis. For better mobility and easier access of the communication network, the patient end application primarily runs on a mobile device such as an iPhone. The patient end application provides live video and audio interaction between the doctor and the patient. During an active video session, the system streams vital data to the doctor in real-time. Besides receiving, storing and displaying the vital data of the patient, the doctor end can use the video conference feature to discuss the medical condition with other medical professionals.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada