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Home-based Health Services: System Architecture

Note: This page is part of the Home-based Health Services article in the September 23, 2003 issue of our report.

System Description

The service is based on the OSGi-compliant architecture developed within the project. This architecture provides platform independence, interoperability with other services, modularity/scalability, ease of administration and remote administration.

Figure 1: Architecture overview

OSGi Architectures are based on three elements: Service Provider, end user and services aggregator. These are illustrated and explained below.

  • Service provider: The Hospital acts as the service provider, since they have the knowledge of how medical services should be delivered.
  • The end user: The end users are the patients at home. They have an OSGi enabled residential gateway, connected to the Internet using an ADSL service. The gateway is also connected to the home control network (X-10 in this case) and the medical devices (tensiometer, pulse-oximeter, glucometer) through an RS232 connection. The gateway is also connected to home automation (“domotic”) devices.
  • The services aggregator: This role is taken by Telefónica I+D, which is in charge of establishing the relationships between the Hospital and the patients. Telefónica I+D manages the connectivity and security of the communications between the Hospital and the residential gateways. Some common services -- such as short messages interface, warnings, web access, messaging, mail -- are also centralized.

All users in the trial have an ADSL connection, which is appropriate because it is “always on” and is suitable for videoconferencing. All measurements done at the patient's home (usually with the help of a caregiver) are sent automatically to the hospital and integrated immediately with the existing patient data, so the entire medical staff have the data available for queries.

The system has been designed to handle one of the key concerns, which is security. At the user level, all users must be authenticated to access any application. On the system level, a security infrastructure prevents unauthorized external access. Moreover, the information extracted from the hospital or sent from the patient’s home to the hospital travels encrypted. The same security is implemented at the patient's home through the residential gateway.

Equipment at the Patient's Home

Figure 2: Equipment needed at the patient's home

At the patient's home, the installed infrastructure includes:

  • Residential Gateway, with OSGI v2 compliant framework
  • Videoconference terminal
  • RF Alarm Switch and components for the control of the switches through the residential gateway (e.g., X-10 RS232-adaptor and X-10 modules)
  • Warnings Devices (lights and alarms) attached to the chosen Home Control network
  • Medical devices: Each house is equipped with a glucometer, a blood pressure monitor, and a pulse oximeter to measure pulse rate and oxygen saturation
  • Cameras
  • Ethernet to Wi-Fi converters
  • USB to Wi-Fi converters
  • Wi-Fi Access point
  • X-10 to RF converter

OSGI compliant software packages are installed in the gateway. This software is in charge of sending and receiving data, controlling all devices in the house, and communicating with the external elements of the architecture such as the aggregator (Telefónica) or the hospital.