Document Type

Theses, Masters


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An objective of a health process is one where patients can stay healthy with the support of expert medical advice when they need it, at any location and any time. An associated aim would be the development of a system which places increased emphasis on preventative measures as a first point of contact with the patient. This research is a step along the road towards this type of preventative healthcare for cardiac patients. It seeks to develop a smart mobile ECG monitoring system that requests and records context information about what is happening around the subject when an arrhythmia event occurs. Context information about the subject’s activities of daily living will, it is hoped, provide an enriched data set for clinicians and so improve clinical decision making. As a first step towards a mobile cardiac wellness guidelines system, the focus of this work is to develop a system that can receive bio-signals wirelessly, analyzing and storing the bio-signal in a handheld device and can collect context information when there are significant changes in bio-signs. For this purpose the author will use a low cost development environment to program a state of the art wireless prototype on a handheld computer that detects and responds to changes in the heart rate as calculated form the interval between successive heart beats. Although the general approach take in this work could be applied to a wide range of bio-signals, the research will focus on ECG signals. The pieces of the system are, A wireless receiver, data collection and storage module An efficient real time ECG beat detection algorithm A rule based (Event-Condition-Action) interactive system A simple user interface, which can request additional information form the user. A selection of real-time ECG detection algorithms have been investigated and one algorithm was implemented in MATLAB [110] and then in Java [142] for this project. In order to collect ECG signals (and in principle any signals) the generalised data collection architecture has also been developed utilizing Java [142] and Bluetooth [5] technology. This architecture uses an implementation of the abstract factory pattern [91] to ensure that the communication channel can be changed conveniently. Another core part of this project is a “wellness” guideline based on Event-Condition-Action (E-C-A) [68] production rule approach that originated in active databases. The work also focuses on design of a guideline based expert system which an E-C-A based implementation will be fully event driven using the Java programming language. Based on the author’s experience and the literature review, some important issues in mobile healthcare along with the corresponding reasons, consequences and possible solutions will be presented.