Refining Healthcare Monitoring System Using Wireless Sensor Networks Based on Key Design Parameters

  • Uttara Gogate
  • Jagdish Bakal
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 106)


Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) can be effectively used for continuous monitoring of patient in hospitals and in homes for elderly and baby care. Proposed system is a smart healthcare monitoring system using WSN which can monitor patients admitted in the hospital continuously without any interference of wires around patient bed. We are accentuating the advantage of wireless sensor network over wired system by attaching various advanced sensors to this network to collect various body parameters of a patient such as blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, pulse rate and blood oxygen level (SPO2) wirelessly. A kind of WSN called as WBAN is used for this purpose. Many designing requirements like flexibility, miniaturization, portability, non-intrusiveness, and low cost are studied and considered to the make system more efficient. Different available wireless standards are compared for the intermediate communication based on various parameters. Proposed system is a Healthcare Monitoring System with ESP8266 NodeMcu WiFi wireless communication using Arduino Nano boards. This system can detect the abnormal health conditions of patients, issue an alarm in emergency conditions and send SMS/E-mail to the physician, caregiver and relatives of patient.


Healthcare monitoring system WSN Arduino NodeMcu WiFi 

1 Introduction

In current healthcare systems different vital body parameters of patient are to be continuously monitored closely or remotely by experts in the medical field. Previously the process was carried out manually by trained nursing staff. This work was tedious and there were chances of errors due to wrong placement of electrodes, probes, and fatigue. So there was a need of monitoring system which can measure different parameters efficiently and correctly. Wireless sensor network based healthcare systems are grabbing attention in this decade and are currently being applied to improve healthcare around the world [1].

Healthcare monitoring using wireless sensor network is a wireless network based health parameter monitoring system by eliminating use of complex wires and electrodes so that the patients can move around freely without something attached to their body. Many vital body parameters are measured using sensors and send to server via wireless networks for storage and further processing [2]. A small area wireless sensor network (range of 2 m) is used to collect sensor data called as Wireless body area network (WBAN) [3].

2 Literature Survey

WBAN can be used in different ways in many medical applications like

Wearable WBAN
  1. a.

    Assessing Soldier Fatigue and Battle Readiness

  2. b.

    Aiding Professional and Armature Sport Training

  3. c.

    Sleep Staging

  4. d.


  5. e.

    Wearable Health Monitoring.

Implant WBAN
  1. a.

    Cardiovascular Diseases

  2. b.

    Cancer Detection.

Remote Control of Medical Devices
  1. a.

    Ambient-Assisted Living (AAL)

  2. b.

    Patient Monitoring

  3. c.

    Tele-medicine Systems [3].

All healthcare systems which are based on WSN must follow some specific designing requirements like flexibility, miniaturization, portability, non-intrusiveness and low cost [4]. For healthcare applications the system should have some abilities like:
  1. 1.

    Wearability—Ability to wear on body—System must be light in weight [5].

  2. 2.

    Portability—Ability to carry—System must be small in size.

  3. 3.

    Tolerance—Ability to withstand—System must be robust and must consume low power.

  4. 4.

    Affordability—Ability to afford—System should be low in cost and affordable to common people.

  5. 5.

    Compatibility—Ability to be compatible—System must be compatible to standards-based interface protocols for heterogeneous wireless communication in different communication tiers.

  6. 6.

    Integrity—Ability to integrate—System must have simplified integration into different tiers of WBAN and E-health applications.

  7. 7.

    Suitability—Ability to patient—specific calibration—System must be calibrated according to specific thresholds suitable to specific patient [6].

Many researches have worked to design systems for specific applications in healthcare considering different parameters like minimal weight, miniature form factor, low power operation, and patient-specific calibration [7]. Four state of art systems are discussed in Table 1 based on different design parameters.
Table 1

Comparison of three systems based on key designing parameters








• Mass causality

• Real-time physiological status monitoring

In home and hospitals to care for the aged and those in poor health

High-risk cardiac/respiratory Patients

Inside and out yards home and hospitals

Inside and outside

• Both onsite and during transportation


Less because of bandwidth limitations

Less because of degrees of software and hardware limitations

Less to improve the design needs improvements

• High because Easy Adding a mobile component for the caregiver

• Geopositioning system


High cost

Low cost

High cost

Low cost Inexpensive commodity components


Multihop routing network

Lack of WSN standardized communication protocols for development of WSN applications

GSM/universal mobile telecommunications systems

High compatible—PDA design


Lack of reliable Communication

Difficult to troubleshoot

• Difficult user interface

Poor results due to high measurement of noise

Battery life is about three hours

• Sufficient wireless network capacity for reliable comm


The system integrates a localization system called MoteTrack—RF—based localization system

Robust system

Required medical accuracy on all the measurement, the duration of measurements is too long

Robust—Open platform hardware and software for ease of modification


Wearable sensor—describes new, miniaturized sensor mote designed for medical use


Wearable Wrist-worn

• Wearable—waist pack

• Portable

Table 1 provides a summary of the HCWSN characteristics used to meet the specific needs. Four state of art previously proposed HCWSNs systems CodeBlue [8, 9], MoteCare [10, 11], AMON [12, 13] and SMART [14], on the basis of key system architecture requirements mentioned, are surveyed.

It is observed that most systems are using wired intra BAN communication and ZigBee or WiFi inter BAN communication [15]. Therefore availability and efficiency is reduced. We are aiming to use wireless sensors in tier-I of our proposed system with existing WiFi communication and Internet facility of hospital will be used for inter BAN and beyond BAN communication. It will greatly help to increase integrity, reliability and affordability of the system.

3 Proposed System

In order to achieve the objectives of the system, the modules of the project are summarized as follow:
  • Sensors: Various bio-sensors are used to acquire medical parameters from patients. More advanced sensors are used for more accurate results.

  • Wireless sensor network is used to transmit and receive sensor data from patient to server. Different communication technologies are compared based on various parameters to select right technology in different communication tiers of WBAN. WiFi is used for tier-1 communication. Arduino boards are used for integrating the system.

  • Monitor at ICU server and main server GUI is used to display and update the parameters of patients in a real time.

  • Alert system Android-based/mobile phone GSM system is used to send alert messages to authorized user.

4 Implementation

  1. Step 1:

    Attach the sensory device to the body of the patient and turn it on.

  2. Step 2:

    The sensors will collect the data and transmit it through EPS8266 EX WiFi module attached on the Arduino Nano board.

  3. Step 3:

    At the receiving end, transmitted data is received on the laptop/PC.

  4. Step 4:

    The received data will be processed and displayed using custom software which is developed on VB6.

  5. Step 5:

    All the parameters viz. body temperature, stress, Heart rate and ECG of the patient would be displayed using specially developed software.

  6. Step 6:

    The processed data will be stored in database for further reference and sent to main server.

  7. Step 7:

    If the received values exceed the medically predefined thresholds, alerts will be sent to corresponding doctors, nurses and relatives.


5 Result Analysis

Implementation of proposed system [15] is done using sensors for vital parameter measurements. Simple Arduino boards like Arduino Uno and Nano were used to transmit data from the sensors and to process received data from the sensors using ZigBee or WiFi as wireless communication. Many revisions in the proposed system design are made to meet requirements of efficient healthcare monitoring system. Two such attempts are compared in Table 2.
Table 2

Comparison of proposed and revised systems

1. Name of sensor

Type of sensor proposed system

Type of sensor proposed revised system


LM 35


Skin Response sensor

Galvanic skin response

Galvanic skin response

Pulse and heart rate sensor

LED/LDR based Pulse oximeter

MAX 30100


AD 8232

2. Name of board

Arduino Uno

Arduino Genuino/Nano

3. Communication



Using the revised system in Fig. 1, we can measure various vital body parameters of the patients inside and outside of the hospital or in home in real time even when patient is roaming around. We used the system to collect actual data of 10 patients. Figure 2 show sample results of temperature and pulse rate and Fig. 3 shows ECG of patient 1.
Fig. 1

Proposed System architecture based on WSN

Fig. 2

Sample sensor result showing temperature and pulse rate of patient 1

Fig. 3

Sample ECG sensor result showing heart rate of patient 1

In the revised system the sensors are connected to Arduino Nano board. As the size of the board and sensors is very small as compared to previous Arduino Uno boards, form factor is considerably reduced. NodeMcu –ESP8266 WiFi Wireless communication is used to make the communication simpler, low cost and energy efficient.

By making above changes
  1. 1.

    As form factor of sensors and board is considerably reduced, therefore size of system is reduced.

  2. 2.

    Communication is WiFi, therefore availability and energy efficiency is increased.

  3. 3.

    Number of sensors are increased therefore complexity of the system is increased.

By revising proposed system many parameters are achieved
  1. 1.

    Wearability—due to miniaturization of components, size of sensors and board is reduced; therefore form factor is considerably reduced.

  2. 2.

    Portability—due to reduced weight and size, system becomes portable.

  3. 3.

    Affordability—components in revised system are cheaper than previous system, so reduced cost

  4. 4.

    Availability—Communication is WiFi, therefore availability is increased.

  5. 5.

    Accuracy—More advanced sensors are used which increases accuracy and precision of data.

  6. 6.

    Integrity—as existing WiFi from home or hospital can be used, integrity is increased.

  7. 7.

    Efficiency—Number of low energy consuming sensors are increased therefore complexity and efficiency of the system is increased.


6 Conclusion

Wireless healthcare monitoring system design proposed here depicts properties like light in weight, miniaturized form factor, low power consumption and patient specific calibration. It is low cost, easy to operate and user friendly system which can measure vital body parameters like temperature, pulse rate, Galvanic skin response, heart rate and ECG successfully. As the size of the board and sensors is very small as compared to previous Arduino Uno boards, form factor is considerably reduced. Low cost NodeMcu—ESP8266 WiFi communication chip is used for wireless communication to make the communication more reliable by increasing its availability. Thus with the use of more advanced and low cost available system components like sensors and boards, our revised system becomes wearable, more cost effective and efficient.

7 Future Scope

In the system implementation, GSR sensor readings are not yet added on monitor. They are to be added later on. Blood pressure sensor and respiration rate sensors with high precision and accuracy are to be added. The existing system is to be extended for more number of sensors and for more number of patients to propose a prototype healthcare system. According to suggestions by doctors, new sensor like one for urine level and saline level detection can be added to the system.



Author Uttara Gogate and Author Jagdish Bakal want to thank Dr. R. A. Marathe, Dr. H. M. Thakur and management and staff of M. D. Thakur memorial Hospital, Dombivli, Thane, MS. (India) for their help.

Conflict of Interest:

Author Uttara Gogate and Author Jagdish Bakal declare that they have no conflict of interest.


There is no funding source.

Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest

Author Uttara Gogate and Author Jagdish Bakal declare that they have no potential conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval is obtained from institute ethical committee of S. S. Jondhale C.O.E. Dombivli, India.

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants (whose written consents were obtained) were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional ethical research committee and with the accords comparable ethical standards of Indian medical council.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information TechnologyTSEC, University of MumbaiMumbaiIndia
  2. 2.S.S.Jondhale C.O.E. Dombivli (E)DombivliIndia

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