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International Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology

Volume 7, Issue 2, March-April 2016, pp. 18-24, Article ID: IJECET_07_02_003
Available online at
Journal Impact Factor (2016): 8.2691 (Calculated by GISI)
ISSN Print: 0976-6464 and ISSN Online: 0976-6472
IAEME Publication


Naseem Rao
Research Scholar, ECE Deptt. Al-Falah University, Faridabad, Haryana, India
Anil Kumar
Vice Chancellor, Al-Falah University, Faridabad, Haryana, India
T. A. Abbasi
Adjunct Professor, ECE Deptt. Al-Falah University, Faridabad, Haryana, India
With rise in world population, cost of healthcare also increased rapidly
which led to the demand of low cost health monitoring solutions. In recent
times, non-invasive wearable sensors have played an important role in
healthcare applications. With advancement in wireless communication
technologies, ubiquitous computing and embedded systems, the sensors need
not be invasive anymore to accurately monitor a patient's health status, rather
can be managed by user itself so as to keep a record of one's health condition.
The advancement of healthcare technologies has enabled patients to monitor
their vital health parameters on their own, and saves them from regular tiring
hospital visits & high cost of laboratory medical checkups. It has also reduced
the burden of healthcare service providers, thereby reducing overall medical
costs. This paper provides a review of current status of mobile healthcare
Key words: Mobile Healthcare, Non Invasive Wearable Sensors
Cite this Article: Naseem Rao, Anil Kumar and T. A. Abbasi. mHealth:
Review of Mobile Health Monitoring Systems, International Journal of
Electronics and Communication Engineering & Technology, 7(2), 2016, pp.

In today's world, the population is rising globally and thereby the rate of aging is also
increasing. As per WHO statistics, Indian population aged 65 and older is rapidly
increasing and will reach about 230 million by 2050[1].It has been estimated that the


mHealth: Review of Mobile Health Monitoring Systems

older population will be higher than ever before. Thus, with passing years, the aging
population is rising rapidly leading to increased healthcare expenses [2, 3] and hence
there is an immediate need for an efficient, reliable, pervasive and low cost health
monitoring system. As the growth of the nation depends on the health quotient of its
citizens, healthcare solutions should be made available at reasonable costs in order to
widen their reach. In this scenario, mobile computing has come across as a boon and
non invasive wearable sensors have played a vital role in realizing mobile healthcare
Wearable sensors come under a broad category of wireless sensors and overcome
the limitations of traditional healthcare monitoring systems. These sensors can be
worn by the user on body or in body such that they provide minimal or no hindrance
in performing daily activities. Thus, wearable sensors can be of two types namely
invasive and non invasive. Invasive sensors are those which are worn in body or are
implanted into patient's body. These may include the implantation of various sensors
for therapeutic or physiological signal monitoring purposes. Non- invasive sensors are
largely accepted these days for health monitoring systems over traditional health
monitoring systems as they facilitate mobility and thereby ubiquitous and pervasive
monitoring with zero intervention in user activities. These sensors are worn on body
by the user with appropriate localization so as to accurately measure the desired
health parameter. These sensors can be integrated resulting into a single operable
device [6,14,16,20,22,25] or a network of wearable sensors resulting into body area
network[7,11,17,19,23,26,28].Since the last decade the research field has seen an
increased acceptance ,particularly in the field of healthcare as it facilitates continuous
and long term ubiquitous health care monitoring unlike traditional hospital trends
which led to prolonged bed-ridden days and restricted mobility. The traditional
sensors and medical systems are not suitable for long term health monitoring as they
cannot be worn for longer durations due to their bulky, interfering nature, feeling of
restlessness and discomfort along with immobilization when connected for longer
hours. On the other hand, wearable sensors can be easily worn and carried around in
the home or outside environment thereby making anytime, anywhere[24,25] real time
health monitoring possible. Non- invasive wearable sensors can be used to measure
numerous prominent biosignals. Some of them with typical values for healthy adult
are as shown in figure 1.Various other biosignals include electricity activity of the
brain and muscles, skin conductance, blood glucose level, body movements and many
others. These sensors have many advantages like unobtrusiveness, mobility, painless
operation and many others.
Table 1 Biosensensors to measure physiological parameters and typical values for healthy adult
Heart rate
Blood pressure

Respiration rate
Body temperature



healthy adult
About 37 C

Naseem Rao, Anil Kumar and T. A. Abbasi


Non-invasive wearable sensors can be used for simply measuring the vital sign
parameters of the user for routine health checkup or for measuring various
physiological parameters for long-term continuous health monitoring [11,15,26-28] in
case of chronic diseases like asthma, cardiac arrest, osteoarthritis etc. Further this
technology can also be used for fall detection [5,10,19] and posture monitoring for
elderly people and gives an alert in case of emergency situations. Also, these sensors
can be used for the treatment of cognitive ailments such as Alzheimer, Dementias,
Parkinson's disease [22] etc. These sensors can be found in the form of an intact
device or gadget like wrist-worn device, pendants, shirts etc or in form of body area
network such that data from multiple sensors is collected and processed in a network.
Applications incorporated by these sensors can be categorized as follows:
Physiological parameters: This involves continuous monitoring of various
physiological parameters namely heart rate and electrical activity of heart, oxygen
saturation, blood pressure, temperature and many others. Continuous monitoring of
physiological parameters help in maintaining healthier lifestyle, prevention of any
chronic diseases, or efficient treatment of any ongoing health problem.
Physical parameters: These parameters are mainly measured to closely monitor the
activity, posture, etc. in case of a physical impairment due to improper or no
functioning of a patient's organ, This may involve decreased motor ability, hearing
loss, etc.
Cognitive parameters: Monitoring of these parameters is required in case of
monitoring of user's behavior, or to monitor cognitive illness in patients suffering
from dementia or other diseases. This is also of great help in case of tracking patient's
behavior after illness. Thus application of this technology ranges from leading a
healthy lifestyle to rehabilitation condition. The real-time and continuous monitoring
has made this technology highly desirable. It has proved to be of great significance for
both physicians as well as users. This technology has wide application range as shown
below from motivating and encouraging people to keep a track on their health records
to long-term management of chronic illness at suitable environment within their
comfort zones.

Individual monitoring for well-being and leading healthy lifestyle.

Determining possible symptoms and patterns of detected or expected illness.
Continuous monitoring of patients suffering from any chronic disease or illness and
determining acute conditions beforehand.

After-treatment monitoring of patients and detection of any recurring symptom.


mHealth: Review of Mobile Health Monitoring Systems


Figure1 Generic architecture of mobile health monitoring system

The generic architecture of mobile health monitoring systems used nowadays is

shown in figure1 mainly comprises of three main units namely:

Sensing unit
Central controlling unit

Communication unit

The sensing unit can be in the form of wrist worn device [6], necklace [10,
15],shirt[18],or any such wearable device. This device may consist of a single sensor
or multiple sensors integrated together based upon the requirement and size of the
device. The sensing unit acquires data about the vital parameters and sends this data
periodically to controlling unit. Central controlling unit performs processing on this
data, basically filters and analyze this data in accordance with the detecting algorithm.
The analyzed data is then sent to the Smartphone, PDA or any mobile device over
short communication range like Bluetooth, Zigbee etc. This data is further sent to
database for storage so that a person can have a track on recorded data. Also the data
reaches remote server from where it is sent to the healthcare service provider or the
doctor as and when required for close clinical observation. This data can also be sent
to family and friends as per the user requirement and convenience for emergency use.
These days cloud computing [13] and Internet of Things are enabling ubiquitous
availability of data for mobile health care applications. Whenever the examined data
is not lying between the previously defined threshold range, i.e., not within prior set
minimum and maximum values, an automatic alarm is generated at healthcare
locations indicating an emergency case so that necessary actions can be taken on time
and immediate care can be provided to the patient at the earliest. This architecture
also provides a feedback to the user making the system function as a closed loop.
Thus, the user can receive timely feedback from the doctor in immediate cases
such as a change in prescription, change in exercise routines or other preventive or
curative measures.


Being the rapidly emerging and promising field, many prototypes have been
developed for health and physical activity monitoring using non- invasive wearable
sensors for all age groups.
A large amount of work has been done to monitor physiological signals and
activity [8-10].Some of the recent research trends are mentioned below.


Naseem Rao, Anil Kumar and T. A. Abbasi

Table 2: Recent research trends in mobile health monitoring using non -invasive wearable


Hardwa Parameters Sensors used

Breathing feedback Wearable textile sensor Arduino Joint
Wearable textile
used to
system with wearab le monitor
movement, sensor using a
breathing patterns
text ile sensors
performing prescribed
exercises correctly
iCalm: Wearable
Wireless sensor platform Atmel
EDA, blood
sensor and network for continuous long term Atmega conductance volume
architecture for
monitoring of autonomic 328
nervous system and
microco heart rate
erature sensor,
communicat ing and motion data
ntroller variability
motion sensor
logging automatic
An electronic gadget Assistive technology for Arduino Heart rate,
for Ho me-bound
Patients and
temperature, e sensor, tri-axis
tilt and fall accelero meter
Real life applicable Fall n
system MSP43 Behavior
fall detection system using sensor in worn
and posture accelero meter,3based on wireless
necklace fo rm
monitoring axial gyroscope
body area
mhealth tool for the ARM
ECG data
7-lead ECG
intelligent mobile
cardiovascular disease micropr
telecardiology system diagnosis and treatment ocessor
to enable mhealth
STM 32
Wearable sensors and Model for monitoring Arduino Body
cloud platform for
the health n
of Pro
temperature, sensor, humidity
the patients
air hu midity sensor
parameters in Ehealth


Dig iXbee

IEEE 802.15.4





Health monitoring systems using non-invasive wearable sensors have been largely
appreciated since last decade. It has attracted people from all research fields due to its
efficient, low-cost, promising widespread application in healthcare, beneficial for both
physicians and patients. In spite of all these positive aspects, these systems have not
yet been deployed or adopted as a total healthcare alternative to the conventional
hospital environment. These systems need to overcome the challenges in fields like
enhancement of battery life, energy efficiency, interoperability, limited storage space,
scalability, security and privacy. To be a reality on larger scale, these systems need to
feasible for large scale manufacturing & deployment. This requires a broad number of



mHealth: Review of Mobile Health Monitoring Systems

experiments to be carried out in addition to the deployment tests in real life scenarios
to convert mobile health monitoring systems into efficient and practically acceptable
systems which are seamlessly integrated with the human world.













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