Security and Privacy Applied Research Lab

MEDiSN: Medical Emergency Detection in Sensor Networks

Andreas Terzis
Johns Hopkins University


Staff shortages and an increasingly aging population are straining the ability of emergency departments to provide high-quality care. Moreover, there is a growing concern about the ability of hospitals to provide effective care during disaster events. Tools that automate patient monitoring would greatly improve efficiency, quality of care, and the volume of patients treated. Towards this goal, we have developed MEDiSN, a wireless sensor network for monitoring patients' vital signs in hospitals and disaster events. MEDiSN comprises Patient Monitors (PMs) which are custom-built, patient-worn motes that sample, compress, encrypt, and sign medical data, and Relay Points that form a static multi-hop wireless backbone for carrying patient data. Moreover, MEDiSN includes a back-end server that persistently stores medical data and presents them to multiple GUI clients. MEDiSN's heterogeneous architecture enables it to address the compound challenge of reliably delivering large volumes of data while meeting the application's QoS requirements. Extensive results from simulations, testbed experiments, and a hospital pilot deployment show that MEDiSN meets end-user requirements, scales from tens to hundreds of PMs, and effectively protects patient data from congestive and corruptive losses.


Andreas Terzis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. He joined the faculty in January 2003. Before coming to JHU, Andreas received his Ph.D. in computer science from UCLA in 2000. Andreas heads the Hopkins InterNetworking Research (HiNRG) Group where he conducts research in sensor networks and network security.