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Wireless Sensor Networks for SAP Healthcare

In my last blogs, I introduced the EU project About the WASP project and showed how wireless sensor network technology can be integrated in a monitoring application for elderly people (see blog WASP monitors elderly people ).


Today, I will write about a prototype that the WASP research team is currently developing. In the research transfer project with codename “SWISH” (Secure WSN Integration into SAP CHN), the team is working on a prototype integrating a simulated wireless sensor network into a CHN application.

We consider the following business scenario:


Theo is a 75 year old widowed man who lives alone. Due to his severe heart problems (chronic heart failure), his family doctor recommended him to wear a body sensor network (BSN) that monitors his health status continuously. Associated to Theo’s heart problems the BSN delivers the following measurements: heart rate, oximetry (SpO2), blood glucose and body temperature.

Theo visits once a month his family doctor to get his health status checked. In his CHN application, the doctor enters Theo’s unique ID (social insurance number, health ID, etc.) to access the Master Patient Index and to display the Personal Health Record (PHR) of Theo.

The Personal Health Record contains the medical data collected by all stakeholders participating in the CHN, e.g. hospitals, GPs, pharmacies, rehab centers etc. The PHR contains for example the medication history of Theo, his stays in the hospital and of course the data collected from his BSN. The doctor analyses the sensor readings from the last month in order to evaluate the evolution of Theo’s heart problems. Daily and monthly reports are provided to the doctor summarizing the patient’s overall well-being and providing graphs of sensor parameters. In addition, a GP can create specific queries, for example, to see the patient’s heart rate over the last 3 days. The doctor profits also from the systems’ potential to detect deteriorations and abnormal episodes automatically.


Beside the nice story, the main challenge is to connect Theo’s BSN to the CHN application. To make this possible, the WASP team developed an Enterprise Integration Component (EIC) to mediate between the WSN and the business application. Based on the SOA principle and implemented on SAP NetWeaver, the EIC contains all necessary services to connect to a WSN gateway, store and process the sensor data and make them available to a healthcare application, like used from Theo’s family doctor. Special security services are in place to ensure the privacy of the patient and allow only access to the data for authorized persons.

For fast prototyping, in the first implementation of the body sensor network is simulated in a WSN simulation framework called Ptolemy II. We hope that a latter prototype will contain a real Body Sensor Network, based on the technology developed in the WASP project.

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    • Hi Claudius,
      This report is very interesting and addresses a lot of security and privacy issues.
      Indeed, in the WASP project, SAP Research is dealing with similar issues in scenarios involving wireless sensor networks. But there is a main difference between the implantable devices mentioned in the article and sensor node.
      The implantable devices, like the pace-makers, are just small actuators with an antenna to be programmed. There is a focus on the medical functionality and on a long lifetime for these devices as the battery can not easily be replaced.
      Sensor nodes are able to take different kind of physical measurements and send them via gateways to a backend application. Patients can not be affected by sensor nodes. The sensed information can be very sensible and has to be protected from unauthorized access. The good news: sensor nodes in general are almost like mini-computers with a complex operating system on which you can deploy security suites to prevent many of the attacks presented in the article.
      Kind regards,