By Hsi-Pin Ma1, Joel J. P. C. Rodrigues, and Nazim Agoulmine
Within the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc), the Technical Committee on eHealth (http://committees.comsoc.org/ehealth/) plays an important role in addressing challenges in health management and healthcare using information and communication technology (ICT).
The interests of the TC cover the advances in numerous topics related to eHealth advances. For example, bio-sensing devices, sensing of vital signs and associated ICT infrastructure development are important topics to advance the implementation of eHealth systems in the society. Problems related to energy saving and harvesting for long time monitoring complex to solve are addressed. Many other topics related to eHealth management are also investigated such as automatic diagnosis and situation awareness, ambient assisted living, security/privacy/database as well as issues for electronic health records, telemedicine, mobile health, and other emerging eHealth applications.
The eHealth TC is also promoting research at the frontier of knowledge in these areas. We can cite two important activities in the area of eHealth Body Area Networks that aim to monitor patients’ physiological variables and possibly automatically delivering medicine without any external intervention. The first one is at the frontier between networking and nanotechnologies that aim to build Body Area NanoNetworks based on a new generation of nano bio sensors. These sensors equipped with nano antennas are envisioned to be introduced in the human body to sense and analyze some biomaterial and communicate the result to other sensors using wireless signals. These miniaturized devices could cooperate together and identify the right place and right time to deliver drugs in the patient’s body. The second one aims to leverage this first work by allowing nano biosensors to communicate using molecules instead of electromagnetic signals. This builds on an emerging area of nanomedecine and molecular communications to envision new types of bio-compatible monitoring systems inside the body communicating in a similar manner as body cells communicate.
The eHealth TC is supporting numerous events bringing together practitioners and researchers from both academia and industry in order to have forums for discussions and technical presentations on the latest theoretical and technological advances. There eventually will be a track on eHealth in the two major ComSoc conferences every year: the IEEE International Conference on Communications (IEEE ICC) and the .IEEE Global Communications Conference (IEEE GLOBECOM). In addition, there is a flagship conference for the eHealth TC related to ICT for eHealth This International Conference on E-health Networking, Application & Services (IEEE HEALTHCOM – http://www.ieee-healthcom.org/)belongs to the ComSoc portfolio . Besides attracting ComSoc members, this focused conference on ICT for eHealth regularly attracts many members of other IEEE Societies and sister societies, such as medical doctors willing to share and exchange knowledge in this area.
The eHealth TC also technically endorses other relevant conferences and workshops around the world that address eHealth topics.
Recently, IEEE ComSoc has started collaborating with other societies to organize joint workshops and special sessions and co-promote the of eHealth area. This year, the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE EMBS 2014) has invited ComSoc to co-organize a special session at the IEEE International Conference related to Biomedical and Health Informatics (IEEE BHI 2014). Similarly, ComSoc has also invited the societies involved in the Life Sciences Technical Community (LSTC) (http://lifesciences.ieee.org/about) to co-organize workshops or special sessions at IEEE HEALTHCOM 2015 that will take place in Boston, MA, USA (October 2015).
ComSoc is one of the six founding IEEE societies of LSTC, represented by Joel Rodrigues and Nazim Agoulmine in the Steering Committee. Joel is also appointed as Publications co-chair of LSTC.
Regarding dissemination, several eHealth TC members are nowadays involved in biomedical-related publications as editors or co-editors. Among these publications, we can cite IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, IEEE Journal of Selected Area on Communications, IEEE Communications Magazine, and others, including the International Journal of e-Health and Medical communications that is led and served by several members of the ComSoc TC on eHealth. Special issues related to eHealth topics are frequently launched. This provides members opportunities to publish their high quality papers related to eHealth and disseminate their research and development novelties.
Interoperability is a key-word in the area of eHealth to provide patient-centered health informatics and seamless interworking between multi vendors’ healthcare systems. To achieve interoperability, standardization is a very important activity that is promoted by the eHealth TC. For that reason, the eHealth TC has a standards liaison within ComSoc Standard Development Board. This provides TC members the opportunities to be involved in standardization activities and to participate in the advances of related topics.
The eHealth TC objective is to leverage ICT core-competence of ComSoc TCs to explore gap technologies and solutions unique to diverse health and healthcare application requirements and to provide a multi-disciplinary platform for technical information exchange and project collaboration among IEEE and non-IEEE partners all over the world.
Hsi-Pin Ma is an Associate Professor of Department of Electrical Engineering at National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan. He received his Ph. D. from National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. His research interests include communications system design and SoC implementation, power efficient/energy efficient signal processing, and biomedical signal processing and system applications. Read more
Joel Josè P. C. Rodrigues (S’01, M’06, SM’06) is a professor in the Department of Informatics of the University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal, and researcher at the Instituto de Telecomunicações, Portugal. He received a PhD degree in informatics engineering from the University of Beira Interior. His main research interests include sensor networks, e-health, e-learning, vehicular delay-tolerant networks, and mobile and ubiquitous computing. Read more
Nazim Agoulmine University of Èvry Val d’Essonne, France is a full professor at the University of Evry, France, and a WCU distinguished visiting professor at POSTECH, Korea. He is leading a research group on networking and multimedia systems (IBISC Laboratory) and is an area editor of International Journal on Computer Networks. He is a coauthor of three books in network architectures and management and a book on autonomic networks. His research interests include wired and wireless network management and control, autonomic networks, and sensor networks. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE. Read more