Australian Researchers Are Creating Secure Data Feeds From Wearable Fitness Devices

Vijay Sivaraman with a wearable ECG monitoring device. Image: UNSW

Australian researchers have started a project to enable data created by wearable fitness devices, such as Nike+, Fitbit and Jawbone UP, to be fed directly to medical practitioners.

Equipped with a $322,800 Australian Research Council grant, engineers at the University of NSW want to make the devices secure enough to feed the information they collect into the mainstream health system.

This would allow doctors to monitor the health of patients in their own homes, or provide a greater level of detail to improve diagnosis and decision-making.

Vijay Sivaraman, an Associate Professor from the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, says healthcare costs are ballooning in much of the western world.

“A significant opportunity exists to curtail these growing demands on our healthcare system by engaging patients in at-home medical management using emerging wireless sensor technology,”h e says.

“Secure, non-intrusive medical monitoring can offer quality-of-life for millions of patients with chronic conditions or age-related illnesses, while providing critical data for healthcare providers at dramatically reduced cost.”

The researchers are proposing a series of security enhancements to enable wearable devices to play a more critical role in health management.

Mealth professionals and medical insurers must be able to trust the data coming from wearable devices, that it is correct and coming from the right person.

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