Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Research aims to boost RFID security, integration

ROCHESTER, NY - Researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology have announced that they will begin to work on enhancing the integration of radio frequency identification into cardiac sensor networks - a wireless technology for telemedicine delivery - as well as enhancing security within these systems. The National Science Foundation’s Cyber Trust Program has given a $400,000 grant to support the research, which will be headed by Fei Hu, assistant professor of computer engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology. Hu will collaborate with Yang Xiao, professor of computer science at the University of Alabama.

The Institute believes that, due to the growth of the United States’ nursing home and long-term care populations, there is a greater need for medical monitoring. “Through this project we hope to increase the integration of RFID into existing cardiac sensor networks, ensure the overall security of the system and promote the implementation of the technology in nursing homes and adult care facilities across the country,” said Hu. Cardiac sensor networks use wireless sensors to remotely monitor a patient’s heart beating pattern and blood pressure and transfer this information to doctors and hospitals off site.

According to Hu, the networks are seen as a major avenue for increasing the quality of diagnosis and reducing the need for medical supervision. RFID technology has faced scrutiny due to issues associated with security. Hu and Xiao will research the use of anti-interference technology to reduce radio distortion of these networks and design and test new RFID security schemes that will decrease the chance of information being stolen.

They will also look to assist the overall implementation and integration of RFID to further the development of this technology in telemedicine systems. “There are well known security challenges associated with cardiac sensor networks and RFID,” Hu noted. “It is my hope this research will assist in better protecting these systems and allow greater numbers of doctors and patients to take advantage of the benefits of telemedicine.”Hu and Xiao’s team will include a number of RIT students, both graduate and undergraduate, as well as researchers from the University of Alabama’s Department of Computer Science.

Source : Healthcare IT News 09/19/07

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