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Ensuring Patient Safety by using Colored Petri Net Simulation in the Design of Heterogeneous, Multi-Vendor, Integrated, Life-Critical Wireless (802.x) Patient Care Device Networks

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2 Author(s)
E. B. Sloane ; Senior Member, IEEE Villanova University, in the Department of Decision and Information Systems and the Department of Computer Science, Villanova, PA 19085 (phone: 610-519-6432; fax 610-519-5015; email: ; V. Gehlot

Hospitals and manufacturers are designing and deploying the IEEE 802.x wireless technologies in medical devices to promote patient mobility and flexible facility use. There is little information, however, on the reliability or ultimate safety of connecting multiple wireless life-critical medical devices from multiple vendors using commercial 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g or pre-802.11n devices. It is believed that 802.11-type devices can introduce unintended life-threatening risks unless delivery of critical patient alarms to central monitoring systems and/or clinical personnel is assured by proper use of 802.11e quality of service (QoS) methods. Petri net tools can be used to simulate all possible states and transitions between devices and/or systems in a wireless device network, and can identify failure modes in advance. Colored petri net (CPN) tools are ideal, in fact, as they allow tracking and controlling each message in a network based on pre-selected criteria. This paper describes a research project using CPN to simulate and validate alarm integrity in a small multi-modality wireless patient monitoring system. A 20-monitor wireless patient monitoring network is created in two versions: one with non-prioritized 802.x CSM protocols and the second with simulated quality of service (QoS) capabilities similar to 802.11e (i.e., the second network allows message priority management.) In the standard 802.x network, dangerous heart arrhythmia and pulse oximetry alarms could not be reliably and rapidly communicated, but the second network's QoS priority management reduced that risk significantly

Published in:

2005 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 27th Annual Conference

Date of Conference:

17-18 Jan. 2006