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As a nation of an estimated 45 million uninsured and underinsured Americans (almost 15% of the population), out of which over 11 million suffer from chronic diseases who require constant medical supervision, America today is plagued by the national crisis of inadequate and expensive healthcare. This paper introduces an architecture of a multi-tier telemedicine system comprised of strategically placed bio-sensors on a human body capable of collecting vital medical statistics (such as heart rate and blood pressure) and transmitting them (wired or wirelessly)over multiple hops to a remote medical server at a caregiver's location thereby taking telemedicine from the desktop to roaming. However, fundamental wireless networking issues must be addressed and resolved before this dream can be realized. In this regards, this paper proposes a Medium Access Control (MAC) protocol specifically designed for a Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN). Our protocol is designed to cater to the Quality of Service (QoS) requirements that would be essential for an application like WBAN. It fuses data from several biosensors and based on the time criticality of the data, schedules them intelligently such that the data reaches its destination in a timely and energy efficient manner. Simulation results show that the traffic prioritization and scheduling scheme proposed in our MAC architecture surpasses the standard IEEE 802.15.4 MAC protocol in performance.
Date of Conference: 13-15 Sept. 2012