Mobile health systems: what should we call them?

My thesis proposal had the odd term “sense-only body sensor networks” in it to describe wearable or implantable mobile health systems whose primary purpose is to provide information about humans (and potentially their immediate environment). There is an interesting story behind this. The short story is that apparently, people in the field consider body sensor networks as systems that also have actuating (therapeutic) devices as part of them. I find this very odd.

Here’s my take: a mobile health system whose main purpose is to provide information about the human body should be called a body sensor network. A system that senses as well as actuates (provides therapy) like that on the left part of the figure below (from the UVA Center for Wireless Health website) should be called a body area network (or if some would like to be more explicit, a body sensor-actuator network).

Body area network diagram