A joint time–frequency localized three-band biorthogonal wavelet filter bank to compress Electrocardiogram signals is proposed in this work. Further, the use of adaptive thresholding and modified run-length encoding resulted in maximum data volume reduction while guaranteeing reconstructing quality. Using signal-to-noise ratio, compression ratio (CR), maximum absolute error (EMA), quality score (Qs), root mean square error, compression time (CT) and percentage root mean square difference the validity of the proposed approach is studied. The experimental results deduced that the performance of the proposed approach is better when compared to the two-band wavelet filter bank. The proposed compression method enables loss-less data transmission of medical signals to remote locations for therapeutic usage. © 2019, Korean Society of Medical and Biological Engineering.