The Lower Saxony Research Network Design of Environments for Ageing (GAL) - Towards Interdisciplinary Research on ICT in Ageing Societies
ABSTRACT Worldwide, ageing societies are bringing challenges for independent living and health care. Health-enabling technologies for pervasive health care and sensor-enhanced health information systems offer new opportunities for care. In order to identify, implement and assess such new information and communication technologies the 'Lower Saxony Research Network Design of Environments for Ageing' (GAL) has been launched in 2008 as interdisciplinary research project. In this publication we inform about the goals and structure of GAL, including first outcomes, as well as to discuss the potentials and possible barriers of such highly interdisciplinary research projects in the field of health-enabling technologies for pervasive health care. Although GAL's high interdisciplinarity at the beginning slowed down the speed of research progress, we can now work on problems, which can hardly be solved by one or few disciplines alone. Interdisciplinary research projects on ICT in ageing societies are needed and recommended.
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ABSTRACT: The aging of the population creates pressure on the healthcare systems in various ways. A massive increase of chronic disease conditions and age-related illness are predicted as the dominant forces driving the future health care. The objective of this paper is to present future research demands in pervasive healthcare with the goal to meet the healthcare challenges by paving the way for a pervasive, user-centered and preventive healthcare model. This paper presents recent methodological approaches and proposes future research topics in three areas: i) pervasive, continuous and reliable long-term monitoring systems; ii) prevention through pervasive technology as a key element to maintain lifelong wellness; and iii) design and evaluation methods for ubiquitous, patient-centric technologies. Pervasive technology has been identified as a strong asset for achieving the vision of user-centered preventive healthcare. In order to make this vision a reality, new strategies for design, development and evaluation of technology have to find a common denominator and consequently interoperate. Moreover, the potential of pervasive healthcare technologies offers new opportunities beyond traditional disease treatment and may play a major role in prevention, e.g. motivate healthy behavior and disease prevention throughout all stages of life. In this sense, open challenges in future research have to be addressed such as the variability of health indicators between individuals and the manner in which relevant health indicators are provided to the users in order to maximize their motivation to mitigate or prevent unhealthy behaviors. Additionally, collecting evidence that pervasive technology improves health is seen as one of the toughest challenges. Promising approaches are recently introduced, such as "clinical proof-of-concept" and balanced observational studies. The paper concludes that pervasive healthcare will enable a paradigm shift from the established centralized healthcare model to a pervasive, user-centered and preventive overall lifestyle health management. In order to provide these new opportunities everywhere, anytime and to anyone, future research in the fields of pervasive sensing, pervasive prevention and evaluation of pervasive technology is inevitably needed.Methods of Information in Medicine 12/2009; 49(1):67-73. · 1.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The OECD countries are facing a set of core challenges; an increasing elderly population; increasing number of chronic and lifestyle-related diseases; expanding scope of what medicine can do; and increasing lack of medical professionals. Pervasive healthcare asks how pervasive computing technology can be designed to meet these challenges. The objective of this paper is to discuss 'pervasive healthcare' as a research field and tries to establish how novel and distinct it is, compared to related work within biomedical engineering, medical informatics, and ubiquitous computing. The paper presents the research questions, approach, technologies, and methods of pervasive healthcare and discusses these in comparison to those of other related scientific disciplines. A set of central research themes are presented; monitoring and body sensor networks; pervasive assistive technologies; pervasive computing for hospitals; and preventive and persuasive technologies. Two projects illustrate the kind of research being done in pervasive healthcare. The first project is targeted at home-based monitoring of hypertension; the second project is designing context-aware technologies for hospitals. Both projects approach the healthcare challenges in a new way, apply a new type of research method, and come up with new kinds of technological solutions. 'Clinical proof-of-concept' is recommended as a new method for pervasive healthcare research; the method helps design and test pervasive healthcare technologies, and in ascertaining their clinical potential before large-scale clinical tests are needed. The paper concludes that pervasive healthcare as a research field and agenda is novel; it is addressing new emerging research questions, represents a novel approach, designs new types of technologies, and applies a new kind of research method.Methods of Information in Medicine 02/2008; 47(3):178-85. · 1.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We have conducted a systematic review of home telecare for frail elderly people and for patients with chronic conditions. We searched 17 electronic databases, the reference lists of identified studies, conference proceedings and Websites for studies available in January 2006. We identified summaries of 8666 studies, which were assessed independently for relevance by two reviewers. Randomized controlled trials of any size and observational studies with 80 or more participants were eligible for inclusion if they examined the effects of using telecommunications technology to (a) monitor vital signs or safety and security in the home, or (b) provide information and support. The review included 68 randomized controlled trials (69%) and 30 observational studies with 80 or more participants (31%). Most studies focused on people with diabetes (31%) or heart failure (29%). Almost two-thirds (64%) of the studies originated in the US; more than half (55%) had been published within the previous three years. Based on the evidence reviewed, the most effective telecare interventions appear to be automated vital signs monitoring (for reducing health service use) and telephone follow-up by nurses (for improving clinical indicators and reducing health service use). The cost-effectiveness of these interventions was less certain. There is insufficient evidence about the effects of home safety and security alert systems. It is important to note that just because there is insufficient evidence about some interventions, this does not mean that those interventions have no effect.Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare 02/2007; 13(4):172-9. · 1.47 Impact Factor