Technology Enablers for Context-Aware Healthcare Applications

Technology Enablers for Context-Aware Healthcare Applications

Filipe Meneses (Universidade do Minho, Portugal) and Adriano Moreira (Universidade do Minho, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-332-6.ch013
OnDemand PDF Download:


The increasing availability of mobile devices and wireless networks, and the tendency for them to become ubiquitous in our dally lives, creates a favourable technological environment for the emergence of new, simple, and added-value applications for healthcare. This chapter focuses on how context and location can be used in innovative applications and how to use a set of solutions and technologies that enable the development of innovative context and location-aware solutions for healthcare area. It shows how a mobile phone can be used to compute the level of familiarity of the user with the surrounding environment and how the familiarity level can be used in a number of situations.
Chapter Preview


“The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.” (Weiser, 91)

In 1991, Mark Weiser had a vision that still inspires many researchers in the ubiquitous and pervasive computing area. In a perfect world people needs would be detected and fulfilled by a set of devices that would act in the background to provide the means or data necessary to the users’ activities. Current technology does not allow to entirely fulfilling the Weiser vision but allows realizing many aspects of this pioneer vision.

Continuous monitoring of the health condition of people has been desired for many years, in particular for impaired persons or for people requiring special health treatments. In certain cases, these requirements for continuous monitoring force people to stay at the hospital facilities for a few days, such as when monitoring cerebral activity, or force them to visit the hospital every few days for downloading data from portable monitoring equipment to a server, such as when monitoring the hearth rate.

The increasing availability of mobile devices and wireless networks, and the tendency for them to become ubiquitous in our dally lives, creates a favourable technological environment for the emergence of new, simple, and added-value applications for healthcare.

One major opportunity resulting from this technological evolution is that electronic health assistants can now be used by everyone, independently of their health condition.

The technological evolution achieved during the lasts years lead to more sophisticated environments. We have more sophisticated users in the sense that more people use more technology in their living and have their lives controlled by technology, and also because more technological devices exist to assist people that search for healthcare services. WLAN, Bluetooth, mobile phones, digital diaries are among some of the most popular technologies used today by many people. Others technologies control peoples’ life individually or collectively, many times without people noticing it, like remote video surveillance or remote traffic control systems.

To explore and take advantage of these new technologies it is necessary to solve a set of technical, ethical and legal problems. Pervasive and ubiquitous computing devices can be very useful to people, providing important information and establishing an infrastructure that enables the emergence of a new kind of applications and services: the context-aware services and applications.

In context-aware computing, applications adapt their behaviour accordingly to the context of its users. The context is all the information that characterizes the user in a specific moment. It may include the location, position, a list of nearby objects (e.g. people), the user’s activity, the available resources, some user’s vital signals, and even the familiarity of the user with his/hers surroundings.

Among the technical problems that need to be worked out are the notion of context and the context management. Until today, many location-based and context-aware services and applications were built based on specific solutions, where location or other data was directly used from the sensors.

Context management should be done through an open and generic entity capable of supporting virtually any sensor or positioning service, without imposing a specific space model and by being capable to support a context based on multiple dimensions.

Context is all the dimensions (all the information) that characterize a user in a specific moment. Some basic dimensions of a context may be obtained directly from physical sensors, while some others may be calculated from raw data or may even be estimated from the information provided by other dimensions.

Location and position have been the most used dimensions when creating context-aware applications and services because there are more sensors and services capable of provide this kind of data than any other dimension. Moreover, position and location are among the dimensions that, in fact, influences a lot the interaction of people with computing devices. Context-aware applications that rely primarily on location are known as location-aware. Location-aware applications provide to mobile users the possibility to access services and information that are relevant to the user in a specific moment and location.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Katie A Siek, Kay H Connelly, Beenish Chaudry, Desiree Lambert, Janet L. Welch
In this chapter, the authors discuss two case studies that compare and contrast the use of barcode scanning, voice recording, and patient self... Sample PDF
Evaluation of Two Mobile Nutrition Tracking Applications for Chronically Ill Populations with Low Literacy Skills
Chapter 2
Ana Ferreira, Luis Barreto, Pedro Brandao, Ricardo Correia
Virtual electronic patient records (VEPR) enable the integration and sharing of healthcare information within large and heterogeneous organizations... Sample PDF
Accessing an Existing Virtual Electronic Patient Record with a Secure Wireles Architecture
Chapter 3
Phillip Olla, Joseph Tan
This chapter provides an overview of mobile personal health record (MPHR) systems. A Mobile personal health record is an eclectic application... Sample PDF
Personal Health Records Systems Go Mobile: Defining Evaluation Components
Chapter 4
Ing Widya, HaiLiang Mei, Bert-Jan Beijnum, Jacqueline Wijsman, Hermie Hermens
In mobile healthcare, medical information are often expressed in different formats due to the local policies and regulations and the heterogeneity... Sample PDF
Medical Information Representation Framework for Mobile Healthcare
Chapter 5
Daniel Ruiz-Fernandez, Antonio Soriano-Paya
The incorporation of computer engineering into medicine has meant significant improvements in the diagnosis-related tasks. This chapter presents an... Sample PDF
A Distributed Approach of a Clinical Decision Support System Based on Cooperation
Chapter 6
Teppo Räisänen, Harri Oinas-Kukkonen, Katja Leiviskä, Matti Seppänen, Markku Kallio
Incorporating healthcare information systems into clinical settings has been shown to reduce medication errors and improve the quality of work in... Sample PDF
Managing Mobile Healthcare Knowledge: Physicians' Perceptions on Knowledge Creation and Reuse
Chapter 7
Yousef Jasemian
Recording of physiological vital signs in patients’ real-life environment could be especially useful in management of chronic disorders; for example... Sample PDF
Patient Monitoring in Diverse Environments
Chapter 8
Monica Tentori, Daniela Segura, Jesus Favela
Hospital work is characterized by intense mobility, a frequent switching between tasks, and the need to collaborate and coordinate activities among... Sample PDF
Monitoring Hospital Patients Using Ambient Displays
Chapter 9
Javier Espina, Heribert Baldus, Thomas Falck, Oscar Garcia, Karin Klabunde
Wireless body sensor networks (BSNs) are an indispensable building stone for any pervasive healthcare system. Although suitable wireless... Sample PDF
Towards Easy-to-Use, Safe, and Secure Wireless Medical Body Sensor Networks
Chapter 10
Yousef Jasemian
People living with chronic medical conditions, or with conditions requiring short term monitoring, need regular and individualized care to maintain... Sample PDF
Sensing of Vital Signs and Transmission Using Wireless Networks
Chapter 11
Nuria Oliver, Fernando Flores-Mangas, Rodrigo de Oliveira
In this chapter, we present our experience in using mobile phones as a platform for real-time physiological monitoring and analysis. In particular... Sample PDF
Towards Wearable Physiological Monitoring on a Mobile Phone
Chapter 12
Giovanni Russello, Changyu Dong, Naranker Dualy
In this chapter, the authors describe a new framework for pervasive healthcare applications where the patient’s consent has a pivotal role. In their... Sample PDF
A Framework for Capturing Patient Consent in Pervasive Healthcare Applications
Chapter 13
Filipe Meneses, Adriano Moreira
The increasing availability of mobile devices and wireless networks, and the tendency for them to become ubiquitous in our dally lives, creates a... Sample PDF
Technology Enablers for Context-Aware Healthcare Applications
Chapter 14
Bjorn Gottfried
This chapter introduces spatial health systems, identifies fundamental properties of these systems, and details for specific applications the... Sample PDF
Modeling Spatiotemporal Developments in Spatial Health Systems
Chapter 15
Hailiang Mei, Bert-Jan van Beijnum, Ing Widya, Val Jones, Hermie Hermens
Building context-aware mobile healthcare systems has become increasingly important with the emergence of new medical sensor technologies, the fast... Sample PDF
Context-Aware Task Distribution for Enhanced M-health Application Performance
About the Contributors