GuiMarket: An E-Marketplace of Health and Social Care Services

GuiMarket: An E-Marketplace of Health and Social Care Services

Maria Manuela Cruz-Cunha (Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave, Portugal & Algoritmi Research Centre, Portugal), Ricardo Simoes (Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave, Portugal & Institute for Polymers and Composites IPC/I3N, Portugal & University of Minho, Portugal), Isabel Maria Miranda (Câmara Municipal de Guimarães, Portugal), Ricardo Martinho (Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal & CINTESIS - Center for Research in Health Technologies and Information Systems, Portugal), Rui Rijo (Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal & INESCC - Institute for Systems and Computers Engineering at Coimbra, Portugal & CINTESIS - Center for Research in Health Technologies and Information Systems, Portugal) and Luís Ferreira (Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9978-6.ch018

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Literature suggest that Assistive Technologies and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) may improve quality of life, extend length of community residence, improve physical and mental health status, delay the onset of serious health problems and reduce family and caregiver burden (see for example Blaschke, Freddolino & Mullen, 2009; Cunha & Putnik, 2008; Cruz-Cunha, Varajão, Miranda et al., 2012; Cruz-Cunha, Miranda, Lopes et al., 2013; Doukas et al., 2011; Muncert et al., 2012; Ilahi, Ghannouchi & Martinho, 2014).

There is a wide range of assistive technologies that can contribute to this purpose, such as web portals, electronic marketplaces (e-marketplaces) and search engines. The authors proposed an electronic marketplace (e-marketplace) as an integrative environment, to help the match between offer and demand of health and social care services, integration and management, performance monitoring and evaluation, and the enforcement of commitments of both parties involved in the transactions. However, the full exploitation of an electronic service of this nature depends on the broader access to ICT and the ability to use them (Cunha, Putnik & Gunasekaran, 2003; Cunha, Putnik, Gunasekaran & Ávila, 2005). Simultaneously the authors undertook a study aiming the definition and implementation of an e-marketplace for healthcare and social care and well-being services in Guimarães1: a municipality of the North of Portugal (Cruz-Cunha et al., 2013; Cruz-Cunha, Simões, Varajão & Miranda, 2014). The project, called GuiMarket, was developed envisaging people with special needs (elderly or with temporary or permanent disabilities), their caregivers, their family and institutions. Additionally, most of the services to be provided by this e-Marketplace can be used by all inhabitants in general.

The effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of social and health care services and the well-being of the users of these services is based on a correct coordination between the offer (the service providers: individual professionals and organizations) and demand (individuals and organizations) to address their specific needs and expectations. The services include the so-called physical care, such as domestic work, home care, personal care services and wellness, physiotherapy, nursing services, transport, catering, among others.

The Social Development Plan for the Municipality of Guimarães, conceived by the Department of Social Intervention for the period 2008-2011 (Miranda, 2008), considered several pilot actions in order to put ICT at the service of the population, in particular of both elderly and temporarily/permanently disabled people, and their caregivers or potential caregivers. The GuiMarket appeared as a pilot project to an answer to this plan.

This article summarises the project, the main results of the above-mentioned study and the main achievements so-far. Thus it makes three main contributions to the state-of-the-art in the field:

  • 1.

    The results of the study confirm the interest and the perceived potential of such a service from an end-user perspective;

  • 2.

    The findings support the advantage of expanding this pilot project to a full scale implementation; and

  • 3.

    The performed analysis improves our understanding of the relations between the characteristics of the inquired population and their perceived interest in such a platform.

After the background section, the article presents the GuiMarket users, a short specification of the service, functionalities and services to be offered, some implementation aspects and a prototype. The article ends with some conclusions and remarks for future development. This encyclopedia article was based on earlier publications of the authors (cited in the text) produced along the project development.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Individuals with Special Needs: Individuals with disabilities, temporary or permanent, that require special attention (healthcare and social care).

GuiMarket: A pilot project of an e-marketplace for healthcare and social care services currently being developed in the Municipality of Guimarães, Portugal. GuiMarket is an e-marketplace of healthcare and social care resource providers to facilitate the matching between users looking for service providers and individuals/institutions offering their resources.

IDEF0: Integration Definition for Function Modeling. A function modeling methodology which offers a functional modeling language for the analysis, development, reengineering, and integration of information systems; business processes; or software engineering analysis.

ICT: Information and communication technologies. This is a term that covers all advanced technologies in manipulating and communicating information.

GuiMarket Manager: The e-Marketplace portal ( GuiMarket ) has a manager, who is responsible for the major maintenance and coordination tasks.

Electronic Marketplace (e-Marketplace): An Internet-based platform where several buyers and several sellers meet to do business. It is a third party mediating offer and demand, offering value-added services and promoting trust and support to negotiation and transactions.

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