Home UbiHealth

Home UbiHealth

John Sarivougioukas (“G. Gennimatas” Athens General Hospital, Greece), Aristides Vagelatos (CTI&P, Greece), Konstantinos E. Parsopoulos (University of Ioannina, Greece) and Isaac E. Lagaris (University of Ioannina, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7368-5.ch085
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At the third computing era, users interact with many computing devices surrounding or implanted in them, in a natural way, anytime and anywhere, implementing the concept of ubiquitous computing. Moreover, the ubiquitous computing implementations provide the advantageous characteristics of awareness and personalization, which are precious in healthcare applications (i.e., the operating computing devices in the patient's environment can be aware about the evolving situations and actively participate in the provision of the medical treatment). In addition, the ubiquitously supported healthcare services can be provided anywhere and at any time allowing specific cases of the hospitalization model to be transferred to the home healthcare model. The adoption of the home healthcare model in a ubiquitous computing environment provides the prerequisites for the development of the home UbiHealth model. Extending the formal provision of medical services at home provides the capability to cover the medical needs of all the population categories.
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In recent years, medical research has offered tremendous developments. Within this framework, specialized personnel is required to carry out advanced processes within properly structured and controllable facilities, using state-of-the-art biomedical equipment. Unfortunately, the availability of medical resources hardly meets the current social demands for hospitalization in cities and rural areas. This is partially due to the long average hospitalization periods required to perform trivial medical and nursing procedures such as screenings, lab-tests, or follow-ups. The lack of adequate infrastructures leads to longer stay of the patient in hospital.

These deficiencies can be addressed through new healthcare models that are supported by modern computing technologies such as ubiquitous computing. Ubiquitous computing was introduced by Mark Weiser to describe the third wave or calm computing (Weiser, Gold & Brown, 1999), where computers are enweaved into every fabric supporting the end user. In this era, the users are supposed to subconsciously interact with many computers, concurrently, in such a natural way as one uses eye-glasses to restore vision problems.

The application of ubiquitous computing in healthcare systems introduced the term ubiquitous health (UbiHealth) to describe the use of inherited computing characteristics in healthcare models (Sarivougioukas & Vagelatos, 2015). UbiHealth refers to healthcare services that incorporate ubiquitous computing means. Such services can provide critical advantages to overcome limitations related to individualized care, medical personalized treatment, patient safety, economy of scale, as well as healthcare system efficiency, effectiveness, security, and scalability.

Controllable hospitalization is directly related to quality of treatment, continuity of care services, transparency of medical and nursing supportive activities, patient safety, and administration of the involved supply-chains and related costs. In principle, UbiHealth satisfies the requirements related to the quality of the provided medical and nursing services, the demands for continuity of the involved processes, the necessary conditions of transparency in the followed procedures, and the fundamental prerequisite of safety for medical professionals and patients. Hence, UbiHealth can highly contribute to overcome issues related to hospitalization by providing the ground for medical and nursing processes within ubiquitously performing environments, such as at home.

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