Integrated Care: Technologies for Diagnosis and Treatment

Integrated Care: Technologies for Diagnosis and Treatment

Hadas Lewy (Maccabi Healthcare Services, Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8234-4.ch009
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This chapter will review the individual's, organizational and societal needs for integrated care for the elderly population and the suggested solutions. For the elderly population, early diagnosis and timely personalized intervention is crucial for treatment, prevention of deterioration and hospitalization. The author describes the development of new technologies that enables the involved parties (e.g. healthcare, welfare, community) to receive relevant reliable information and respond in a timely and personalized way that will address the specific needs of the patient/elderly person. The need also exists at the organizational level for better management and care. The proposed solution will address the organizational needs by integrating into healthcare system and workflow and involving multidisciplinary healthcare professionals, family and other care providers.
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Population ageing is a global demographic trend - seniors are the fastest growing population on earth. By the year 2050, it is estimated there will be more than 1.5 billion people worldwide over the age of 65 (Statistical Bulletin, 2011). Furthermore, the proportion of the elderly population is dramatically increasing over the past three decades due to a decline in mortality linked to improved healthcare and a decline in birth rates which means that there will be fewer young people supporting a growing elderly population (Statistical Bulletin, 2011). In addition the number of people suffering from chronic diseases, dementia and other illnesses related to ageing is growing (Lopez, 2006). The heavier burden of disease among the elderly population is ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, depression, Alzheimer’s disease (and other forms of dementia), lung and respiratory tract cancers, hearing loss, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus. (Lopez, 2006) The ratio of disabled elderly is growing; oldest people who cross the 75-years mark are expected to cope with various disabilities or illnesses, often more than one

There is a Growing percentage of elderly living independently and prefer to live in the community rather than in residential care. Public services provide care in the home of the elderly person including nursing care and domestic assistance for older people who live alone and cannot take care of themselves. Multidisciplinary teams includes primary physicians, geriatricians, palliative care physicians, consultants in rehabilitation medicine, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists and dieticians – all required to manage elderly patients with comorbidities and disabilities.

The main challenge for the future will be enabling older people to live longer in their home environment, keeping their independence as well as reducing costs to public health and social care systems. During the past decade, substantial advances have taken place towards applying technology to meet the needs of elderly people living independently. However in order to meet the challenges we will have to find ways to enable health and social care staff to operate more effectively and efficiently and to shift towards multi-agency, cross-cultural care that will replace traditional models of care with ones that encompass more integrated roles, competencies and vision.

Despite the huge progress in technologies development in the field of Ambient-Assisted Living (AAL) and e-health there are some barriers for the adoption of these solutions on large scale level such as:

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