New Perspectives on Sustainable Healthcare Delivery Through Web of Things

New Perspectives on Sustainable Healthcare Delivery Through Web of Things

Cristina Elena Turcu (University of Suceava, Romania) and Corneliu Octavian Turcu (University of Suceava, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5384-7.ch009
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This chapter focuses on examining the adoption of the web of things paradigm in healthcare in order to facilitate the development of new web-based systems in more effective and efficient ways. Nowadays, the increasing number of personal health sensors and medical devices present the opportunity for healthcare providers to interact with patients in entirely new ways. In this context, the WoT paradigm could be closely linked to patient care and has the potential to generate changes in healthcare. WoT could also be applied in the social and insurance fields, etc. The social web of things (SWoT) further extends WoT in order to facilitate continued interaction between physical devices and humans, allowing the integration of smart objects with social networks. Although it opens new social possibilities, it was less applied in the delivery of healthcare. Nevertheless, its successful adoption depends on overcoming some open challenges.
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In order to increase the overall quality of patient care, and also to reduce costs, the healthcare industry is constantly bound to adapt to the many occurring changes, from advances in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to state of the art information technology.

Various worldwide surveys conducted in relation to this field reveal that one of the biggest technological initiatives in the healthcare industry is the Internet of Things (IoT) (Anon-a, 2015; Anon-b, 2015). And, inspired by the IoT concept, a new application development paradigm emerged in recent years, the so-called Web of Things (WoT). WoT enables connections and interactions with various physical things (such as medical devices, sensors, etc.) the same way as any other Web resource (Anon-c, 2017; Guinard & Trifa, 2009; Guinard & Trifa, 2016; Raggett, 2015a; Raggett, 2015b; Zeng, Guo & Cheng, 2011; Bovet & Hennebert, 2013; Guinard, Trifa, & Wilde, 2010; Guinard, Trifa, Mattern & Wilde, 2011; Trifa, Wieland, Guinard, & Bohnert, 2009), so the physical things become an integral part of the Web (Guinard et al., 2010).

Several papers and studies have focused on this new paradigm and the ways in which it can be applied in various fields. This chapter focuses on examining the challenges of adopting WoT in healthcare field in order to facilitate the development of new Web-based systems in more effective and efficient ways. We also present some WoT platforms and various enabling technologies that could be exploited in order to extend the current applications in the healthcare area and align them to the perspective of the new WoT paradigm. The movement of healthcare out of healthcare facilities (hospitals, laboratories, etc.) and into people’s homes will be greatly facilitated by the latest remote sensing devices of all kinds connected to physicians and care givers. The examples are numerous and the potential for cost savings and improved care is overwhelming. Social Web of Things (SWoT) further extends WoT in order to facilitate continued interaction between physical devices and humans, opening up new social possibilities. Thus, social networks can be used for storing and sharing information of interest for WoT interactions. In order for things in WoT to understand each other, sharing a common understanding of the structure of information is required. We highlight the lessons to be learnt from the past, open challenges and some possible directions for future research.

The aim of this chapter, completely aligned with the purpose of the volume, is examining the adoption of WoT in healthcare. The authors provide an overview of the impact WoT can have in healthcare and the inherent challenges to be addressed in order to make its adoption a reality in the field.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Internet of Things (IoT): The concept depicts a world where different things, living and non-living entities, are connected to a single common network.

Fast Data: This concept, occurring soon after “big data,” enables fast and efficient data usage in order to provide instant results and responses. This type of data is used when speed is important.

Big Data: The term is used for large and/or complex sets of structured or unstructured data that cannot be processed in traditional ways. As a concept, big data is defined around the four V’s: volume (scale of data), velocity (analysis of streaming data), variety (different forms of data), and veracity (uncertainty of data).

Medicine Models: Over time, various medicine models have been developed in order to describe which factors and in what ways affect and facilitate the success of patient care.

Web of Things (WoT): This term refers to a paradigm related to things (various real-world living or non-living entities) that can become a part of the world wide web. This concept describes approaches, software architectural styles, and programming patterns.

Smart Data: This term refers to data, often from big data and the IoT, that has value. Currently, big data is turned into smart data and there is an increasing focus on smart data instead of big data.

Social Web of Things (SWoT): Considered as a valuable resource in several areas, this concept reflects the shift of the WoT toward a Social WoT that involves the use of social networks.

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