Technology for Integrated eCare

Technology for Integrated eCare

Wil Rijnen (Smart Homes, The Netherlands), Ilse Bierhoff (Smart Homes, The Netherlands), Rafael Llarena Gómez (Tunstall, Spain), Eleftheria Vellidou (Vidavo S.A., Greece) and Pantelis Angelidis (Vidavo S.A., Greece)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6138-7.ch005


Today, healthcare and social care services are often delivered independently. This can lead to inefficiencies, duplication of resources, and potentially to reduced levels of care quality. Older people are particularly affected by this situation, since they often need both types of services, such as support with daily living activities and chronic disease management. At the same time, the potential of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to support integrated service delivery remains largely unexploited. Against this background, many are the technologies that might offer a suitable canvas for integrated care, particularly to more vulnerable social groups. The main goal of this chapter is to provide insight into the most promising technologies for facilitation of integrated care, such as Ambient Intelligence, Internet of Things, Robotics, Service Platforms, etc., and to discuss the potential of combined technologies to yield efficient and well-accepted solutions.
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Technological Developments

Many technologies, ranging from house automation, telemonitoring equipment, service platforms to robots and smart textiles offer great opportunities to prolong health, active and dignified living. To enable self-management, social and informal carers, who need to be in contact with professional carers and be well informed about the health condition of their loved-ones, have a need for tools to receive this support. Online medical records are an ideal medium to share and exchange health-related information between all involved parties. Besides, social media, online communities and various services can assist informal carers and lower the burden upon them. Other technologies like surveillance equipment, online follow-up and video-call functionality increase the level of perceived safety for both the patient and the informal carer.

Technology can play an important, functional and supportive role in today’s care delivery. Nevertheless, well-thought usage and implementation is crucial especially with respect to safety and quality of life. Additionally, requirements and conditions need to be formulated based on opportunities and risks for technology implementation. Benefits for clients or patients are evident. It becomes more and more normal to monitor how care-dependent clients behave in their houses. Moreover, technology-driven solutions are nowadays often recommended to replace less human-friendly manners of restricting people like bed rails or confinement.

Many solutions applied in the care process are ICT-based. Thanks to the continuously growing potential of ICT, many new products are developed and implemented. Frequently, proven technologies are combined and applied for care delivery purposes. This in mind, this chapter presents various relevant technical details, but in order to showcase the applicability of technologies in the care sector.

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