Ubiquitous Health Monitoring Systems

Ubiquitous Health Monitoring Systems

Mikko Paukkunen (Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering, Finland), Matti Linnavuo (Aalto University, Finland), Jussi Kuutti (Aalto University, Finland) and Raimo E. Sepponen (Aalto University, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch340
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Introduction

Advances in information technology have made it efficient to send, receive, manipulate, and store vast amounts of data. On the other hand, advances in sensor technology have made it possible to embed different measurements in spaces, objects and even persons while maintaining adequate signal quality. The new health monitoring techniques allow automatic and unobtrusive measurement of biomedical signals and activities of patients – and also other persons who care for their well-being in general. The new integrated sensors and devices provide real-time parameters such as heart and respiration rate. These sensors are used in many new disease management and performance monitoring applications but basic heart and respiration rate monitoring are not enough. The real value of these data is gained only when multiple data channels measured under daily living conditions are processed to form a holistic, systemic health framework.

In comparison to prevalent health care practice, the use of ubiquitous health monitoring offers many advantages. From medical viewpoint, more data with less manual effort are available. This allows for a systemic view to the person’s health, leading to early detection of abnormalities and better possibilities for preventive care, supervised rehabilitation, and wellness management (Jovanov & Milenkovic, 2011) rather than just managing the already out-broken disease.

The major possibilities, however, might be for the individual himself. In ubiquitous preventive care the person need not to go to hospital or health center for simple routine tests and the costly time as a patient is minimized. The participation in the monitoring may be a positive experience for a patient and encourage taking care of their health – not to mention the possibility to reverse the trend towards the digital divide (Krishna, Boren, & Balas, 2009). This article sums up the technical concepts, issues, challenges, most promising innovations and opportunities of ubiquitous health monitoring systems.

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Health: The healthcare practice supported by electronic processes and communication, covering electronic/digital processes in health and healthcare practice using the Internet.

Telemedicine: The use of telecommunication and information technologies in order to provide clinical health care at a distance.

Remote Patient Monitoring: A technology to enable monitoring of patients outside of conventional clinical settings (e.g. in the home), which may increase access to care and decrease healthcare delivery costs.

Telecare: The offering remote care of elderly and physically less able people, providing the care and reassurance needed to allow them to remain living in their own homes.

m-Health: The practice of medicine and public health, supported by mobile devices.

E-Patient: A health consumer who uses the Internet to gather information about a medical condition of particular interest to them, and who use electronic communication tools in coping with medical conditions.

Medical Telemetry: The application of telemetry in the medical field to remotely monitor various vital signs of ambulatory patients.

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