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Authors: Huang, Y. C., Lin, H. J., Chen, Y. S., Shieh, M. C., Hsu, Y. L.; recommended: Yeh-Liang Hsu (2012-08-02);
Note: This paper is presented at 2012 International Society of Gerontechnology World Conference, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e), the Netherlands, June 26~29, 2012. This paper is also published at Gerontechnology 2012; 11(2): 127-128; doi: 10.4017/gt.2012.11.02.409.00

From home telehealth to “Communication and Care”

Purpose

Although the usefulness of home telehealth systems has been recognized, and all technologies required are readily available, expectations for its widespread adoption have not been realized in Taiwan. Such systems are often too COMplicated, COst is too high, and users (including older adults and their caregivers) do not have enough Motivation. In responding to this so-called “COM-COM” challenges, a decentralized home telehealth system was developed [1], in which a single household is the fundamental unit for sensing, data transmission, storage and analysis based on the Distributed Data Server (DDS). The highly decentralized monitoring model and the portable nature of the system make it economically viable and acceptable to the end-users, however, motivation of users remains the key factor. This paper presents “Comm & Care” converted from the decentralized home telehealth system. Existing mobile devices, cloud services and social network services (SNS) are integrated in this customizable system. Most importantly, “Comm & Care” transforms from a home telehealth system into a platform of communication and care between older adults and their family members.

Method

Figure 1 illustrates the structure of “Comm & Care”, which exhibits minimal system complexity. Sensing data from various sensors in the home environment are transmitted to the DDS, which can be an embedded system, tablet or PC. Caregivers download Apps to build personalized interfaces on their own mobile phones, tablets, and PCs to access the sensing data and receive alert messages from the DDS. It is not necessary to pay a monthly fee to subscribe services from a home health care service provider. Actually the responsibility of care is also “decentralized” to the family members of the older adults, using “Comm & Care” as a platform. SNS such as Facebook and Twitter are the most popular communication platforms for younger generation. Connecting with SNS, “Comm & Care” can be a “friend” on caregiver’s Facebook and publishes sensing data and messages. It is expected to stimulate motivations for younger family members to communicate with the older adults, and the sensing data enriches the content of communication.

Figure 1. The structure of “Comm and Care”

Results & Discussion

The fundamental structure of “Comm & Care” has been completed. Equipped with different sensors, different applications have been built. Currently, vital signs (such as blood pressure and blood glucose), environmental parameters (such as temperature and humidity), and activity of daily living monitoring have been completed. Sleep quality monitoring is being developed. We are also working with a telecommunication company to find a new business model to market “Comm & Care”, which is not just an App.

Keywords: Communication Governance, home telehealth, social network service;

References

[1]     Hsu, Y. L., Yang, C. C., Tsai, T. C., Cheng, C. M., Wu, C. H., “Development of a decentralized home telehealth monitoring system,” Telemedicine and e-Health, Vol. 13, No.1, pp. 69-78, 2007.02.