Information and Communication Technologies—as analyzed in this book—could allow a radical change in the way healthcare services are delivered to the citizens and could represent an effective tool to cope with the today’s healthcare challenges.
In this chapter we introduce two European research projects where large part of the concepts addressed in this book are applied; they are the MICHELANGELO project of the seventh Framework Program and CHIRON of the ARTEMIS JU Program.
The CHIRON project (Cyclic and person-centric health management: Integrated approach for home, mobile and clinical environments) focuses on prevention i.e. on a move away from ‘health care’ towards ‘health management’, from ‘how to treat patients’ to ‘how to keep people healthy’, from a “reactive care” to a “proactive care”. CHIRON designed a system’s architecture making possible a “continuum of care” i.e. an integrated health management approach in which health is patient-centric at home, in the hospital and in nomadic environments. Care is moved from the hospital to the home and the healthcare staff is enlarged by adding informal carers to the medical professionals and by motivating and empowering the patient himself to manage his own health. Moreover the CHIRON system builds a personalized risk assessment of the patient by integrating personal information, data gathered at home and in a mobile environment through an innovative set of wearable sensors and data available at the hospital including outcomes of image-based tests. The expected results are a reduction of the healthcare costs and a better quality of care.
MICHELANGELO addresses a specific category of patients i.e. the autistic children; the aim is to use ICT to promote and facilitate the assessment of autism within the home setting, away from the traditional clinical environments and to provide personalized “home-based” intervention strategies. This is achieved through the provision of cost-effective, patient-centric home-based intervention remotely controlled by the therapist (remote rehabilitation). The proposed method aims at enhancing the effectiveness of the treatment through its “intensiveness” and “personalization” matching the individual characteristics of autistic children and the involvement of the parents in their “natural” home environment in the role of “co-therapists”.
Both projects offer interesting inputs on how Information and Communication Technology could help in “revolutionizing” healthcare. It is worthwhile to highlight that both projects keep the doctors at the core of the healthcare process and in both of them technology is not replacing the experience and the competences of the medical professionals and is not removing the needed physical contact between them and the patients but it supports the doctors in executing their tasks in a more effective and better way.
This chapter is split into two parts: in the first we will introduce the two projects mainly from a strategic perspective in line with the current efforts towards “radical changes” needed to cope with the heavy challenges the healthcare system is facing.
The second part gives a technological insight of the CHIRON project and shows how this project is deploying several of the concepts analyzed in the previous chapters of this book.
This part presents the architecture of an integrated continuous monitoring system for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) patients in nomadic settings developed under the ARTEMIS-JU CHIRON Project. The proposed sensor platform constitutes of commercially available subsystems effectively integrated into a single multi-sensor non-invasive wearable solution. To enable medical experts to assess the patient’s condition remotely, a number of analysis algorithm were developed and implemented into an Android application in order to provide the desired medical information. The key challenge in the development of these algorithmic solutions, was to balance the expected performance while maintaining a low level of power consumption, thus facilitating the continuous monitoring purpose of the system. Furthermore, a web-server based framework provides medical experts with an interactive analysis and monitoring interface and provides the infrastructure for storing the obtained data.
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