An Agent Middleware for Ubiquitous Computing in Healthcare
Healthcare environments are characterized by the need for coordination and collaboration among specialists with different areas of expertise, the integration of data from many devices or artifacts and the mobility of hospital staff, patients, documents, and equipment. Ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) enable us to meet these characteristics of medical environment. Ubiquitous computing environments are spaces where computational artifacts are invisible, become present whenever we need them, are adaptive to mobile users, can be enabled by simple and effortless interactions, and act autonomously to support users’ activities. We have proposed using software agents to implement these characteristics of a ubiquitous computing system with the aim of enhancing medical activities. Then, we created the SALSA middleware to facilitate the implementation of these agents for ubiquitous computing systems for healthcare environments. In our approach, autonomous agents can represent users, act as proxies to devices and information resources, or wrap a complex system functionality. The SALSA middleware enables developers to create autonomous agents that react to the contextual elements of the medical environment and that communicate with other agents, users and services available in the environment. We used the SALSA middleware for creating the Context-aware Hospital Information System. This chapter presents the SALSA middleware and how it facilitates the development of ubiquitous computing system for healthcare, in which the main systems components were conceived as autonomous agents.
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