Towards Ubiquitous and Pervasive Healthcare

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Advanced Methods and Applications in Computational Intelligence, 2014, 1, pp. 387 - 404
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In recent years, Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) have attracted a considerable attention from both academia and industry. There is a number of possible applications and great expectations, but at the same time there are some serious issues and challenges related to Wireless Sensor Networks. One of the areas of WSN applications is healthcare and there are a number of health related issues that WSN aims to address. Amongst the main such issues are: the aging population that causes a growing pressure on economy and the healthcare system supported by a declining number of working-age people as well as an increase in chronic diseases, which includes obesity frequently attributed to a lack of fitness and weight management due to busy lifestyles. Staying physically and mentally healthy is of the greatest importance to every individual and to the society. There is a growing interest in a new approaches to the support of the overstressed healthcare system. The fundamental concept is to shift some of the responsibilities from the clinicians, health centres and hospitals of the traditional system to the patients and their home environment. People themselves are able and should play a greater role in monitoring and maintaining their own health, provided that they are supported by an adequate technology and have a proper knowledge of how to use it. There are already a number of applications of computing and communication technologies related to healthcare including (but not limited to) the pervasive health monitoring, mobile telemedicine applications, the intelligent emergency management services, health aware mobile devices, the medical inventory management, the pervasive access to health information and the lifestyle management . In this chapter, we discuss a several of new generation of services and applications in the area of pervasive and ubiquitous healthcare that are enabled by sensor networks. We shall provide an overview of the new trends and introduce innovative ideas around the self-adapting ambient intelligence combined with specialised system requirements.
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