Pervasive Computing for Hospital, Chronic, and Preventive Care
An emerging area of great impact and significance is the application of pervasive computing technologies in healthcare. Pervasive healthcare refers to the set of technologies designed to seamlessly integrate health education, interventions, and monitoring technology into our everyday lives, regardless of space and time. This approach can increase both the coverage and quality of care. Over the last decade, pervasive computing solutions for healthcare have become increasingly prevalent in both research and commercial efforts. This survey analyzes a variety of research projects and commercial solutions devoted to understanding, designing, and implementing pervasive healthcare applications in support of preventive care, hospital care, and chronic care. Taking into account the working conditions of clinicians and the needs of patients, pervasive computing offers a variety of attractive solutions for many of the challenges to care delivery in these domains. The work of clinicians is intrinsically tied to the physical domain of the patient, not to digital material available in computer systems; clinicians as well as other non-clinical caregivers continually switch between different caregiving contexts. Furthermore, their work is characterized by high mobility, ad hoc collaboration, and interruptions. At the same time, patients and family members frequently demonstrate poor adherence to both behavioral and pharmaceutical interventions and experience inadequate communication with those providing care. The use of health education to promote motivation, reinforcement, advice, and tools for capturing and tracking health information supporting self-monitoring can help patients to overcome these challenges. Pervasive computing offers solutions for clinicians, patients, and a variety of other caregivers to assist them with these problems including applications and mechanisms to: • ease the recording, tracking, and monitoring of health information; • allow communication, collaboration, and coordination among the varied stakeholders; • encourage clinical adherence and disease prevention; • support the nomadic work of clinicians and seamless integration of the physical and digital worlds; and • enable the development of novel medical devices. In this survey, we present an overview of the history of pervasive healthcare research as a human-centered vision driven by a healthcare model that includes preventive, hospital, and chronic care. We then summarize the research in this space, outlining research challenges, current approaches, results, and trends. Finally, we discuss future research directions as a springboard for new focus in pervasive healthcare. This survey is based on analysis of the literature as well as our own research experiences and those of many of our colleagues.