ICT for elderly health and independent living opportunities & challenges
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201403151203
|Publish Date:|| 2014-03-17
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis
Introduction: Digital technologies are increasingly being used to assist older people to live more independently and better lives. The rapid increase in ageing population requires and enforces the development of adaptive technological products and services to improve the quality of life for the elderly. ICT has a huge impact on healthcare from both perspectives of delivering and providing accessibility to healthcare for elderly living independently at homes. The usability issues remain major concern for older adults as a challenge in adopting ICT solutions and services. The purpose of this study was to analyse the importance, role and impacts of ICT on elderly health, identify challenges in slow adoption of solutions and to develop a framework for better interfaces that meets the diverse requirements of older adults due to differences in physical and cognitive abilities.
Methodology: This research work presented the results of an interpretative research process that was applied to conduct literature review on relevant literature. The research work analysed the role and importance of using information and communication technology to support integrated healthcare services and independent living for the elderly population in remote, sparsely populated areas. The research work identified the importance of e-health, ambient intelligence, telemedicine, ubiquitous computing and smart homes in today’s digital world. The major constraints and challenges faced by older adults in using ICT effectively in the health sector was studied and a user adaptive interface was proposed as a solution to overcome some challenges faced by developers in developing health applications. To incorporate diverse user requirements, inclusive requirement design (for mobile interface) and universal design were discussed in the research work.
Results: The main conclusions are that ICT offers lots of potentials to support independent and healthy living for older adults. Several applications and tools already exist, however they are not user friendly and convenient for older adults. The technology has changed the paradigm of health care from general health care to self-care and prevention. Mobile, interactive TV, interactive games and Internet are utilized to improve cognitive, functional and social skills of older people. Usability problems seem to be the major issue for older people in adopting the latest technology and successfully interacting with them. The age related cognitive abilities have a huge relevance on system design especially for older people. To incorporate the diverse needs of older adults for the purpose of developing universal design is challenging to developers. User adaptive interface and inclusive requirement design model are suitable to develop more user-friendly applications and technology for older adults. Several social and legal issues are encountered when deploying health care systems. The benefits offered by technologies should be balanced with the privacy concerns of the user by utilizing strong policies for medical record storage, access and mining process. Encrypted databases, role based access control and proper authentication mechanism can be implemented to ensure privacy of patients.
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