Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 24

Healthcare Related Publications

24 Vision-Based Daily Routine Recognition for Healthcare with Transfer Learning

Authors: Yan Liu, Bruce X. B. Yu, Keith C. C. Chan

Abstract:

We propose to record Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) of elderly people using a vision-based system so as to provide better assistive and personalization technologies. Current ADL-related research is based on data collected with help from non-elderly subjects in laboratory environments and the activities performed are predetermined for the sole purpose of data collection. To obtain more realistic datasets for the application, we recorded ADLs for the elderly with data collected from real-world environment involving real elderly subjects. Motivated by the need to collect data for more effective research related to elderly care, we chose to collect data in the room of an elderly person. Specifically, we installed Kinect, a vision-based sensor on the ceiling, to capture the activities that the elderly subject performs in the morning every day. Based on the data, we identified 12 morning activities that the elderly person performs daily. To recognize these activities, we created a HARELCARE framework to investigate into the effectiveness of existing Human Activity Recognition (HAR) algorithms and propose the use of a transfer learning algorithm for HAR. We compared the performance, in terms of accuracy, and training progress. Although the collected dataset is relatively small, the proposed algorithm has a good potential to be applied to all daily routine activities for healthcare purposes such as evidence-based diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords: Healthcare, Transfer Learning, daily activity recognition, IoT sensors

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23 The Internet of Healthcare Things: A European Perspective and a Review of Ethical Concerns

Authors: M. Emmanouilidou

Abstract:

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a disruptive technological paradigm that is at the center of the digital evolution by integrating physical and virtual worlds leading to the creation of extended interconnected ecosystems that are characterized as smart environments. The concept of the IoT has a broad range of applications in different industries including the healthcare sector. The Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT), a branch of the IoT, is expected to bring promising benefits to all involved stakeholders and accelerate the revolution of the healthcare sector through a transition towards preventive and personalized medicine. The socio-economic challenges that the healthcare sector is facing further emphasize the need for a radical transformation of healthcare systems in both developed and developing countries with the role of pervasive technological innovations, such as IoHT, recognized as key to counteract the relevant challenges. Besides the number of potential opportunities that IoHT presents, there are fundamental ethical concerns that need to be considered and addressed in relation to the application of IoHT. This paper contributes to the discussion of the emerging topic of IoHT by providing an overview of the role and potential of IoHT, highlighting the characteristics of the current and future healthcare landscape, reporting on the up-to-date status of IoHT in Europe and reflecting upon existing research in the ethics of IoHT by incorporating additional ethical dimensions that have been ignored which can provide pathways for future research in the field.

Keywords: Internet of Things, Healthcare, Ethics, Europe

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22 Designing an Integrated Platform for Real-Time Recommendations Sharing among the Aged and People Living with Cancer

Authors: Pekka Toivanen, Adekunle O. Afolabi

Abstract:

The world is expected to experience growth in the number of ageing population, and this will bring about high cost of providing care for these valuable citizens. In addition, many of these live with chronic diseases that come with old age. Providing adequate care in the face of rising costs and dwindling personnel can be challenging. However, advances in technologies and emergence of the Internet of Things are providing a way to address these challenges while improving care giving. This study proposes the integration of recommendation systems into homecare to provide real-time recommendations for effective management of people receiving care at home and those living with chronic diseases. Using the simplified Training Logic Concept, stakeholders and requirements were identified. Specific requirements were gathered from people living with cancer. The solution designed has two components namely home and community, to enhance recommendations sharing for effective care giving. The community component of the design was implemented with the development of a mobile app called Recommendations Sharing Community for Aged and Chronically Ill People (ReSCAP). This component has illustrated the possibility of real-time recommendations, improved recommendations sharing among care receivers and between a physician and care receivers. Full implementation will increase access to health data for better care decision making.

Keywords: Internet of Things, Healthcare, Real-time, recommendation systems, Homecare

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21 A Pre-Assessment Questionnaire to Identify Healthcare Professionals’ Perception on Information Technology Implementation

Authors: Y. Atilgan Şengül

Abstract:

Health information technologies promise higher quality, safer care and much more for both patients and professionals. Despite their promise, they are costly to develop and difficult to implement. On the other hand, user acceptance and usage determine the success of implemented information technology in healthcare. This study provides a model to understand health professionals’ perception and expectation of health information technology. Extensive literature review has been conducted to determine the main factors to be measured. A questionnaire has been designed as a measurement model and submitted to the personnel of an in vitro fertilization clinic. The respondents’ degree of agreement according to five-point Likert scale was 72% for convenient access to data and 69.4% for the importance of data security. There was a significant difference in acceptance of electronic data storage for female respondents. Also, other significant differences between professions were obtained.

Keywords: Healthcare, Health Informatics, questionnaire, medical record system

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20 Towards Better Quality in Healthcare and Operations Management: A Developmental Literature Review

Authors: Towards Better Quality in Healthcare and Operations Management: A Developmental Literature Review

Abstract:

This work presents the various perspectives, dimensions, components and definitions given to quality in the operations management (OM) and healthcare services (HCS) literature in time, highlighting gaps and learning opportunities between the two disciplines through a thorough search into their rich and distinct body of knowledge. Greater and new insights about the general nature of quality are obtained with findings such as in OM, quality has been approached in six fairly distinct paradigms (excellence, value, conformity to specifications, attributes, satisfaction and meeting or exceeding customer expectations), whereas in HCS, two approaches are prominent (Donabedian’s structure, process and outcomes model and Lohr and Schroeder’s circumscribed definition). The two disciplines views on quality seem to have progressed much in parallel with little cross-learning from each other. This work then proposes an encompassing definition of quality as a lever and suggests further research and development avenues for a better use of the concept of quality by academics and practitioners alike toward the goals of greater organizational performance and improved management in healthcare and possibly other service domains.

Keywords: Management, Services, Healthcare, Operations, Quality

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19 An Immersive Serious Game for Firefighting and Evacuation Training in Healthcare Facilities

Authors: Anass Rahouti, Guillaume Salze, Ruggiero Lovreglio, Sélim Datoussaïd

Abstract:

In healthcare facilities, training the staff for firefighting and evacuation in real buildings is very challenging due to the presence of a vulnerable population in such an environment. In a standard environment, traditional approaches, such as fire drills, are often used to train the occupants and provide them with information about fire safety procedures. However, those traditional approaches may be inappropriate for a vulnerable population and can be inefficient from an educational viewpoint as it is impossible to expose the occupants to scenarios similar to a real emergency. Immersive serious games could be used as an alternative to traditional approaches to overcome their limitations. Serious games are already being used in different safety domains such as fires, earthquakes and terror attacks for several building types (e.g., office buildings, train stations, tunnels, etc.). In this study, we developed an immersive serious game to improve the fire safety skills of staff in healthcare facilities. An accurate representation of the healthcare environment was built in Unity3D by including visual and audio stimuli inspired from those employed in commercial action games. The serious game is organised in three levels. In each of them, the trainee is presented with a specific fire emergency and s/he can perform protective actions (e.g., firefighting, helping non-ambulant occupants, etc.) or s/he can ignore the opportunity for action and continue the evacuation. In this paper, we describe all the steps required to develop such a prototype, as well as the key questions that need to be answered, to develop a serious game for firefighting and evacuation in healthcare facilities.

Keywords: Healthcare, training, Fire Safety, serious game

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18 IOT Based Process Model for Heart Monitoring Process

Authors: Liyakathunisa Syed, Dalyah Y. Al-Jamal, Maryam H. Eshtaiwi

Abstract:

Connecting health services with technology has a huge demand as people health situations are becoming worse day by day. In fact, engaging new technologies such as Internet of Things (IOT) into the medical services can enhance the patient care services. Specifically, patients suffering from chronic diseases such as cardiac patients need a special care and monitoring. In reality, some efforts were previously taken to automate and improve the patient monitoring systems. However, the previous efforts have some limitations and lack the real-time feature needed for chronic kind of diseases. In this paper, an improved process model for patient monitoring system specialized for cardiac patients is presented. A survey was distributed and interviews were conducted to gather the needed requirements to improve the cardiac patient monitoring system. Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) language was used to model the proposed process. In fact, the proposed system uses the IOT Technology to assist doctors to remotely monitor and follow-up with their heart patients in real-time. In order to validate the effectiveness of the proposed solution, simulation analysis was performed using Bizagi Modeler tool. Analysis results show performance improvements in the heart monitoring process. For the future, authors suggest enhancing the proposed system to cover all the chronic diseases.

Keywords: Telemedicine, Internet of Things, Healthcare, Heart Monitoring, Wearable Sensors, process model, remote patient monitoring system, Business process model and notation, cardiac patient, cardiac monitoring

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17 High-Value Health System for All: Technologies for Promoting Health Education and Awareness

Authors: M. P. Sebastian

Abstract:

Health for all is considered as a sign of well-being and inclusive growth. New healthcare technologies are contributing to the quality of human lives by promoting health education and awareness, leading to the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of the symptoms of diseases. Healthcare technologies have now migrated from the medical and institutionalized settings to the home and everyday life. This paper explores these new technologies and investigates how they contribute to health education and awareness, promoting the objective of high-value health system for all. The methodology used for the research is literature review. The paper also discusses the opportunities and challenges with futuristic healthcare technologies. The combined advances in genomics medicine, wearables and the IoT with enhanced data collection in electronic health record (EHR) systems, environmental sensors, and mobile device applications can contribute in a big way to high-value health system for all. The promise by these technologies includes reduced total cost of healthcare, reduced incidence of medical diagnosis errors, and reduced treatment variability. The major barriers to adoption include concerns with security, privacy, and integrity of healthcare data, regulation and compliance issues, service reliability, interoperability and portability of data, and user friendliness and convenience of these technologies.

Keywords: Education, Healthcare, ICT, technologies, patients, Bigdata

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16 Impact of Flexibility on Patient Satisfaction and Behavioral Intention: A Critical Reassessment and Model Development

Authors: Pradeep Kumar, Sasadhar Bera, Shibashish Chakraborty

Abstract:

In the anticipation of demand fluctuations, services cannot be inventoried and hence it creates a difficult problem in marketing of services. The inability to meet customers (patients) requirements in healthcare context has more serious consequences than other service sectors. In order to meet patient requirements in the current uncertain environment, healthcare organizations are seeking ways for improved service delivery. Flexibility provides a mechanism for reducing variability in service encounters and improved performance. Flexibility is defined as the ability of the organization to cope with changing circumstances or instability caused by the environment. Patient satisfaction is an important performance outcome of healthcare organizations. However, the paucity of information exists in healthcare delivery context to examine the impact of flexibility on patient satisfaction and behavioral intention. The present study is an attempt to develop a conceptual foundation for investigating overall impact of flexibility on patient satisfaction and behavioral intention. Several dimensions of flexibility in healthcare context are examined and proposed to have a significant impact on patient satisfaction and intention. Furthermore, the study involves a critical examination of determinants of patient satisfaction and development of a comprehensive view the relationship between flexibility, patient satisfaction and behavioral intention. Finally, theoretical contributions and implications for healthcare professionals are suggested from flexibility perspective.

Keywords: Healthcare, Flexibility, behavioral intention, patient satisfaction

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15 Co-payment Strategies for Chronic Medications: A Qualitative and Comparative Analysis at European Level

Authors: Pedro M. Abreu, Bruno R. Mendes

Abstract:

The management of pharmacotherapy and the process of dispensing medicines is becoming critical in clinical pharmacy due to the increase of incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases, the complexity and customization of therapeutic regimens, the introduction of innovative and more expensive medicines, the unbalanced relation between expenditure and revenue as well as due to the lack of rationalization associated with medication use. For these reasons, co-payments emerged in Europe in the 70s and have been applied over the past few years in healthcare. Co-payments lead to a rationing and rationalization of user’s access under healthcare services and products, and simultaneously, to a qualification and improvement of the services and products for the end-user. This analysis, under hospital practices particularly and co-payment strategies in general, was carried out on all the European regions and identified four reference countries, that apply repeatedly this tool and with different approaches. The structure, content and adaptation of European co-payments were analyzed through 7 qualitative attributes and 19 performance indicators, and the results expressed in a scorecard, allowing to conclude that the German models (total score of 68,2% and 63,6% in both elected co-payments) can collect more compliance and effectiveness, the English models (total score of 50%) can be more accessible, and the French models (total score of 50%) can be more adequate to the socio-economic and legal framework. Other European models did not show the same quality and/or performance, so were not taken as a standard in the future design of co-payments strategies. In this sense, we can see in the co-payments a strategy not only to moderate the consumption of healthcare products and services, but especially to improve them, as well as a strategy to increment the value that the end-user assigns to these services and products, such as medicines.

Keywords: Healthcare, Clinical Pharmacy, Medicines, co-payments

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14 Health Expenditure and its Place in Economy: The Case of Turkey

Authors: Orhan Çoban, Ayşe Coban, Haldun Soydal, Sükrü Sürücü

Abstract:

While health is a source of prosperity for individuals, it is also one of the most important determinants of economic growth for a country. Health, by increasing the productivity of labor, contributes to economic growth. Therefore, countries should give the necessary emphasis to health services. The primary aim of this study is to analyze the changes occurring in health services in Turkey by examining the developments in the sector. In this scope, the second aim of the study is to reveal the place of health expenditures in the Turkish economy. As a result of the analysis in the dataset, in which the 1999-2013 periods is considered, it was determined that some increase in health expenditures took place and that the increase in the share of health expenditures in GDP was too small. Furthermore, analysis of the results points out that in financing health expenditures, the public sector is prominent compared to the private sector.

Keywords: Healthcare, Turkey, Health Service, health expenditures

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13 Use of Cloud Computing and Smart Devices in Healthcare

Authors: Nikunj Agarwal, M. P. Sebastian

Abstract:

Cloud computing can reduce the start-up expenses of implementing EHR (Electronic Health Records). However, many of the healthcare institutions are yet to implement cloud computing due to the associated privacy and security issues. In this paper, we analyze the challenges and opportunities of implementing cloud computing in healthcare. We also analyze data of over 5000 US hospitals that use Telemedicine applications. This analysis helps to understand the importance of smart phones over the desktop systems in different departments of the healthcare institutions. The wide usage of smartphones and cloud computing allows ubiquitous and affordable access to the health data by authorized persons, including patients and doctors. Cloud computing will prove to be beneficial to a majority of the departments in healthcare. Through this analysis, we attempt to understand the different healthcare departments that may benefit significantly from the implementation of cloud computing.

Keywords: Telemedicine, Cloud Computing, Healthcare, smart devices

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12 A Case Study of Al-Shifa: A Healthcare Information System in Oman

Authors: Khamis Al-Gharbi, Said M. Gattoufi, Ali H. Al-Badi, Ali Al-Hashmi

Abstract:

The case study presents the progression of a project management of Al-Shifa, a healthcare information system in Oman. The case study describes the evolution of the implementation of a healthcare information system tailored to meet the needs of the healthcare units under the supervision of the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Oman. A focus group methodology was used for collecting the relevant information from the main project's stakeholders. In addition reports about the project made available for the researchers. The case analysis is made based on the Project Management approach developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The main finding that there was no formal project management approach adopted by the MOH for the development and implementation of the herewith mentioned healthcare information system project. Furthermore, the project had suffered a scope creep in terms of features, cost and time-schedule. The recommendations of the authors, for the rescue of the project from its current dilemma, consist of technological, administrative and human resources development actions.

Keywords: Healthcare, Project Management, Information System, oman, Al-Shifa

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11 Leadership Competences: The Case of Slovenian Healthcare

Authors: Helena Kovačič, Andrej Rus

Abstract:

The authors of this paper compared ratings for leadership competences of managers in the healthcare sector and professional managers in Slovenia. Managers’ competence scores were analyzed for Slovenia and compared with some other EU countries. Comparisons of correlations yielded significant differences in leader/non-leader healthcare professionals in their relational competences. Cross-cultural comparisons also point to these differences in many countries included in the survey. Comparing these managers with the professional managers, one of the relational competences significantly distinguishes the two groups, namely the competence of taking initiative in establishing contacts with experts outside the organization. What is surprising from our analysis is the high number of competences that significantly differentiate leaders in healthcare from professional managers. Empirically based assessment provided a robust method for assessing and comparing leadership competences and point out significant results for leadership development.

Keywords: Leadership, Healthcare, competences

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10 Surgical Theater Utilization and PACU Staffing

Authors: Abdulrahim Shamayleh

Abstract:

In this work, the surgical theater of a local hospital in KSA was analyzed using simulation. The focus was on attempting to answer questions related to how many Operating Rooms (ORs) to open and to analyze the performance of the surgical theater in general and mainly the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) to assist making decisions regarding PACU staffing. The surgical theater consists of ten operating rooms and the PACU unit which has a maximum capacity of fifteen beds. Different sequencing rules to sequence the surgical cases were tested and the Longest Case First (LCF) were superior to others. The results of the different alternatives developed and tested can be used by the manager as a tool to plan and manage the OR and PACU

Keywords: Healthcare, Sequencing, operating Room, post anesthesia care unit, PACUstaffing

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9 Reducing Stock-out Incidents at a Hospital Using Six Sigma

Authors: Lina Al-Qatawneh, Abdallah Abdallah, Salam Zalloum

Abstract:

In managing healthcare logistics, cost is not the only factor to be considered. The level of items- criticality used in patient care services plays an important role as well. A stock-out incident of a high critical item could threaten a patient's life. In this paper, the DMAIC (Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control) methodology is used to drive improvement projects based on customer driven critical to quality characteristics at a Jordanian hospital. This paper shows how the application of Six Sigma improves the performance of the case hospital logistics system by reducing the number of stock-out incidents.

Keywords: Logistics, Healthcare, Criticality level, and Six Sigma

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8 The Use of Information for Inventory Decision in the Healthcare Industry

Authors: H. L. Chan, T. M. Choi, C. L. Hui, S. F. Ng

Abstract:

In this study, we explore the use of information for inventory decision in the healthcare organization (HO). We consider the scenario when the HO can make use of the information collected from some correlated products to enhance its inventory planning. Motivated by our real world observations that HOs adopt RFID and bar-coding system for information collection purpose, we examine the effectiveness of these systems for inventory planning with Bayesian information updating. We derive the optimal ordering decision and study the issue of Pareto improvement in the supply chain. Our analysis demonstrates that RFID system will outperform the bar-coding system when the RFID system installation cost and the tag cost reduce to a level that is comparable with that of the barcoding system. We also show how an appropriately set wholesale pricing contract can achieve Pareto improvement in the HO supply chain.

Keywords: Healthcare, Inventory Management, Efficient consumer response program, RFID system, bar-coding system

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7 Improving Patients Discharge Process in Hospitals by using Six Sigma Approach

Authors: Mahmoud A. El-Banna

Abstract:

The need to increase the efficiency of health care systems is becoming an obligation, and one of area of improvement is the discharge process. The objective of this work is to minimize the patients discharge time (for insured patients) to be less than 50 minutes by using six sigma approach, this improvement will also: lead to an increase in customer satisfaction, increase the number of admissions and turnover on the rooms, increase hospital profitability.Three different departments were considered in this study: Female, Male, and Paediatrics. Six Sigma approach coupled with simulation has been applied to reduce the patients discharge time for pediatrics, female, and male departments at hospital. Upon applying these recommendations at hospital: 60%, 80%, and 22% of insured female, male, and pediatrics patients respectively will have discharge time less than the upper specification time i.e. 50 min.

Keywords: Simulation, Healthcare, Six Sigma, hospitals, Process Improvement, patients, Discharge Time

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6 The Impact of Occupational Stress on Quality of Work Life among the Staff of e-Workspace

Authors: Fatemeh Zare, Alireza Bolhari, Ali Rezaeean, Jafar Bolhari

Abstract:

With the advent of new technologies, factors related to mental health in e-workspaces are taken into consideration more than ever. Studies have revealed that one of the factors affecting the productivity of employees in an organization is occupational stress. Another influential factor is quality of work life which is important in the improvement of work environment conditions and organizational efficiency. In order to uncover the quality of work life level and to investigate the impact of occupational stress on quality of work life among information technology employees in Iran, a cross-sectional study design was applied and data were gathered using a questionnaire validated by a group of experts. The results of the study showed that information technology staffs have average level of both occupational stress and quality of work life. Furthermore, it was found that occupational stress has a negative impact on quality of work life. In addition, the same results were observed for role ambiguity, role conflict, role under-load, work-pace, work repetitiveness and tension toward quality of work life. No significant relation was found between role overload and quality of work life. Finally, directions for future research are proposed and discussed.

Keywords: Information Technology, Healthcare, Occupational Stress, quality of work life, e-Workspace, IT Staff

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5 A Digital Media e-Learning Training Strategy for Healthcare Employees: Cost effective Distance Learning by Collaborative offline / online Engagement and Assessment

Authors: Lynn. J. MacFarlane. A

Abstract:

Within the healthcare system, training and continued professional development although essential, can be effected by cost and logistical restraints due to the nature of healthcare provision e.g employee shift patterns, access to expertise, cost factors in releasing staff to attend training etc. The use of multimedia technology for the development of e-learning applications is also a major cost consideration for healthcare management staff, and this type of media whether optical or on line requires careful planning in order to remain inclusive of all staff with potentially varied access to multimedia computing. This paper discusses a project in which the use of DVD authoring technology has been successfully implemented to meet the needs of distance learning and user considerations, and is based on film production techniques and reduced product turnaround deadlines.

Keywords: Healthcare, Distance Learning, Cost, DVD

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4 A Multimedia Telemonitoring Network for Healthcare

Authors: Hariton N. Costin, Sorin Puscoci, Cristian Rotariu, Bogdan Dionisie, Marinela C. Cimpoesu

Abstract:

TELMES project aims to develop a securized multimedia system devoted to medical consultation teleservices. It will be finalized with a pilot system for a regional telecenters network that connects local telecenters, having as support multimedia platforms. This network will enable the implementation of complex medical teleservices (teleconsulations, telemonitoring, homecare, urgency medicine, etc.) for a broader range of patients and medical professionals, mainly for family doctors and those people living in rural or isolated regions. Thus, a multimedia, scalable network, based on modern IT&C paradigms, will result. It will gather two inter-connected regional telecenters, in Iaşi and Piteşti, Romania, each of them also permitting local connections of hospitals, diagnostic and treatment centers, as well as local networks of family doctors, patients, even educational entities. As communications infrastructure, we aim to develop a combined fixmobile- internet (broadband) links. Other possible communication environments will be GSM/GPRS/3G and radio waves. The electrocardiogram (ECG) acquisition, internet transmission and local analysis, using embedded technologies, was already successfully done for patients- telemonitoring.

Keywords: Telemedicine, Healthcare, telemonitoring, ECG analysis

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3 E-health in Rural Areas: Case of Developing Countries

Authors: Stella Ouma, M. E. Herselman

Abstract:

The Application of e-health solutions has brought superb advancements in the health care industry. E-health solutions have already been embraced in the industrialized countries. In an effort to catch up with the growth, the developing countries have strived to revolutionize the healthcare industry by use of Information technology in different ways. Based on a technology assessment carried out in Kenya – one of the developing countries – and using multiple case studies in Nyanza Province, this work focuses on an investigation on how five rural hospitals are adapting to the technology shift. The issues examined include the ICT infrastructure and e-health technologies in place, the knowledge of participants in terms of benefits gained through the use of ICT and the challenges posing barriers to the use of ICT technologies in these hospitals. The results reveal that the ICT infrastructure in place is inadequate for e-health implementations as a result to various challenges that exist. Consequently, suggestions on how to tackle the various challenges have been addressed in this paper.

Keywords: e-Health, Challenges, Healthcare, rural areas, Information Communication Technology

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2 Is Management Science doing Enough to Improve Healthcare?

Authors: Lalit Garg, Sally McClean, Maria Barton

Abstract:

Healthcare issues continue to pose huge problems and incur massive costs. As a result there are many challenging problems still unresolved. In this paper, we will carry out an extensive scientific survey of different areas of management and planning in an attempt to identify where there has already been a substantial contribution from management science methods to healthcare problems and where there is a clear potential for more work to be done. The focus will be on the read-across to the healthcare domain from such approaches applied generally to management and planning and how the methods can be used to improvement patient care. We conclude that, since the healthcare domain significantly differs from traditional areas of management and planning, in some cases there is a need to modify the approaches so as to incorporate the complexities of healthcare, and fully exploit the potential for improvement.

Keywords: Healthcare, Management Science, management and planning, transforming services

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1 To Design Holistic Health Service Systems on the Internet

Authors: Åsa Smedberg

Abstract:

There are different kinds of online systems on the Internet for people who need support and develop new knowledge. Online communities and Ask the Expert systems are two such systems. In the health care area, the number of users of these systems has increased at a rapid pace. Interactions with medical trained experts take place online, and people with concerns about similar health problems come together to share experiences and advice. The systems are also used as storages and browsed for health information. Over the years, studies have been conducted of the usage of the different systems. However, in what ways the systems can be used together to enhance learning has not been explored. This paper presents results from a study of online health-communities and an Ask the Expert system for people who suffer from overweight. Differences and similarities in regards to posted issues and replies are discussed, and suggestions for a new holistic design of the two systems are presented.

Keywords: Learning, Healthcare, Overweight, Online Community, holistic, Ask the Expert

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