Telecare - balance training at home for the elderly
With the ageing of the population, the number of falls involving an elderly person is increasing. The result is a decrease in mobility and an increase in healthcare costs. Can innovation prevent this?
This project examined how a telecare application could be developed to enable healthcare providers to provide elderly people with remote support for balance training, based on an ice skating exergame. One of the outcomes was to develop an adaptable authorisation module to consider ethical and societal aspects. This module can also be used in other telecare systems. The researchers also developed a business case for this telecare application.
Telecare is remote medical care that can be provided by implementing information and communication technology in the healthcare sector. Patients are able to contact a healthcare provider using a secure Internet connection. Such telecare can take various forms, such as the remote monitoring of a patient’s physical condition, consultations and coaching.
This project had the following outcomes:
- One of the outcomes of considering values, such as privacy and autonomy, in the design phase was an adaptable authorisation module. This module was developed, and is available, as open source.
- The app makes human interaction possible between an elderly user and a coach. This is important, because these interactions partly determine the dependability of the technology and the trust that users have in it.
- The Social Return On Investment (SROI) method was used to develop the social business case. A comparison of the “vulnerable elderly” with “convalescing elderly” made it clear that it is the health insurance companies who benefit the most.
CGI would like to invest further in a telecare system in the form of an open platform on which other parties can also develop their own apps. The authorisation module developed in this project could also be included in this.
One comment made by the researchers as a result of this project is that the problem of “reduced mobility” should really be seen within the wider context of “ageing well”. This perspective could lead to a wider range of fall prevention solutions.
Researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines worked together in this project. As was discovered in this project, this is challenging, but it is also valuable and can be successful. For example, different researchers had different ideas about the field tests:
- the healthcare practitioners focused on the ethical aspects, in particular regarding approval by a medical ethical committee;
- the social scientists stressed the importance of reproducibility, objectivity and statistical analyses;
- the technology researchers regarded the field tests as part of the design process;
- the business researchers saw them as a test of market acceptance.
A lot of discussion took place to align these various perspectives and this resulted in a high level of cooperation, which benefitted the project enormously.
telecare, serious game, elderly, privacy, privacy, business case, social return on investment, fall prevention, healthy aging, mobility, balance exercisesOfficial project title: