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Supporting elderly homecare with smartwatches: advantages and drawbacks

Published in Studies in health technology and informatics. 2014, vol. 205, p. 667-71
Abstract The demographic transition in industrialized countries leads to a growth of elderly population. This population is more prone to chronic diseases and puts an increasing pressure on the healthcare system. One way to reduce the cost associated to the support of this population is to improve its autonomy to keep it independent as long as possible. Many assistive technologies and environmental interventions can be implemented to achieve this goal. In this paper, we are looking at the advantages and drawbacks of smartwatches as a platform to support elderly at home. By doing a literature search and by performing expert interview, we have identified the advantages of this technology to insure the success of promising applications as well as the obstacles that should be gone beyond. Among the advantages, the ubiquity of smartwatches makes possible a continuous medical surveillance, harder to achieve with other devices. Moreover, the versatility of smartwatches provides an appropriate ground to implement a centralized platform providing multiples services facilitating elderly homecare. However, the physical constraints of the watches such as the tiny screen size, the small connectors and the limited power autonomy can be significant barriers to the adoption of these tools. In conclusion, beside the actual homecare system, improving the autonomy and the independence of elderly at home can be leveraged by a combination of environmental and assistive technologies. Smartwatches have definitively the potential to become close assistants to help elderly in their daily life. However, this will not be achieved without dedicating a significant effort in designing appropriate user interfaces and certainly dedicated hardware to respond to the constraints associated with potential physical and cognitive impairments.
Keywords Accidental Falls/prevention & controlComputers, HandheldEquipment DesignEquipment Failure AnalysisHome Care ServicesMonitoring, Ambulatory/instrumentation/methodsSelf Care/instrumentation/methodsTechnology Assessment, BiomedicalTelemedicine/instrumentation/methodsUser-Computer Interface
PMID: 25160270
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Article (Published version) (208 Kb) - public document Free access
Research group Interfaces Homme-machine en milieu clinique (610)
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EHRLER, Frédéric, LOVIS, Christian. Supporting elderly homecare with smartwatches: advantages and drawbacks. In: Studies in health technology and informatics, 2014, vol. 205, p. 667-71. doi: 10.3233/978-1-61499-432-9-667 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:73941

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Deposited on : 2015-07-07

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