An Open Platform for Seamless Sensor Support in Healthcare for the Internet of Things.Sensors (Basel). 2016 Dec 08; 16(12)S
Population aging and increasing pressure on health systems are two issues that demand solutions. Involving and empowering citizens as active managers of their health represents a desirable shift from the current culture mainly focused on treatment of disease, to one also focused on continuous health management and well-being. Current developments in technological areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), lead to new technological solutions that can aid this shift in the healthcare sector. This study presents the design, development, implementation and evaluation of a platform called Common Recognition and Identification Platform (CRIP), a part of the CareStore project, which aims at supporting caregivers and citizens to manage health routines in a seamless way. Specifically, the CRIP offers sensor-based support for seamless identification of users and health devices. A set of initial requirements was defined with a focus on usability limitations and current sensor technologies. The CRIP was designed and implemented using several technologies that enable seamless integration and interaction of sensors and people, namely Near Field Communication and fingerprint biometrics for identification and authentication, Bluetooth for communication with health devices and web services for wider integration with other platforms. Two CRIP prototypes were implemented and evaluated in laboratory during a period of eight months. The evaluations consisted of identifying users and devices, as well as seamlessly configure and acquire vital data from the last. Also, the entire Carestore platform was deployed in a nursing home where its usability was evaluated with caregivers. The evaluations helped assess that seamless identification of users and seamless configuration and communication with health devices is feasible and can help enable the IoT on healthcare applications. Therefore, the CRIP and similar platforms could be transformed into a valuable enabling technology for secure and reliable IoT deployments on the healthcare sector.