Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 24-6 - 42

a dedicated algorithm can determine the health condition of
the occupants and the activities they are carrying out. However,
few fundamental differences exist between these two
types of applications. Smart home applications have the
possibility to work only in a local environment without exchanging
data outside the home. Despite the fact that many
smart home systems normally employ cloud and remote
servers also for remote control and surveillance, they can be
considered self-sufficient. Differently, healthcare systems
necessarily require the transmission of the data collected
inside the home to external parties, such as relatives and
professional caregivers. Otherwise, no intervention or investigation
can be carried out. Therefore, healthcare applications
require an external support infrastructure for their proper
operation. Fig. 3 shows the typical structure required by a remote
healthcare application.
Data acquired in the home, independently from where they
are processed, are transmitted to dedicated servers and cloud
infrastructure which, after collecting them, dispatches notifications
and physiological data to doctors and caregivers who
have to monitor the health conditions of the patient. Therefore,
healthcare applications require the cooperation among
hardware and software systems, healthcare institutions and
caregivers. Such a level of cooperation is still not available in
several areas.
Moreover, the acquired data, which are related to the patient's
activities, habits and health status, are transmitted to
external subjects, and this creates several problems related to
the privacy and security of the monitored people. Therefore,
such systems should be designed to guarantee data security
and avoid any acquired data being disclosed to unauthorized
people.
Conclusions
Healthcare cognitive and well-being assessment is a valid
technique for supporting and assisting elderly and mildly-impaired
people without limiting their independence and their
daily activities. The advancements in electronics and communications
are rapidly creating new low-cost technologies
which can be successfully employed for implementing such
kinds of applications. Nevertheless, different issues still limit
the actual diffusion of these applications.
As a matter of fact, privacy and data security issues, together
with the natural opposition old people might exhibit
towards innovation and pervasive invasive systems, are
surely important limiting problems for the diffusion of such
applications. However, they are not the most relevant. In particular,
the absence of infrastructures on a national scale for
supporting the cooperation among service providers and caregivers
is a serious limitation. Lastly, it should be considered
that these systems can seriously affect both health and life of
the patients. Therefore, they should be reliable and effective in
their operation, and they should provide accurate and trustable
data. As a result, there are several critical validation steps
that should be carried out before such complex systems can be
safely applied in real-life applications.
Fig. 3. Organization scheme for a typical well-being assessment system.
42
IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine
September 2021

Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 24-6

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