Context-aware Process and User Interface Adaptation in eHealth Applications - The LoCa Approach

Nadine Fröhlich, Andreas Meier, Thorsten Möller, Heiko Schuldt, Joël Vogt
Book Chapter
Appears in
Health Informatics:An Adaptive Communication Technology for Future Healthcare
Nova Science Publishers
Mobile devices are becoming more and more popular in a large variety of application domains. In particular, new sensor technologies, powerful mobile devices, and wearable computers in conjunction with wireless communication standards have opened new opportunities in providing customized software solutions. This is particularly relevant in eHealth applications, from pervasive information access in hospital environments to the individual support of patients, both in stationary and home care. Medical professionals are equipped today with much more powerful hardware and software than some years before. By making use of smart sensors and mobile devices for gathering, processing, and analyzing data, medical doctors and nursing staff are able to get access to relevant information (e.g., patient records) anytime and anywhere in a hospital. Similarly, for patients this technology can be used to provide support which is tailored to their particular needs and impairments. All these environments are highly dynamic, due to the inherent mobility of users. Therefore, in order to best serve the individual information needs of the different users in eHealth applications, it is of utmost importance to automatically adapt the underlying IT environment to their context – which might change over time when user context evolves. In a digital home environment, this requires the automatic customization of user interfaces and the context-aware adaptation of monitoring workflows for mobile patients. In a hospital environment, such dynamic adaptations will for instance help physicians to automatically retrieve and present the data they need in their current context, without having them to manually search for relevant information (e.g., on a ward round or in an emergency case). This chapter will give an overview on context-awareness in mobile environments with particular focus on eHealth applications and the special requirements of users in healthcare applications. It will introduce LoCa (a Location and Context-aware eHealth infrastructure), a concrete system that provides a generic software infrastructure,  able to dynamically adapt user interfaces and service-based distributed applications (workflows) to the actual context of a user (physician, caregiver, patient, etc.). Furthermore, the chapter will report on the evaluation of the LoCa system based on a prototype system  running on smart phones.