The Second International Workshop on e-Health Services
and Technologies
 
 
July 7, 2008 - Porto, Portugal
 
in conjunction with the Third International Conference on Software and Data Technologies (ICSOFT 2008)
 
   
Co-chairs:  
Dimitri Konstantas
University of Geneva,
Switzerland
Boris Shishkov
University of Twente / IICREST,
The Netherlands
Background and Goals:

Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) provide increasingly powerful tools improving the delivery of basic services, as acknowledged by the United Nations Development Programme. Web-Service Technology (WST) is an example of these technologies. WST has emerged and successfully developed as an implementation of the Service-Oriented Architecture. All this rapidly developing technology has an impact on health and healthcare services. Advances in ICT are leading to a reduction in both the cost and size of sensors, monitors and other medical equipment. Advances in WST (in particular) are allowing for the development and use of powerful automated intelligent systems that adequately support healthcare processes. Relevant technological trends concern increasingly pervasive sensing networks, higher processing power and the ability to transfer data more quickly through both wired and wireless systems. We witness thus the emergence of a new technology-research-application-related area: the area of e-Health. Particularly driven by this (general) research focus, we are interested in the development and use of e-Health services as well as in their related technologies. Such services could actually be executed by ICT applications, being provided on a global scale, through distributed computing environments. e-Health services could hence bring tremendous support to medical doctors and nurses, by allowing them, for example, to realize 24-7 remote patient monitoring (vital-sign-monitoring), and this could make care-provisioning more accessible to broad societal circles – healthcare cost would go down if automated systems are substituted for human healthcare workers.

Hence, the Second International Workshop on e-Health Services and Technologies –EHST’08 fundamentally focuses on e-Health services and their related technology, with a particular stress on the modeling of complex technology-driven service-provisioning systems. In approaching e-Services though, we are mainly concerned with Tele-Monitoring and Tele-Treatment, as two essential directions of supporting healthcare through advanced technology. By Tele-Monitoring we mean the monitoring of the patient’s condition (including the monitoring of vital signs such as blood sugar and blood pressure), supported by technology systems. By Tele-Treatment we mean performing some forms of treatment from distance, for example through actuators.

These two research directions essentially concern the mobility aspect because both Tele-Monitoring and Tele-Treatment are realized from distance, through advanced mobile devices. Open questions however are reliability on mobile technology ‘any time any place’ and the operation of devices and batteries in ‘real’ conditions. The mentioned Mobility aspect points also to the desired capability of e-Health systems to adequately react on changes in their environment, referred to as context awareness. We acknowledge thus that technology-driven healthcare systems could only be really useful if they are context-aware. Finally, if putting together a number of e-Health facilities in the patient’s environment we could achieve powerful support, by providing the patient with a complex and constant healthcare service, while keeping him/her in his/her own environment. All these issues are connected (nevertheless) to important related concerns, such as security and privacy, since to provide powerful remote support patients would only make adequate value if patients’ data is treated in a secure and privacy-sensitive way.

The goal of EHST is therefore to address the fundamental modeling challenges related to e-Health Services and Technologies. The workshop aims at contributing to the dissemination of research results, and supporting in this way the wider applicability of advanced technology in healthcare.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Services for e-Health
- e-Service architectures
- e-Health process modelling
- Tele-Monitoring and Tele-Treatment
- Mobile healthcare
- (Context-aware) e-Health applications
- Smart patient surroundings
- Privacy and security in e-Health
 
Workshop Program Committee
Juan Carlos Augusto, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, United Kingdom
Isaac Barjis, City University of New York, U.S.A.
Dumitru Burdescu, University of Craiova, Romania
Joaquim Filipe, Polytechnic Institute of Setubal, Portugal
Aart van Halteren, Philips, The Netherlands
Dimitri Konstantas, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Dimitar Savov, Tokuda Hospital, Bulgaria
Boris Shishkov, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Marten van Sinderen, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Ing Widya, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Hailiang Mei, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Mayumi Oyama-Higa, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan
Manfred Reichert, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Mihail Konstantinov, UACEG, Bulgaria
Invited Keynote Lecturer

Dimitri Konstantas,
University of Geneva,
Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Geneva,
Switzerland

Title: Are m-Health Services Commercially Viable?

Brief Bio:
Dimitri Konstantas is Prof. and Vice-Dean at the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences of the University of Geneva (CH), department of Information Systems, heading the Advanced Systems Group (ASG). He was previously professor and Chair of the APS group at the University of Twente, assistant prof. at the University of Geneva and research collaborator at the Institute of Computer Science at FORTH (Crete, Greece). He has served as consultant to difference European companies, and acts as scientific expert for the European commission, the Dutch, Canadian and USA national research foundations, having also served as expert for the Greek, and Luxembourg governments. For the last 20 years, prof. Konstantas, is active in research in the areas of Object Oriented systems, agent technologies, Multimedia applications and e-commerce services, with numerous publications in international conferences, journals, books and book chapters and a long participation and leadership since 1985 in many European projects. Since 2002 his main research and work areas are mobile and wireless multimedia applications and services, including mobile health and location based services. Prof. Konstantas is member of the e-Mobility ETP, founding member of the ERCIM e-mobility WG, member of the Ericsson Think-Tank, as well as different scientific associations including IEEE and ACM.

Abstract:
The increasing medical care needs of patients combined with the evolution and availability of wireless communication networks and the ever-advancing miniaturization of sensor devices and computers, has given rise to new services and applications that can have a major impact on health care. Citizens, being patients or non-patients, are potentially able to not only get medical advice from a distance but also are able to send from any location full, detailed and accurate vital signal measurements, as if they had been taken to a medical centre. However, in spite the large investments in research and development, the availability of technologies, the enthusiasm of patients and care personnel, and the encouraging results of field trials, there is today no available large scale, concise commercial service offering mobile health monitoring. Furthermore it seems that today the relevant market players and stakeholders are slowing down in the development of mobile health services.
Several market barriers were identified during the MobiHealth and HealthService24 project, as well as during the subsequent commercialisation initiatives of the results. What was verified (once more!) is that the healthcare market is difficult to access, it is highly regulated, conservative and not very dynamic in embracing new technology, work methods or business models. In the case of telemedicine things are even worst since in most countries medical services are only reimbursed if there is face to face contact between the doctor/nurse and the patient and the insurance companies are very reluctant to reimburse new technologies without tangible proofs of savings. Furthermore, experience has shown that most projects in hospitals are stopped if they are not regularly reimbursed, and as a result telemedicine projects and services remain at the level of proof of concept and rarely become fully functioning services.
Other market barriers arise from the lack of health-political support. It is a very difficult and time consuming process for government to change the health related laws introducing new work methods covering new technological advances, since too many issues need to be taken into consideration, starting from the related costs, to the definition of the potential health hazards from wireless communication technology, covering medical data security hurdles as well as ethical and liability legal requirements.
Finally, one of the most important barriers comes from the fact that good technology solutions are not enough management of complex value chains and processes is necessary in order to introduce new proposed services successfully, both from economic and medical perspectives. Business models for mobile healthcare and accounting and billing models for network services need to evolve if technical innovations are to be exploited fully.
However, we believe that the mobile health technologies will eventually be adopted and become widely used in the next few years, as they follow the standard evolution cycle of any new technology and idea, passing from a high level of visibility and activities to disillusionment and then restarting having learned from past experience and having solved the related problems and issues.



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