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Background: The ultimate ambient-intelligent care room contains numerous sensors and devices to monitor the patient, sense and adjust the environment and support the staff. This sensor-based approach results in a large amount of data, which can be processed by current and future applications, e.g., task management and alerting systems. Today, nurses are responsible for coordinating all these applications and supplied information, which reduces the added value and slows down the adoption rate. The aim of the presented research is the design of a pervasive and scalable framework that is able to optimize continuous care processes by intelligently reasoning on the large amount of heterogeneous care data. Methods: The developed Ontology-based Care Platform (OCarePlatform) consists of modular components that perform a specific reasoning task. Consequently, they can easily be replicated and distributed. Complex reasoning is achieved by combining the results of different components. To ensure that the components only receive information, which is of interest to them at that time, they are able to dynamically generate and register filter rules with a Semantic Communication Bus (SCB). This SCB semantically filters all the heterogeneous care data according to the registered rules by using a continuous care ontology. The SCB can be distributed and a cache can be employed to ensure scalability. Results: A prototype implementation is presented consisting of a new-generation nurse call system supported by a localization and a home automation component. The amount of data that is filtered and the performance of the SCB are evaluated by testing the prototype in a living lab. The delay introduced by processing the filter rules is negligible when 10 or fewer rules are registered. Conclusions: The OCarePlatform allows disseminating relevant care data for the different applications and additionally supports composing complex applications from a set of smaller independent components. This way, the platform significantly reduces the amount of information that needs to be processed by the nurses. The delay resulting from processing the filter rules is linear in the amount of rules. Distributed deployment of the SCB and using a cache allows further improvement of these performance results.
Ongenae, F., Famaey, J., Verstichel, S., De Zutter, S., Latré, S., Ackaert, A., … De Turck, F. (2014). Ambient-aware continuous care through semantic context dissemination. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6947-14-97
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