The OCarePlatform : a context-aware system to support independent living


Background: Currently, healthcare services, such as institutional care facilities, are burdened with an increasing number of elderly people and individuals with chronic illnesses and a decreasing number of competent caregivers. Objectives: To relieve the burden on healthcare services, independent living at home could be facilitated, by offering individuals and their (in)formal caregivers support in their daily care and needs. With the rise of pervasive healthcare, new information technology solutions can assist elderly people ("residents") and their caregivers to allow residents to live independently for as long as possible. Methods: To this end, the OCarePlatform system was designed. This semantic, data-driven and cloud based back-end system facilitates independent living by offering information and knowledge-based services to the resident and his/her (in)formal caregivers. Data and context information are gathered to realize context-aware and personalized services and to support residents in meeting their daily needs. This body of data, originating from heterogeneous data and information sources, is sent to personalized services, where is fused, thus creating an overview of the resident’s current situation. Results: The architecture of the OCarePlatform is proposed, which is based on a service-oriented approach, together with its different components and their interactions. The implementation details are presented, together with a running example. A scalability and performance study of the OCarePlatform was performed. The results indicate that the OCarePlatform is able to support a realistic working environment and respond to a trigger in less than 5 seconds. The system is highly dependent on the allocated memory. Conclusion: The data-driven character of the OCarePlatform facilitates easy plug-in of new functionality, enabling the design of personalized, context-aware services. The OCarePlatform leads to better support for elderly people and individuals with chronic illnesses, who live independently. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.