Innovation in health care resulted in increasing life expectancy in our society. In parallel, the number of chronic illnesses and vulnerable elderly also increases, leading to more admissions to hospital. After treatment, people will stay some more days in hospital to recover and are then expected to return home for further rehabilitation. This process brings extra burden to scarce healthcare professionals and ever increasing costs for society. Innovative solutions are needed to handle this.
How can technology help to cope with the above described negative consequences of a positive trend? Could it be possible to develop technology to support (elderly) people when they need medical treatment? Help people to understand what is going to happen when this process of ‘hospitalization’ is inevitable. Support them with information and suggestions how to prepare, without bringing extra burden to primary and secondary healthcare professionals. And then after their treatment, support them to recover faster and get well at home with support of their family, friends and other informal care givers.
Can we even expect such technology to help to regain control over their life style and health and improve their health-related self-management skills? Could Artificial Intelligence and innovative (big) data processing be helpful to develop assistive devices for elderly people and would such a development be acceptable in our society?
One goal would be to improve the patients’ self-efficacy with regard to self-managing their disease. In the long run this would reduce the probability of new hospital admissions. One important aspect to take into account is the often limited (e)health literacy.