Selected Articles from IEEE Xplore - April 2016

Introduction by Dr. Agusti Solanas, Smart Health Research Group, Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain

The relationship of the healthcare sector with information and communication technologies (ICT) is a long story of love and hate. Many practitioners and managers agree on the advantages of using ICT, namely faster diagnostics, better management of resources, reliable monitoring of patients and outpatients, and so on. However, detractors argue against it by pointing their fingers at the low maturity of some technologies, with their lack of standardisation and interoperability, and their overall deployment and maintenance burden. Both sides have their points and the battle between detractors and advocates revives with every new technology that comes on the scene.

The revolution that started with the adoption of ICT within the healthcare sector gave birth to the concept of electronic health [1]. Next, the generalisation of mobile devices led to the appearance of mobile health [2] and opened the door to a more personalized and ubiquitous idea of healthcare. However, in opposition to the controlled environments found in hospitals and homes, mobile health must face the difficulties of operating in changing environments and diverse contexts. Thus, the next step was the introduction of context-aware, smart health [3], which aims at augmenting mobile health with context information gathered by distributed and interconnected sensors and devices.

The Internet of Things (IoT), with the enormous potential of billions of connected devices, promises to introduce fundamental changes in the healthcare sector by transforming the traditional concept of healthcare into a personalised, patient-centric, context-aware, smart healthcare. Many technologies are already in place, however, there is still much room for improvement so as to make them really standard, interoperable, scalable, cheap, and efficient.

Again, the battle between detractors and advocates will be ferocious. Researchers and practitioners in engineering and healthcare communities have to face a bewilderingly complex scenario where challenges are formidable and opportunities tempting. Now it is the right time to make good decisions and pave the way for a real, personalised, interconnected, context-aware, smart healthcare for years to come.


[1] G. Eysenbach, “What Is e-Health?” J. Medical Internet Research, vol. 3, no. 2, Apr-June 2001, p. 20.

[2] R. Istepanian, S. Laxminarayan, and C. S. Pattichis, “Preface,” M-Health: Emerging Mobile Health Systems, Topics in Biomedical Engineering, Int’l. Book Series, Springer, 2006.

[3] A. Solanas et al. "Smart health: A context-aware health paradigm within smart cities," IEEE Com. Magazine 52(8): 74-81 (2014)


IEEE Xplore References

  1. T. Gong, H. Huang, P. Li, K. Zhang and H. Jiang, "A Medical Healthcare System for Privacy Protection Based on IoT," Parallel Architectures, Algorithms and Programming (PAAP), 2015 Seventh International Symposium on, Nanjing, 2015, pp. 217-222.
  2. M. S. D. Gupta, V. Patchava and V. Menezes, "Healthcare based on IoT using Raspberry Pi," Green Computing and Internet of Things (ICGCIoT), 2015 International Conference on, Noida, 2015, pp. 796-799.
  3. F. Fernandez and G. C. Pallis, "Opportunities and challenges of the Internet of Things for healthcare: Systems engineering perspective," Wireless Mobile Communication and Healthcare (Mobihealth), 2014 EAI 4th International Conference on, Athens, 2014, pp. 263-266.


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