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Overcoming The Challenges of Bringing Ict Solutions For Ageing Well From Research Projects To Everyday Use
Nowadays there are many funding schemes to support research and development of ICT solutions for aging well: from EU framework programs, to initiatives such AAL and EIT Health, to regional grants from national ministries of health and even municipalities. As the largest research institution in Slovenia, Jožef Stefan Institute has a long track record of successfully implemented research projects leading to a variety of solutions including a portable ECG monitor, a smart balance board, sensors and algorithms for activity recognition, real-time fall detection, stress detection, unobtrusive physiological monitoring, hospitalization prediction, personal health systems for chronic diseases, applications for nutrition monitoring, scheduling home care for the elderly, and more.
In the paper we will focus on three promising ICT solutions available at our institute: the Open platform for clinical nutrition with its tool for meal planning for groups in larger institutions such as elderly care facilities, a mobile application for self-management of congestive heart failure, and a tele-medicine device for isometric muscular asymmetry measurement enabling remote data analysis, rehabilitation and training program preparation. The development of these solutions has been supported by numerous research projects as well as private funds. We argue that taking additional steps to 1) systematically evaluate these solutions against challenges found in a region, 2) pilot the solutions to see their performance and usability in large real-world scenarios and living labs, and 3) include them in (trans)national strategies for ageing well will dramatically increase the impact of the contributions spent during their development. More often than not, these steps are missing and the solutions do not live up to their full potential.