The term palliative care refers to the care for patients with terminal conditions. Traditionally, much of this end-of-life care has been provided by hospices or acute care centres. As healthcare systems face aging patient demographics and struggle with the need to deliver quality services with fewer resources, we must find new approaches to healthcare delivery. Some of the more established areas of healthcare such as cardiac care or administration are rather advanced in terms of the application of information technologies such as clinical knowledge bases and computer-integrated service delivery models. In palliative care, partly due to its relatively recent emergence as a discipline, informatics has played only a minor role to date. In this paper, we argue that we can achieve cost reduction and increased quality of service by adopting network-enabled information systems (IS) and telematics to advance the boundaries of traditional palliative care towards the patient homes. This vision, called e-Hospice in this article, is not meant to replace but to augment the traditional brick and mortar hospices. We discuss our model of an e-Hospice along with the challenges and opportunities involved in realising it. Our experiences are based on our ongoing tight collaboration with a local hospice as well as our studies of prototype technology infrastructures we have developed in our laboratories. We present a concrete application scenario in this paper, along with a description of the underlying architecture and technologies that underlie the infrastructures developed.
- Home care
- Network-enabled information systems