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SOA as a basic infrastructure for Pervasive Computing in Healthcare – Part 1

Last year the european Union started a project which aims to develop the hospital bed of the future.


which aims to develop a hospital bed capable of assessing a patient’s heart rate, sleep quality, temperature, and a number of other criteria. All this is to be done passively by the bed without the need to explicitly wire up the patient.

Vital signs such as heart rate, sleep quality and body temperature are automatically assessed and forwarded to information systems. In the university hospital in Jena, drugs are being tracked and matched throughout the organization in real-time. In other European hospitals patients, assets and even babies are being tracked.

The Internet of Things is insidiously but surely entering the european hospital market. Eventually every physical object will become intelligent and can be used within the hospital network. Computer science defines ubiquitous or pervasive computing as a post-desktop model of human-computer interaction in which information processing has been thoroughly integrated into everyday objects and activities.


A study conducted by a leading Swiss consulting firm has shown that junior doctors spent less than 30% of their time working directly with patients. Managerial Information Systems that actually are being implemented improve overall performance of the organization but also result in additional data-entry efforts for health professionals such as doctors and nurses. If you analyze most strategic action plans, you will see that most hospitals will improve:


  • Patient Safety
  • Clinical and Operational Efficiency
  • Healthcare Quality
  • Overall Costs

virtuous circly of innovation

(c) Bart de Witte

This means that IT will be encouraged and challenged to meet these strategic goals in an economically responsible way. So if IT can prove that it can unburdened the clinical staff from routine administrative data entry tasks, guide them to improve clinical efficiency and healthcare quality and at the end reduce overall costs, we would have the ultimate solution that brings a WIN for staff, management and for patients.

But how do you get to a world where the smallest one another wirelessly networked computer invisible to any everyday objects are integrated?

I strongly believe that in order to create a truly interactive hospital environment and such a pervasiveness, hospitals need to devise an event-driven SOA as a basic infrastructure upon which the clinical and administrative processes can be designed, developed, deployed and in some cases automated. Using such an infrastructure, enables hospitals to deploy context aware solutions and  replace existing paper forms and documentation systems with applications and devices that reduce the effort for non-medical tasks and directly support their core activities by adding smart devices and/or mobile devices for the end users that interface with the event-driven SOA landscape.

In my next blog entry I will try to describe a use case based on actual experiences, SAP Business Process Platform for Healthcare and SAP’s Business Process Management.  There are some good research articles available in the web:  

A Pervasive Computing System for the Operating Room of the Future 

Hospitals of the Future – Ubiquitous Computing support for Medical Work in Hospitals

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I can understand the necessity to include IT as a part of strategy for a hospital or healthcare system to improve operations and patient care, but my question is how to convince hospitals/healthcare systems to cover the initial cost while waiting for the ROI?