The first International Workshop on New Generation of Wearable Systems for eHealth took place in Lucca, Italy, 11–14 December 2003. It is a significant milestone in the dissemination and promotion of this newmultidisciplinary area which is expected to play an important role in the evolving health care and health delivery sector, in Europe and world-wide.
The management and coordination of healthcare throughout the entire range of services, from primary to tertiary care, are undergoing fundamental changes such as, more emphasis on prevention and education of users, new ways of delivering care, integrated disease management, empowerment of individuals to manage their own health and overall provision of efficient and cost-effective services. The incentives arising from the need to optimise the use of healthcare budgets and provide quality services and equal access, contributed to the significant development of health telematics, telemedicine and eHealth during the last 15 years.
Extraordinary achievements in science and technology e.g. genomics-proteomics, micro- and nanotechnology, mobile communications, human-computer interface and knowledge management offer for the first time the possibility for new approaches in health, healthcaremanagement and services provision. This includes solutions to support personal health monitoring, early warning and timely intervention, lifestyle management and remote collaboration with health professionals. Daily life activities support and risk management for elderly people and chronic patients can also benefit by these ongoing technological developments.
The new generation of wearable personal eHealth systems has to be affordable, userfriendly, “invisible”, autonomous in terms of power consumption and able to assist individuals in their own health management. Major challenges are ahead such as further research and development, user acceptance and trust, cost effectiveness and business models. Intelligent Biomedical Clothing and biomedical sensors are becoming major driving forces for cutting edge developments. The synergy and close collaboration of all involved disciplines and sectors is of paramount importance.
The workshop on New Generation of Wearable Systems for eHealth was designed to fit the need of the international research community to share advances and brainstorm on future activities in the field. This book has its background in the workshop, and includes full papers describing developments and trends all over the world in the areas of smart wearable monitoring and diagnostic systems, smart treatment systems, biomedical clothing and smart fibres and fabrics. It also covers non-research aspects such as citizens' and patients' needs, interoperability, risk management and market perspectives. The chapters mirror the workshop and are preceded by a short executive summary which highlights the main issues, findings and conclusions for the convenience of the reader. The participation of the major actors involved in research, development, decision making and business should make this book unique and a pioneer in the field.
The Editors, Dr. Andreas Lymberis, Prof. Danilo De Rossi