Healthcare ICT for Temporary Housing Community in Disaster-Stricken Area

Masahiro KURODA  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E95-B   No.10   pp.3062-3066
Publication Date: 2012/10/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1587/transcom.E95.B.3062
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: INVITED PAPER (Special Section on Medical Information Communication Technology for Disaster Recovery and Human Health Care Support)
healthcare,  ICT,  disaster,  BAN,  kiosk,  

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Various information and communication technology (ICT) applications have been introduced for use in disaster-stricken areas. Of these, those for healthcare purposes proved useful when used for continually monitoring health conditions and easily using medical and healthcare devices, such as sphygmomanometers, which are familiar to the public. Devices that were easy to understand and use were more acceptable in the first post-disaster stage in a temporary housing community as victims were experiencing mental and physical trauma. After gaining the trust of medical/healthcare staff caring for the victims, we could move to the next stage with their support. ICT technologies are tools and are basically invisible to victims; a notion we have recognized anew. This paper introduces our activities in the area of healthcare monitoring services. The UMe-1 system and subset health check kiosk version 0 are introduced. The kiosk is simple and important for life support advisers in support centers as a tool for checking the health condition of residents. Not all those living in the target temporary housing community are currently using the kiosk due to its location within the widespread premises, but the director of a support center recognizes the utility of the kiosk and expects that a community-based kiosk and user-friendly BAN device could be used at home for mimamori (the Japanese concept of informally monitoring healthcare) because residents living far from support centers have difficulty regularly visiting the center, especially in the winter. We introduced a television-based, in-home health check kiosk and are currently working on its development. There are gaps between actually deployable technologies and research results, but it is also important to continue to address research issues concerning reducing impact through the user interface and introducing less stress to the everyday lives of disaster victims.