Research

Exploring eHealth solutions – outcomes from a summer course

February 13, 2019

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Jonas Tana, RN., MA., researcher, Arcada UAS, jonas.tana@arcada.fi
Maria Forss, RN., PhD, Head of department, Arcada UAS, mia.forss@arcada.fi
Thomas Hellstén, PT., Master of Health Care, lecturer, Arcada UAS, thomas.hellsten@arcada.fi

 

The ongoing digitalization affects everything and everyone. Never before have developments in technology offered such opportunities to manage and use information and communication technologies (ICT) like today. Digitalization has already, in several areas of society, created major changes in the way people meet and interact with each other and the surrounding society. It has led to a shift from physical premises to digital rooms, which are independent of time or place. Digitalization has also enabled a possibility where people in all the right degree can attend to various matters when and where it suits them best. This trend shows no signs of stopping, rather the opposite, and the rapid progress of digitalization has brought with it many advantages. However, an increasingly digitalized society entails high expectations on both citizens and digital services and maybe most of all expectations on newly graduated professionals who will actively shape the future of digital services for us all.

Already we find that the digital world has had an impact on students’ cognitive functions (Andone et al. 2005). Students want to learn by own experience, exploration, interaction and collaboration. The utilization of ICT for knowledge organization and integration is becoming a natural form for digital natives, who pose specific requirements and expectations on their learning environments. These expectations and requirements can be met by creating the right kind of eLearning opportunities in digital environments.

As part of the fifteen-credit eHealth course given at Arcada Summer School during summer 2018, participating students were expected to write a scientific blog post as one assignment. The aim of the student co-created blog post was to choose one client/customer/patient group, identify a problem this group faces or experiences, and how this group could benefit from health technology services or solutions, either existing ones, or ones that could and should be developed. This assignment was based on and developed in accordance with the seven general principles for powerful online learning environments developed by Johnson & Argon (2003). The underlying principles for these types of assignments and assessments have been presented before (see Tana, Forss & Hellstén, 2018).

We encourage and promote openness with all assignments to show the capabilities of our students to the public sphere, outside the university walls. Therefore, the aim of this blog post is to shortly present these student assignments. Note that all original student created blog posts are available in full at another location, and a link to it is provided under the abstract.

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Kangau, Halima & Habib, Raj. 2018. eHealth Technology in Advanced Care: Tele-ICU.

The need for human workforce has been reduced and will reduce in the coming years due to the ageing population and so is the demand for critical care and improvement of life-sustaining treatments. Tele-Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is seen as one solution that will improve the care and enhance the safety of patients by offering a second eye on the patient where minutes can be life threatening. This blog post examines the literature on how Tele-ICU works. It also assesses how beneficial Tele-ICU is and explores the advantages and disadvantages that this solution brings to the ICU setting. The findings show that not only will tele-ICU reduce beeping fatigues of the bedside nurses but it will also aid in saving time where minutes are crucial. However, further research is still recommended when it comes to the malfunction of the technology as well as patient safety.

The whole blog post is available at: https://inside.arcada.fi/healthpromotion/ehealth-technology-in-advanced-care-tele-icu/

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Daiga Garsila, D., Pontellato, V., Refina, K., Sundman, J.  2018. Evaluating e-health promotive solutions for depression.

Depression is a common but often unrecognized illness and a substantial cause for disability- retirement in Finland. Because of the nature of depression, finding the optimal treatment is demanding. In recent years, several digital solutions attempting to aid people suffering from depression have been introduced. However, it is still unclear whether digital apps can truly support the treatment of depression. The purpose of this short evaluation is to understand whether e-heath solutions, in this case the app Happify, is effective in supporting users with depression and a valid alternative to traditional psychotherapy. Our findings show, that an application such as Happify could function as support, but not a substitution, to therapy for people who struggle with any form of depressive disorders. Moreover, providing digital treatments introduces several new aspects that need to be considered. But rather than a barrier, these aspects should be seen as new opportunities for further research to optimize and personalize interventions in depression treatment.

The whole blog post is available at: https://inside.arcada.fi/healthpromotion/evaluating-e-health-promotive-solutions-for-depression/

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Ahmed B., Eklundh J., Hellström S, Lindvall J., Yenkong E. 2018. Could virtual reality be a solution for loneliness among elderly?

The World Health Organization WHO states that in the next few years the number of people aged over 65 years in the population will outnumber children less than 5 years of age. With a growing older population, there are also a number of factors regarding their quality of life and wellbeing that need to be considered. The elderly population can run the risk of being left outside social contact because of physical and mental obstacles. Loneliness is a factor, which has a major impact on the elderly’s mental health and wellbeing. In recent years, there are several digital solutions developed, that tries to reduce loneliness among elderly people. In this blogpost, the writers took a closer look at on e-health solutions virtual reality (VR). VR is not seen as a solution to replace direct social interaction among elderly, but as an opportunity to interact with other elderly in a virtual environment. The biggest obstacles are access to equipment and training how to use the technology. We conclude that VR  is a viable option to meet the needs of elderly suffering from loneliness.

The whole blog post is available at: https://inside.arcada.fi/healthpromotion/could-virtual-reality-be-a-solution-for-loneliness-among-elderly/

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References

Andone, D., Boyne, C., Dron, J., Pemberton, L. (2005). Digital Students and their Use of eLearning Enviroments. IADIS International Conference on WWW/Internet 2005.

Johnson, S. D., & Aragon, S. R. (2003). An instructional strategy framework for online learning environments. New directions for adult and continuing education, 2003(100), 31-43.

Tana, J., Forss, M., Hellstén, T. 2018. Reflections on the use of novel and open assessment methods in higher education, [blog] 10 December. Available: https://inside.arcada.fi/hvbloggen/reflections-on-the-use-of-novel-and-open-assessment-methods-in-higher-education/ [Retrieved 14.12.2018]