A primary concern for governments and health care systems is the rapid growth of the aging population. To provide a better quality of life for the elderly, researchers have explored the use of wearables, sensors, actuators, and mobile health technologies. The term AAL can be referred to as active assisted living or ambient assisted living, with both sometimes used interchangeably. AAL technologies describes systems designed to improve the quality of life, aid in independence, and create healthier lifestyles for those who need assistance at any stage of their lives.
The aim of this study was to understand the standards and policy guidelines that companies use in the creation of AAL technologies and to highlight the gap between available technologies, standards, and policies and what should be available for use.
A literature review was conducted to identify critical standards and frameworks related to AAL. Interviews with 15 different stakeholders across Canada were carried out to complement this review. The results from interviews were coded using a thematic analysis and then presented in two workshops about standards, policies, and governance to identify future steps and opportunities regarding AAL.
Our study showed that the base technology, standards, and policies necessary for the creation of AAL technology are not the primary problem causing disparity between existing and accessible technologies; instead nontechnical issues and integration between existing technologies present the most significant issue. A total of five themes have been identified for further analysis: (1) end user and purpose; (2) accessibility; (3) interoperability; (4) data sharing; and (5) privacy and security.
Interoperability is currently the biggest challenge for the future of data sharing related to AAL technology. Additionally, the majority of stakeholders consider privacy and security to be the main concerns related to data sharing in the AAL scope. Further research is necessary to explore each identified gap in detail.
©Laura X. Fadrique, Dia Rahman, Hélène Vaillancourt, Paul Boissonneault, Tania Donovska, Plinio P Morita. Originally published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth (http://mhealth.jmir.org), 22.06.2020.