September 4, 2020 10:15 - 11:45
The increasing longevity phenomenon that characterizes our populations created new social necessities that weigh on healthcare systems. However, advances in scientific research and technology are opening the way to new models of healthcare services where the collaboration of private and public entities through specialized services and technologies provides the opportunity to manage chronic, multi-pathological, fragile and elderly patients, at home and in hospitals resulting in the improvement of the patient’s wellbeing. The goal of this proposal is to discuss the potential role of healthcare technologies in the near future and the interaction and integration of people with new digital platforms, products and services. Among the emerging technologies, the most recent scientific and market research confirm that autonomous robots capable of social interaction may soon play a key role in supporting human caregivers, thus helping to reduce the pressure in hospitals and care homes and improve care delivery at home. Robots may help older persons in many ways including detecting emergency situations, reminding them to take their medication, encouraging them to keep active, helping them keep in touch with family and friends, and possibly reducing their sense of loneliness. As a case study, the CARESSES project will be presented, a joint Europe-Japan research effort to develop socially assistive robots that not only can interact with people but can also adapt their behavior to the culture of the individual they are taking care of. In CARESSES, each action is performed with attention to the older person’s customs, cultural practices and individual preferences, with the objective of making human-machine interaction more natural and comforting. The results of experiments performed with residents of care homes in the UK and Japan will be shown and discussed. The panel will comment on the limitations of existing systems and explore new paradigms for the future.