‘Smart Home’ technology is the integration of technology and services through home networking and automation that promote a better quality of life. The most common areas of application include home automation, safety, vital-sign monitoring, energy control, working and productivity, entertainment, and communication (Van Berlo, 2003). Courtney and colleagues (2008) refine the definition for health care by defining ‘Smart Home’ as information-based technologies that passively collect health and safety information for sharing with the patient, family members, and primary health care providers. The type of information collected can include physiological, location or movement data, environmental information, and pattern analysis algorithm data to identify divergence from typical behavior patterns. Specific examples of technologies include motion sensors, kitchen safety sensors, fall detection sensors, and wireless vital-sign monitoring units (Cheek, Nikpouer, & Nowlin, 2005).
The role of ‘Smart Home’ technology in health care includes safety, security, comfort, and efficiency by alerting family and health care providers when issues occur, reducing the need for constant monitoring which can be expensive, intrusive, and impact a persons privacy and independence (Lennart et. al, 2004).
Attitudes Toward Technology
There is a myth that older people have negative attitudes towards technology and have no affinity or understanding of technology (Lennart et al., 2004; Martin et al., 2007). Research has found that attitudes shape people’s acceptance or rejection of new technology in their everyday lives (Courtney et al., 2008). Attitudes towards technology are learned and can change based on context and support factors. Social support, education, supportive environments all help older end users accept “Smart Home” technology and positively shape their attitudes towards this new technology.
Attitudes Of Primary Health Care Providers
Lennart and colleague (2004) found that research in health care showed a strong relationship between the acceptance of technology by primary health care professionals and the subsequent adoption by the end user. Martin et al. (2007) focused on the staff’s perceived of “Smart Home” technology and found that if the technology had demonstrable benefits, made their job easier, and managed risk better; they were willing to accept intrusion of the technology and impacts on the privacy of their patients.
Health care workers have been shown to have a more negative view of “Smart Home” technology across a broad range of studies (Lennart et al., 2004; Martin et. al., 2007). Health care workers show greater concern for privacy issues, technology intrusiveness, and fears of creating social isolation.
Supportiveness of The Environment
Level of communication and support significantly enhances “Smart Home” project outcomes for the end user and contributes to stress and anxiety reduction. Relatives and caregivers of older patients who have a positive attitude toward “Smart Home” technology and believe it can help them achieve a more independent life contribute a very positive impact on the confidence of the end user and increase the adoption of the technology (Pilotto et al., 2011; Demiris et al., 2008).