Framing the evidence for health smart homes and home-based consumer health technologies as a public health intervention for independent aging: a systematic review

Int J Med Inform. 2013 Jul;82(7):565-79. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2013.03.007. Epub 2013 Apr 30.


Introduction: There is a critical need for public health interventions to support the independence of older adults as the world's population ages. Health smart homes (HSH) and home-based consumer health (HCH) technologies may play a role in these interventions.

Methods: We conducted a systematic review of HSH and HCH literature from indexed repositories for health care and technology disciplines (e.g., MEDLINE, CINAHL, and IEEE Xplore) and classified included studies according to an evidence-based public health (EBPH) typology.

Results: One thousand, six hundred and thirty-nine candidate articles were identified. Thirty-one studies from the years 1998-2011 were included. Twenty-one included studies were classified as emerging, 10 as promising and 3 as effective (first tier).

Conclusion: The majority of included studies were published in the period beginning in the year 2005. All 3 effective (first tier) studies and 9 of 10 of promising studies were published during this period. Almost all studies included an activity sensing component and most of them used passive infrared motion sensors. The three effective (first tier) studies all used a multicomponent technology approach that included activity sensing, reminders and other technologies tailored to individual preferences. Future research should explore the use of technology for self-management of health by older adults; social support; and self-reported health measures incorporated into personal health records, electronic medical records, and community health registries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Biomedical Technology
  • Health Services*
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Self Care*