July 2013

Healthcare has too much tech focus, too little benefit to seniors

It’s a new era – patient engagement – but does that include seniors? According to a recent health journal article, welcome to the era of patient engagement. What’s that?  “Empowering patients to actively process information, decide how that information fits into their lives, and act on those decisions is a key driver to improving care and reducing costs.” Like many of the heavily-invested Health IT improvements over the years, patient engagement strategies offer the industry a feel-good approach to preaching to and reaching the converted – those tech-enabled individuals with a fetish for looking stuff up and tracking it (see Google Health). Ah, but those with the least access to technology may need the most engagement -- they're not likely to peer at their patient portals. At last Pew count only 13% of the 65+ even looked online for information as a diagnostic tool. And fewer than half of those followed up with a medical professional based on what they found. >>> Read more . . .

Looking back: What happened with those tech predictions?

Let’s reflect on the market of tech for older adults. In December, 2011, a number of assertions were made about the future – as we move forward, let’s look back and examine if these predictions came to pass, or if they were more fantasy and hope.Those predictions opined that mobile devices would become more important and cut into the house-bound tech market. And tablets and smart phones are transforming multiple tech markets that impact seniors and their families – including apps and senior-specialized PCs, feature phones, and even game consoles like the Wii.  Consider the specifics: >>> Read more . . .

Why free software costs us time and time again

See the new features in THIS upgrade – now go forth and suffer!  I admit it. I am one of the millions of Android phone users. That makes me something of a glutton for Google-induced pain. This week, I was trying to provide helpful navigation assistance in downtown Boston, where any navigational aid is a blessing. I discovered that Maps and its associated and fast-talking Nav app were somehow upgraded -- and thus rendered mysterious. Maps still works – if you don't mind two crashes, the third startup is a charm. But it now has an unrecognizable set of icons and hidden options – and Nav is no longer a separate app. Sadly, I was not helpful navigating. Later I learn from the angry hordes on the Android forums that there is an Uninstall option to enable return to the previous version. And further research reveals a setting for the aptly named Google Play Store -- Do not auto-update apps. For good reason. The default is, naturally, the reverse. >>> Read more . . .

Who should monitor the quality of apps for boomers, seniors, and caregivers?

Five Market Overview versions later -- let's recap.  Launching a business venture takes excessive confidence -- or an extreme lack of common sense. Four years ago, after 7 months of random ranting in a blog, an awkwardly-titled Aging in Place Technology Watch analyst business was launched at the 2009 What’s Next Boomer Business Summit. Both of those were in conjunction with posting and promoting an initial report -- Technology for Aging in Place Market Overview (2009).  Now more than four years later, an updated version has been posted on this site. The press release titled "The Longevity Economy Goes Mobile" is ready -- and so there's time for a bit of reflection. Since 2009, how much has changed: the environment in which technologies are discovered and utilized is radically different. Entrenched social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn et al. make it different; the rise of smart phones and tablets as platforms, so different; and the rise and fall and rise of crowd-funding make starting up a company very different; boatloads of blog sites offering a cacaphony of tidbits also makes learning about new technology difficult -- and different. >>> Read more . . .

Searching in vain for quality: apps on iTunes and Google Play Store

How the mighty app has crumbled into a tiny, trashy bucket of bits.  Yesterday I spent time wading through smart phone and tablet app descriptions that sounded like they are for caregivers on iTunes and the Google Play Store.  That is, the word 'caregiver' could be found in the description. The reviewers and links of many of these so-called apps are revealing: "this app crashes my phone" or "server error" and other less printable descriptions forced me to move on. Looking for a link to a developer website?  Hmmm. Are you looking for a phone # to call about a so-called service? There’s only a Contact Us Form – no e-mail address, no phone # -- really, what we mean is don't contact us -- we have no budget for answering e-mail or the phone. At the end of the day, a few were found that will be in the 2013 Market Overview published later this week on this website. These are firms that I believe are reachable, are not trashed in reviews and oh, they just might run on smart phones or tablets! >>> Read more . . .