Post CES reflection on role of technology and Alzheimer's.
Boston, mid-May, 2016
Smartphone apps are cheap. You really have to marvel at what has happened to the software world in the past decade. In the bad old days, giant enterprise software vendors roamed the earth, and multi-day training sessions could (and did) make a grown person cry. Expensive licensed software, baffling user interfaces with obscurely named data elements that only the engineers could understand. Although the consolidated 'horsemen of the software apocalypse' still run large enterprises, today, end user expectations have, uh, diminished in scale. Smart phones may cost a few thousand per year in data plans, plus the phone, but software has miniaturized into inexpensive, colorful and graphic versions that by definition, must be intuitive to use, personal and functional – at less than $10/month for a service and only a few dollars for the apps. Why no 'free' apps that are everywhere -- they're not really free. The premium version will have a price: we’re part of a hospital system that wants to help you, we’re funded by advertising. And as with phone pricing, if you're paying for insurance or other care, 'free' is a charming euphemism. Descriptions are from the vendor sites.
Caregivers Touch. "Drawing from personal caregiving experiences and expertise in the areas of computer technology, healthcare, scientific research, education and business management, Caregiver’s Touch was created to help any caregiver manage and access a loved one’s critical information. Caregiver’s Touch helps the individual navigate the organizational challenges of caregiving, while allowing information to be shared with anyone they choose. Includes: Calendar of appointments, contacts, medications, medical history, hospitalization history, emergency, insurance, and other key data about care recipients. iPhone and web, in iTunes store." $4.99. Learn more at Caregivers Touch.
Tell My Geo. "A personal-health-record app/service allows any health provider including emergency responders to access your medical history via your smartphone. Tell My Geo combines that function with a GPS locator that enables caregivers who also have the app loaded onto their smartphone to track a lost loved one. Another safety feature allows a person to call a loved one simply by touching a photo image, rather than having to remember a name." Android, $9.95/month. Learn more at TellMyGeo.
Elder 411. "iPhone App contains over 500 pieces of expert advice, which are categorized into 10 eldercare topics. Each section is organized by media type whether written, audio, or video, as well as an “Ask Dr. Marion” category. You can also create and attach notes to any written, audio, or video tip." iTunes store, $1.99. Learn more at Elder 411.
Personal Caregiver. "One of a growing subcategory of medical apps that track medications, Personal Caregiver has the added benefit of allowing you to schedule and track the medications of up to three people, including your own medications. It also allows you to receive recall alerts from the Food and Drug Administration and more. iPhone, detailed medication information with a $9.99 premium edition." Learn more at Personal Caregiver.
Pocket First Aid & CPR. "All content provided by the American Heart Association, the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. Learn more by visiting www.heart.org. Powered by Jive Media, the leading producer of consumer medical applications for mobile devices." $1.99, either iPhone or Android. Learn more at Pocket First Aid & CPR.