A not-so-complimentary NY Times hands-on review of the AARP RealPad.
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Monitor the person or the place?
Monitor the environment. Sensor-based monitoring is not new -- QuietCare and GrandCare have pioneered home monitoring of seniors using room-based sensors for years. In both cases, sensors are placed in the room and alerts launched to a pre-determined number based on activity (or lack of activity) indicated by the sensors. For both, target market is independent and assisted living operators.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about eNeighbor™ -- a home monitoring product line targeting Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) that includes personal emergency response (PERS) but also includes sensor-based monitoring. It is interesting because of the correlating information from 12 different sensors placed around the resident's home that can be used to identify patterns warning of a problem.
Monitor the person. This week I chatted with Halo Monitoring, a very interesting new company that launched in January at the Consumer Electronics show and is on the market to CCRCs first in New Jersey through a partnership with Meridian Health. In this variant, an individual 'wears a lightweight chest strop with electrodes on the front side and a body sensor in the center.' The device continuously collects skin temperature and uses an accelerometer and proprietary algorithms to detect falls. This includes 'precursor' falls -- ones in which might not be reported and could signal a future 'catastrophic' fall.
Dilemma -- person or space? PERS model requires a) wearing the pendant and b) pressing the button. Sensors require pre-configuration of the space and rules for monitoring. Halo's Monitoring requires wearing the chest strap. All three of these offerings seek to mitigate the risk of accidents and hospitalizations that result from them. Each requires someone to educate seniors on the role of the devices on or around them so that they can actively participate -- and opt in to the idea of being monitored.
Individual capacity to participate is the variable. To the degree that an individual senior is willing and able to participate by agreeing to put on a pendant and press a button, or put on the myHalo™ strap and enable its use, monitoring the person makes the most sense. If not, monitoring their space may be more effective at preventing incidents that too often lead to hospitalizations and nursing homes.