Blogs

Personal Emergency Response Systems: Moving beyond fear

PERS – A long-time tradition. The Medical Alarm Systems and PERS (Personal Emergency Response Systems) industry is long-standing and largely unchanged from the days of Lifeline, prior to its purchase by Philips.  This business segment has historically focused on the at-risk individuals who are 65+ with a typical user in the 75-85 range. Today, the industry is variously estimated from $1 to 2 billion in North America, largely based on monthly service plans that guarantee the immediate availability of staffed professional call center response. Those staff members contact relevant and local emergency responders such as EMTs, family, or 911, pre-configured in their systems once the device is activated.  Traditionally, the devices transmit from the wearer to a base unit nearby. >>> Read more . . .

Co-existence -- not connection -- at the 2012 mHealth Summit Bazaar

HealthIT wants your mobile mind.  The mHealth Summit was acquired this past year by HIMSS to ensure that the four horsemen of “technology, business, research, and policy connect.” The organizations they represent would like to disrupt and transform the future of health care delivery. And the 3000+ attendees and 253 exhibitors (up from 206 last year) appear to want to believe in that connection. HIMSS, the largest Health IT association in the world, with its 50,000 individual members, 570 corporate sponsors and 225 non-profit members, has the muscle mass to power the connection of ideas and innovation to healthcare systems, payers, and providers. So it was no surprise when they acquired the nascent mHealth Summit.  As for you of a mobile and mHealthy market mindset – this year you could be a doctor, university research team, a government agency, a hospital, a device maker, a carrier, an IT exec and, oh yeah, as an afterthought, maybe even a consumer and/or patient. >>> Read more . . .

2012 Tech Gifts for Seniors

The more things change, the more they are the same, only cheaper. The 2011 list of tech gifts for seniors is still pretty accurate in terms of categories – tablets, eReaders and eBooks, game-related and music-related.  But be thankful at this time of year, the world of tech keeps on keeping on. There are more variants of each, plus some new items to consider. (Prices are all over the place, so they're not included here.) If you're in aging services or senior housing, pass some ideas along to residents or clients, check out the revised catalog at ElderLuxe or consider other consumer-oriented examples like: >>> Read more . . .

Personalized smart phones -- guaranteed to make a grown person cry

There’s a phone for you based on your susceptibility profile.  So you know about so-called personalized medicine – here is one definition: "Personalized medicine research attempts to identify individual solutions based on the susceptibility profile of each individual." I do like the word 'susceptibility' as an analogy for the Samsung Galaxy S III phone I just acquired, one of the latest (for a few minutes at least) in smart phones. Two full days and a total of 200 setting choices for just 3 screens with 16 icons each, I am overwhelmed and reduced to a state of anxiety and blathering -- widget? App? Which home screen am I on?  "Advanced, intuitive, simple" says Samsung’s website -- without irony. >>> Read more . . .

Wearables, fitness and activity tracking for seniors -- nowhere in mHealth

Wearables – they’re all the rage now.  A $1.5 billion market by 2014, or maybe $6 billion by 2016. That number includes products that are not yet on the market like Google Glass which is due out late 2013 or early 2014. Pogue describes a prototype which has packed “memory, a processor, a camera, speaker and microphone, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennas, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and a battery, all inside the earpiece.” Good luck to us unlucky enough to be in a car while you are enjoying this power.  Today's texting distractions have drivers swiveling all over the highways, walkers slamming into telephone poles and joggers tripping over tree roots. >>> Read more . . .

Five New Technologies for Aging in Place

Let’s catch up with the press releases from the past six weeks. October is typically one of the busiest times of the year for technology announcements. And it has been especially difficult lately to track them amid the sturm und drang of these past weeks. And that's just the storm and stress of reading -- never mind attending trade shows! Anyway, from the recent incoming missives, these five bring this site up to date. All information, as indicated by the quotation marks, is, minus a drop or two of hyperbole, from the vendor websites and releases: >>> Read more . . .

The social networking implications of wills, grandparenting, and elevators

Did you think you would need a Facebook executor in your will?  Bet not. There is more than enough challenge dealing with Facebook and its side effects while we are still kicking. But sure enough, from the Wall Street Journal: "The U.S. General Services Administration recommends people set up a ‘social-media will,’ review the privacy policies and terms and conditions of each website on which they have a presence and stipulate in their traditional will that the 'online executor' get a copy of the death certificate." Some are even valuing the material they have posted online. McAfee’s survey last year found that consumers value their digital assets, on average, at nearly $37,000, although US consumers valued content at $55,000: "That includes photos, projects, hobbies, personal records, career information, entertainment and email." This baffles me. It would seem that if you trust someone to be the executor of your will in which your bank accounts, home, and valuables are at stake, your online material would roll into that.

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When will families demand technology in senior care?

Wireless networks – they matter in home care and assisted living.  Adult children are letting home care and assisted living organizations off the technology hook, whether it is support for high speed Internet access, wireless networks, training staff on how to support social networking with long-distance family, or whatever. How do I know this?  Let me count the ways.  My own surveys – Future of Home Care Technology 2012, publicly available material surveying CFOs about tech investments (by Leading Age), conversations at MassALFA and finally with tech companies trying to sell technology to the senior housing industry.  >>> Read more . . .

Healthcare consumerism and the remote monitoring reality check

Deloitte has made an executive decision – ‘senior’ begins at 67.   Taking the first step onto a slippery slope, Deloitte, advisor to CIOs and other C-worthy executives, tries to get ahead of the age wave. To distinguish seniors from boomers (aging away as they are), their most recent report on healthcare consumerism has decided to pick its own cutoff for a generational split – despite Medicare (65), full Social Security eligibility (varies by birthday), and various senior discounters from AARP (55+) to AAA (65+). So we have a tantalizing question to ponder – does that mean that in 2013, senior-ness for Deloitte  begins at 68?  What about in five years – will it be age 72?  We are in a cycle of growing longevity that is surely underestimated by everyone, including consumers, but most significantly, then, will be Deloitte and the C-folk.   But they used a web-based questionnaire and didn’t provide age segment breakdowns of the 67+. As with most surveys, therefore, responders aged 67+ who indicated they would use remote monitoring to send information to their doctor (a hypothetical capability for sure), are NOT a representative sample of the older and still-viable decades (age 77+). >>> Read more . . .

Five smart phone apps for caregivers

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. >>> Read more . . .

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