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Meet or hear Laurie in one of the following:

Washington, DC, September 17

Engineered Technologies for Older Adults, Atlanta, Oct. 2

Boston, October 25-26

Aging Innovation Challenge, New York City, Nov 29

Washington Innovation Summit, Dec. 11-12

Digital Health Summit CES, Jan 8, 9

Related News Articles

09/13/2018

WSJ tech columnist pours cold water on self-driving presumed momentum.

09/13/2018

growth of villages today is supporting aging in place

09/11/2018

 The pieces are now in place to create “smart home” environments in senior living.

09/08/2018

The offering is a voice-activated, smartphone-only version of its digital eye exam

09/05/2018

The long-term care profession has begun taking notice of the promises such devices. 

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Monthly blog archive

The Apple Watch and Fall Detection – What’s it Mean?

When Apple speaks, a puzzled market listens. When Apple announces, industries listen. Last week they announced two features of a new watch, ECG monitoring and fall detection. In July, Tim Cook apparently did not want to get into the world of FDA regulation. Well, that was then – or he just wasn’t saying. In this new watch, both the ECG feature and fall detection have received FDA clearance within 30 days of applying, startling some observers who noted that closer to 150 days was more typical for a medical device.  Healthcare observers are concerned that false positives from ECG readings could propel people unnecessarily to already-overloaded Emergency Rooms. To date, the Apple Watch may have been of greatest interest to 40 year old males. Interestingly, 70% of cases of atrial fibrillation are among the 65+ population.  Does Apple really want the 65+ population to buy an Apple watch?

Hyperlocal social networking – when Nextdoor matters most

It's that awful time – the hurricane season.  The time when the national hurricane center forecasts, repeated ad nauseum, are destined to frighten everyone, no matter how far from affected regions. The same broadcast can dwell on cones and paths, and almost as an aside, remind those in beach areas that the evacuation instructions are meant for them.  Reversing highway direction and talking constantly about evacuation sounds like a plan – but some observe that the distance required to evacuate to safety could be as much as 250-300 miles. So residents who will 'shelter in place' stock up on supplies and watch the 24-hour source of all fear – cable news, looking for guidance from Jim Cantore, that icon among storm trackers.

Four technology (health and aging) blog posts from August 2018

Vacations and out of office messages – it must have been August.  Some have said that there is no point in attempting a business meeting, even online, for August. Perhaps you were one of the 5 million visitors to Cape Cod, roaming the hillside vineyards in California or attending an antique car auction on the coast of Maine.  Having managed to pull off two of those three in the same month, it’s not that crazy. But there were issues, disruptions and sizable opportunities worth noting in August, the biggest one was Best Buy's purchase of GreatCall, just six weeks after Amazon acquired PillPack, the latest big company acquisition -- part of a to-be-continued series important to families and providers of care to seniors. Here are the blog posts from the month:

The technology category that cannot be spoken aloud – serving older adults

Investors continue to salivate over health tech.  Rant on.   So the first half of 2018 saw $3.4 billion invested in Digital Health (which means whatever you want it to mean.) And even when investments or company roll-ups are specifically about the Medicare population – frothy writers cannot bring themselves to use clear wording. So Optum acquires DaVita Medical Group and Humana acquires Kindred Healthcare. Gee, what do they do? Yes that is vertical integration in the continuum of care – specifically for health services to elderly Medicare recipients.  And the $146 million that went into PointClickCare – that is software for long-term post-acute care (LTPAC), another euphemism for what it really is – care of the elderly, generally in nursing homes.

Just because a technology can be built, is it acceptable?

Reading the employee microchip article – does it make you shudder?  Observe the development and evolution of modifiers for the word technology.  Words like sustainable, appropriate, autonomous all come to mind. With the micro-chipping of employees – the convenience argument is ultra thin. But why would one think about a microchip for an ailing relative, aka an older adult? (Some say we will all get chipped eventually.)  Consider that these "chips will offer a convenient way to track people — especially those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia."  But who will opt in to being chipped and tracked in that example?  Employees could opt out – but can a person with dementia opt out?  How different is being micro-chipped from wearing a band with identifying address information? For whom is the 'convenience' of micro-chipping offered?  And because it is possible, should it be deployed?

New Technology Offerings for Caregivers and Families

As summer winds down, innovators rev up.  August is winding down -- the calm before the autumn slew of activity.  Nonetheless, new milestones and partnerships were announced this month, including Embodied Labs becoming a finalist for the Top8 XR Education Prize sponsored by the Bill  Melinda Gates Foundation,  MedMinder reaching 1433 on the Inc5000, the acquisition of GreatCall by BestBuy, and MobileHelp announcing a partnership with LifePod.  And four companies released new offerings to help professional and family caregivers improve monitoring and well-being among older adults:

Robocalls and scams -- a phone-based war against us all

Many years ago, when the phone rang, we eagerly picked it up.  That was then. For good or ill, families want to text, message and chat. And the phone call has turned into a source of harassment and scams. Robocalling is a modern torment, sometimes multiple back-to-back dials from the same source, often spoofing our own cell phone numbers – where answering the phone puts us on a ‘sucker list’ sold to other scammers. Is it Rachel from Cardmember Services or the IRS Phone Scam,  a fake carpet cleaning offer or worse, the disabled veterans scam, or the grandparent 'this is your grandson' scam

Best Buy Acquires GreatCall – What’s it Mean for Best Buy?

First take – this links together multiple Best Buy initiatives, starting in 2011.   Look at the history of Best Buy. First a dabble with the now departed Wellcore in 2011 – clearly the time was not right – the oldest baby boomer turned 72 in 2018, but at 65 in 2010, consumers could not comprehend the utility of a wearable fall detector. But Best Buy executives saw the opportunity and decided to learn more.  More significant in 2011, Best Buy became a founding consortium member in a ‘living lab’ Charter House in Rochester, Minnesota (along with Mayo Clinic). "We believe technology has the potential to foster healthy, productive lives by enabling easier access to information and medical care," says Kurt Hulander, then senior director of health platforms at Best Buy.  

Six Tech (Aging and Health) Blog Posts from July 2018

Voice First technology – triaging the healthcare opportunity.  This week’s Voice of Healthcare Summit in Boston offered up some intriguing attempts to create new Voice First interfaces that inform patients, streamline work, and demonstrate potential (like Answers by Cigna) in versions 2, 3 and beyond.  One of the most intriguing presentations – KidsMD – a Boston Children’s Hospital ‘accelerator’ initiative begun in 2016 and is winning over the staff.  The organization is clearly committed to using Voice First interfaces for patients, for internal questions (“Who is the Charge Nurse on 7 South?”), for hands-free operating room checklists, for post-discharge guidance and for home health (100,000 interactions to date).  They’ve added a skill called AskICU that highlights the potential for ‘hands free, eyes free’ questions that have easy (but difficult to find) answers, like available beds on a floor, or detailed answers like “Medication dosage details from the Code Cart”.   The other hospitals in Boston are well aware of the innovation at Children’s, but other than experiments (like one at Beth Israel Deaconess), nothing of the scope of KidsMD has materialized.  In other blog posts from July:

Marketing technology – are seniors different from other people?

Google discovers seniors (sort of) and thus a market is maybe born. There was a breathlessness to the CNBC article on July 23, 2018 – Google is mulling older adult applications for its Nest product line – particularly in senior housing settings, hopefully at less cost per installation than its website pricing.  And gee whiz, one of the uses is pathway lighting to find the bathroom – presumably replacing motion-sensing night lights for $7.97 from Walmart. Up next, predicting life-threatening falls, perhaps as an alternative to Philips CareSage or BioSensics Frailty Meter, for example.  Google execs qualified our enthusiasm, per the article: “The ideas are only in the discussion stage and may not find their way into shipping products.” Since his role at Google is to do “something interesting” -- perhaps this may not turn out to be.

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