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06/15/2017

28 percent of patients offered home health care after hospitalization — mostly older adults — say “no” to those services.

06/15/2017

23 million, or 39% of the rural population, lacks broadband access or options.

06/10/2017

Virtual reality, robotics and more.

06/06/2017

Is current and appropriate, and comprises the only choices for home health care?

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

Monthly blog archive

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. 

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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+).

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.

The Law of Unintended Facebook Consequences

Facebook’s philosophy could one day harm even the cautious. You might have skipped Saturday’s Wall Street Journal. Or if you read the paper, you might have passed up an article entitled When Deepest of Secrets Get Outed on Facebook. It was purportedly about young people who joined a gay chorus that had an open Facebook group – and as a result, their parents learned they were gay. But this article reflects a much larger issue -- Facebook's default strategy is sharing information -- with companies and through groups that users believe to be private – and the CEO believes that this default strategy is acceptable and appropriate. No need to restate it when Mark Zuckerberg says it so well. In an interview about the rise of Facebook called The Facebook Effect he observes: "The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly." But did we understand this and really, do we all get the picture?

Six steps before launching a tech product for boomers or seniors

Don’t quit your day job just yet – do the homework first.   Starting a new company? I hear fairly regularly from those who have this intent.  Maybe they have a prototype they have created. When I don’t hear first, sometimes I catch who they are through the modern-day miracle of Google Alerts. So maybe we chat, maybe I take a look at a website, learn how they are going about getting their funding, and I ask if they know about products that may be similar to what they are doing.  Or have they browsed online catalogs, or spoken to non-profits (if that is one of the target audiences).  Have they studied market sizings and surveys from Nielsen to Pew to MetLife? And so on.  So here’s a recap of advice for the pre-early stage – more another day:

Analyst firms focus on IT, not consumer health technology

The investment industry is covering their eyes about trends in money, health and aging. Visible awareness of the current swelling ranks of an aging (and not so healthy) population has yet to seriously penetrate the portfolios of the top venture capitalists, despite their rip-roaring second quarter. Yet the health industry employs 1 in 8 Americans. Costs are skyrocketing. No other industry has ever lowered the cost curve without technology. Instead, mobile health has a bit of VC attention -- those $3 mobile self-absorption apps for the naval-gazing young, marginally employed, and phone-obsessed. Ah, but did you know that the 18-29 year olds have less spending power than their parents? Did you know that families are spending all of their money on their smart phones instead of on consumer goods (the engine of the US economy?)

The fine line between tech-enabled process and fraud

Smart phone plans: a super-sized way for carriers to make a buck.  McDonald’s now has to tell you the calories in a Big Mac, but Verizon and AT&T don’t need to warn you that watching videos on your phone will suck up the monthly minutes on your data plan faster than a vacuum cleaner picks up dirt. So while only 11 percent of the 65+ have smart phones, they are part of the 50% of households that have one or some.  Instead of being told upload-download speeds, storage capacity on the phone, and how to video conference the whole family in, how about giving you a WARNING sheet that shows price equivalents (like calories) of the various activities you think you want -- and how these activities fit into or drive up charges beyond your data plan? How about handing you a sheet that outlines all hidden costs? If that doesn’t make you blink, then ask what percentage of customers exceed these plans and what the average monthly bill is for customers with the type of phone you're considering?  And if that data doesn’t make you blink, you obviously can afford to both buy dinner and own the phone.

Six trends that signal change in all things aging and health

Stick versus carrot: re-admission penalties emerge October 1st.  This may be much ado about nothing – but October is the month that hospitals begin being 'penalized' for readmitting the same patients within 30 days of discharge. What’s that mean in dollars and cents?  Well, by forcing hospitals to focus on what are euphemistically called 'transitions' -- cuts of anywhere from 0.42 percent to 1 percent in revenue loom. Or look at the flip side: CMS gets back $280 million from 2200 hospitals immediately.  And who are those pesky people who have been re-admitted? Surprise, they are disproportionately comprised of seniors, initially with diseases like pneumonia, heart attack and heart failure, with more diagnoses added each year.

Aging services needs vendors -- commercialism is just fine

Wow – twice in a week, accusations of ‘commercialism’.  An epiphany – occasionally I have them. The backdrop: In Incident A, a future topic I am discussing at an aging services event was (at least temporarily) classified as ‘commercial’ versus ‘educational’ because vendor executives were to be on the panel, jeopardizing the continuing education credit that attendees might get. Then, the very next day, Incident B: a proposed slide deck was critiqued by (different) organizers with the recommendation to remove slides that had many vendor logos. Why? Because it might be perceived by sponsors as commercials for those vendors – again jeopardizing continuing education credits.

Five New Technologies for Aging in Place

Rounding up from a series of press releases over the past two months, here are some new (and very new!) technologies and/or services that may be new to you for use by or in support of older adults.  All material is from vendor published information:

Care Technology Systems and Qualcomm Life Join Forces.  "A cloud-based system, Qualcomm Life's 2net Platform enables companies, providers and users to capture data from any wireless medical device and deliver it to integrated portals or databases, storing it in a secure and reliable system.  Information can be easily retrieved by physicians, caregivers or other critical audiences, such as designated healthcare service companies, providers, payors, pharmaceutical companies and application/device collaborators, for use in healthcare decisions. CTS utilizes the 2net Platform to provide PERS, ADL monitoring and biometrics." Learn more at Care Technology Systems.

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