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Five Aging and Health Technology Blog Posts from June 2020

June -- it was the worst of times.  Who can comprehend that 43% of Covid-19 deaths are linked to nursing homes? Who could have imagined the economic impact of job loss and (almost all) business shutdown?  Who could have speculated that senior living organizations would have occupancy levels nationwide below 88%? Who would have thought that telehealth definitions would include phone calls and Facetime?  Most importantly, as so many families were reminded, their aging relatives had not adopted any of the devices and software that would enable face-to-face communication. Or that high speed internet would not be available in nursing homes or the dementia care units in assisted living where their relatives now lived. Let’s hope July is better! Here are the five blog posts from June 2020:

Tech adoption older adults matter more now than ever.  Will results change when older adults are surveyed later this year? So we know that ‘remote care’ and ‘caring’ in its various forms, including telehealth, seem to be heating up as a priority, whether for senior living organizations, families, healthcare provider organizations. It's putting more emphasis on the need for home healthcare and home care, especially in times in which the care workers hesitate to enter a home and which families are locked down and not visiting. Here is where we were on technology adoption at the start of the pandemic, and the wave of telehealth interest heated up. As one tech company noted, a one-year-pipeline compressed into a month of demand. And a plethora of companies raised their hands to offer their engagement technology for free. So if this is the baseline of adoption, what’s next when the surveys come around again? Read more.

Will technology become standard in senior living and nursing homes? The articles are beginning to appear here and there. In the time of Covid-19, some are talking about an increasing use of technology in their nursing homes. Others are discussing the race to enable ‘televisits’ -- noting outreach from AARP to CMS to boost the requirement for enabling technology in nursing homes. And numerous other articles have appeared that showed nursing homes receiving donations of technology. The State of Florida gave tablets to 150 nursing homes. The attorney general of Massachusetts supplied 750 tablets to nursing home residents. And Texas provided $3000 per Texas nursing home for tablets, webcams, and headphones. The pictures associated with some of these introductions of technology were bleak. Fortunately, some states are now allowing families to visit residents in designated areas outside.  Read more.

Can seniors use and benefit from telehealth? Telehealth – the genie is out of the bottle. In March, the government announced expansion of telehealth access, noting that it would raise the reimbursement rate for telehealth visits during the Covid-19 pandemic to match the doctor’s rate for in person visits, as Seema Verma, the head of CMS noted: ‘the genie was let out of the bottle’ and won’t likely be put back in. The regulatory change enabled "the use of smartphones, video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, and messaging services like WhatsApp; and the ability to provide care across state lines in 48 states." Read more.

What use is a PERS watch without a call center? You see PERS news releases on occasion. PERS -- Personal Emergency Response System -- is a long-time market dominated by pendants worn around the neck. Recently Parks Associates sized the PERS market to be $1.1 billion by 2024 -- others think it is a $3.1 billion market today. Also early in the year, Vidapoint was announced as a 'global' low cost offering. LifeStation announced Mobile LTE, small and fast, a pendant linked to a sizable 24-hour call center. Then in April, Verizon does it again, launches a PERS, this time a smart watch offering, called the Care Smart Watch for seniors. Read more.

Reading about big tech controversies can make you sigh. Rant on. You may remember when the browser arrived. Maybe you knew about Mosaic in 1993 or Netscape Navigator in 1994. But you probably did not try them unless you were a geek -- because there wasn’t much to look at then on the so-called World-wide-Web. Apple’s Safari did not appear until 2003 and Google Chrome in 2008 – eventually these dominated the browser market, though three cheers for the existence of privacy-oriented browser Brave (2016) and search tool DuckDuckGo (2008). No doubt both will disappear into acquisitions. As for social media, things really got going with AOL Instant Messenger in 1993 -- then all was pretty quiet until 2003-4, when LinkedIn, MySpace, Skype, and Facebook all arrived. Read more.

Comments

Thanks Laurie Orlov for highlighting the good and the bad of technology use in Aged Care.