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Health tech and the Aging-Related Technology Boomlet-to-be

Digital Health became Health IT when you weren’t looking.  Even as most caregivers become reliant on online information in 2016, the sources of that information are migrating their way to Health Tech, so says MobilHealth News. And just in time, as the funding bubbles appear to be bursting in later stages, reliability of some wearables has been questioned, and the information disclosed to third parties (like insurance or health-related companies) may not be well understood by the consumer.   

Aging tech is blurring into health tech now -- not later.  The era of standalone tech for older adults is fading fast – even the PERS industry is breaking free of the four walled 600-feet movement limitation. Instead, CMS is beginning to reimburse telehealth technology, caregiving marketplaces undergoes a lemming-like boom in VC investment, and the froth factor is gradually drying up in Silicon Valley Digital Health investments.  Boomers are now senior, the oldest turned 70 in January.  They’re not retiring as fast as millennials might hope (surprise!). The uber alles economy, temporarily is providing some the income lost from the permanent loss of corporate jobs.

Hospitals become insurers – they must care about seniors. The greatest percentage of hospitalized patients are elderly – no surprise. Once health systems become insurers – the ACO model and Medicare Advantage makes it so – look at the discharge-to-home change in Medicare.  What does discharge-to-home mean for the tech companies that provide offerings to help keep those now in their homes from returning to the hospital?  Not much, unless they are partnered with home health agencies, healthcare systems, and health providers.  Tech companies should find those health organizations that are looking for solutions and find the partners that can help them deploy (insurers, larger health-tech consulting firms, for example).

Boomers are going to be seniors – and that drives the home care forecast.  This underpins the lemming investor interest in ‘senior care,’ caregiving marketplaces and at least temporarily (maybe 15 years!) lack of interest in private pay senior ‘living’ companies like Brookdale.  Was it their debt? Or was it that the median net worth, inclusive of housing, of the aged 75+ population is nowhere near enough to afford Brookdale? Or is it the seriously inadequate retirement savings of boomers.  So if moving into senior living cannot be in the forecast for the mid-80’s years of 70-year-olds, home care, in some form, is the only option. 


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