Digital health is not reaching most seniors.
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What does it mean -- Business Week Special Report on Aging in Place?
This is truly special. Business Week has devoted a special report to Aging in Place. We've seen newspaper and magazine articles, usually on the social curiosity or human interest aspect of using technology to help seniors. In this case, there are many, many small vendors and organizations who are investing and slowly growing their businesses that will serve us as we age. This set of articles is different -- and reflects and reinforces the key principles of creating viable markets. As I often say (when anyone is around to listen): a market undescribed doesn't exist. So what's it mean?
Business press like this may jog big companies into consider doing more. Certainly demographics (which have an inexorable forward movement these days), payment models and documented success examples also encourage investment.
Big companies validate markets for small companies. Talking about Intel, Philips, GE, Nintendo -- all good for small players considering any of their categories. With big company marketing, small companies can ride on their coattails. "You know that Big Behemoth CO product -- ours does x,y,z that it doesn't do."
Awareness is the largest barrier to adoption in this market. As proven in every setting I speak in as well as large surveys like AARP's Healthy@Home (on this site under TRENDS), people are largely unaware of the variety of technology that exists today that could help boomers (half with 1 living parent) and their aging parents.
Technology maturity is the second biggest barrier. A number of products today were merely gleams in the eye five years ago. That means they haven't been in the market long enough to go through the revisions that can make them cheap, interoperable, and integrated in examples we can all see. When they've evolved more...well, think of, as I heard this week from Jim Reilly, Director at NewCourtland HT, the speedy evolution of 'bag phones to today's tiny cell phones'. Maturity follows the lead of investment by big players.
So if you have a role to play in moving this industry forward, that special report was truly special.