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San Francisco March 28, 2018

 

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Rock Health Survey: Digital Health needs trust -- and older users

Rock Health buries the lead -- consumers don't want to share with tech firms. [Rant on.] Digital health firms are having a tough time, despite upwards of $6 billion from me-too investors, and that's just last year. The Rock Health Digital Health Consumer Adoption Survey 2015 of 4017 people is a testimonial to the mismatch between investor optimism and consumer skepticism. On the skepticism front, blame is placed on a variety of factors, including lack of sharing of data across health providers ('Tech companies don't have the problem, it's the siloed health institutions.') But wait. "The contenders–Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Samsung—all fared poorly, with approximately 5 percent of people saying they’d share with these companies. Facebook was the outlier -- only 2% would share health or DNA data with the social network." Duh. Despite a few hysterically enthusiastic reads of this data, like Forbes, a few saw gloom. Kudos to MIT Technology Review and a few others for noting the tech company chart, small and at the end of the report.

Why not an insurance to protect from a disruptive technology future?

Optimistic boomers think future technology will be a piece of cake.  Asked to picture the future, boomers think they will be different from their parents who resisted new technologies.  Even Best buy agrees that this is a boomer-senior problem – that the next generation won’t need genius bars or geek squads. Even boomers insist that their tech-savviness today will serve them well in 20-25 years – they will accommodate whatever ‘innovations’ Silicon Valley designers, all still 20-somethings, will foist on them. Boomers see the unknown tech future as something they can and want to deal with, the way they mastered (sort of) home network setup, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Skype, and Instagram. And they will want to deal with it, because, well, they are boomers.

Boomers and adoption of mobile health -- not so fast

Let's start at the conclusion -- the hype hasn't produced health for boomers.  The new California Health Care Foundation sponsored boomer health tech report is out.  First the bad news. Baby boomers (aged 50-69 in 2015) aren't getting the health innovation investment money's worth, though the spigot is wide open for digital health funding.  Which is odd because they represent the single largest cohort that generates health cost, possibly as a result of their more sedentary lifestyle, compared to the previous generations.  Health care costs are often described in the press as going down, but really only the rate of increase is slowing – according to PwC, the growth rate still outpaces inflation.

Hearing loops change public experience for hearing impaired – but are they deployed?

Getting into the hearing loop arena.  Again a chance to note -- the dramatic enhancement of sound for hearing aid wearers in a looped setting -- that is, a room enhanced with a telecoil loop transmitter -- in a public environment.  The cost, according to the writer, ranges from a few thousand dollars to $130,000 for the entire airport.The result?

Five technology announcements from the 2015 White House Conference on Aging

WHCoA attracted buzz, hopeful announcements and new offerings.  This event was a follow-on to the previous every-decade White House Conferences on Aging -- the most recent of which was the 3-day 2005 White House Conference on Aging. That conference was developed in a hopeful and financially booming time in the US -- its focus was on the pending retirement of the baby boom generation. Today, the economy is not sizzling and since 60 is now the new 50, many of those boomers have not yet retired. Or they've retired from -- or lost -- one job and are now starting a business. The 2005 conference was the first one that had an exhibit hall devoted to technology. This conference was less about a place and more about regional meetings viewings/discussions of the topics and this single day event.   However there were a number of tech-related announcements released in conjunction, including:

As boomers age, they should be considering diabetes health management tools

Digital tools for diabetes prevention and management.  Population health statistics about diabetes are alarming health professionals, particularly concerning today with 26% of older adults having diagnosed (16% of baby boomers and 27% of seniors) and even undiagnosed diabetes. So there's no surprise – innovation is wanted and much needed. New technology startups are popping up all around to help prospective patients prevent the onset of diabetes – and/or manage it more effectively. While some research casts doubt on the sustainability of these tech interventions, that doesn’t stop new entrants from jumping into the fray. Here are six of the tools available – with descriptions from news articles, smartphone-ish vendor sites or far more informative press reports. Would seniors use these?

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