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Boomer-Senior Tech Business

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Boomer-Senior Tech Business

The technology category that cannot be spoken aloud – serving older adults

Investors continue to salivate over health tech.  Rant on.   So the first half of 2018 saw $3.4 billion invested in Digital Health (which means whatever you want it to mean.) And even when investments or company roll-ups are specifically about the Medicare population – frothy writers cannot bring themselves to use clear wording. So Optum acquires DaVita Medical Group and Humana acquires Kindred Healthcare. Gee, what do they do? Yes that is vertical integration in the continuum of care – specifically for health services to elderly Medicare recipients.  And the $146 million that went into PointClickCare – that is software for long-term post-acute care (LTPAC), another euphemism for what it really is – care of the elderly, generally in nursing homes.

Six Tech (Aging and Health) Blog Posts from July 2018

Voice First technology – triaging the healthcare opportunity.  This week’s Voice of Healthcare Summit in Boston offered up some intriguing attempts to create new Voice First interfaces that inform patients, streamline work, and demonstrate potential (like Answers by Cigna) in versions 2, 3 and beyond.  One of the most intriguing presentations – KidsMD – a Boston Children’s Hospital ‘accelerator’ initiative begun in 2016 and is winning over the staff.  The organization is clearly committed to using Voice First interfaces for patients, for internal questions (“Who is the Charge Nurse on 7 South?”), for hands-free operating room checklists, for post-discharge guidance and for home health (100,000 interactions to date).  They’ve added a skill called AskICU that highlights the potential for ‘hands free, eyes free’ questions that have easy (but difficult to find) answers, like available beds on a floor, or detailed answers like “Medication dosage details from the Code Cart”.   The other hospitals in Boston are well aware of the innovation at Children’s, but other than experiments (like one at Beth Israel Deaconess), nothing of the scope of KidsMD has materialized.  In other blog posts from July:

Marketing technology – are seniors different from other people?

Google discovers seniors (sort of) and thus a market is maybe born. There was a breathlessness to the CNBC article on July 23, 2018 – Google is mulling older adult applications for its Nest product line – particularly in senior housing settings, hopefully at less cost per installation than its website pricing.  And gee whiz, one of the uses is pathway lighting to find the bathroom – presumably replacing motion-sensing night lights for $7.97 from Walmart. Up next, predicting life-threatening falls, perhaps as an alternative to Philips CareSage or BioSensics Frailty Meter, for example.  Google execs qualified our enthusiasm, per the article: “The ideas are only in the discussion stage and may not find their way into shipping products.” Since his role at Google is to do “something interesting” -- perhaps this may not turn out to be.

Four Blog Posts (and concerns) That You May have Missed

Considering the dog days of summer.  Dog days – these are the hottest days of summer, according to that Oracle of modern culture, Wikipedia.  As the glow and racket from fireworks fade, it's time to mull over the thoughts that zipped by in recent months, perhaps not noticed, but are worth another consideration.  All four of these posts are about our technology life, as shoppers in stores as recently as July 1, our experience with user interfaces that are designed for none, catching up on the hype/hope/fading hope about self-driving cars, and finally, the only thing that can terrorize a company the size of Walmart – Jeff Bezos and Amazon. Here are four blog posts to take a look at in this sleepy week:

Aging in Place Technology – Five Blog Posts from June 2018

n a short month, heard lots about caregiving and hearing.  You have 'conversed' with an older person who cannot hear well without hearing aids but owns an expensive pair which are highly adjustable. But they don't put them in, or lost one of them and not replaced it, even though the VA will pay for it. These individuals may ask you a question, but they don’t wait for an answer they can’t hear well. And so they go on – talking about themselves  and assuming that’s fine at your end of the 'dialogue'   They have families who become irritated with them; they spend a great deal of time alone.  Then one day, they become part of an equation – those with hearing loss are at greater risk of developing dementia.   Sigh.  Here are four blog posts from June:

The more technology changes, the more some categories will remain

The more things change… Life expectancy is long – tech attention span from investors and innovators can be short.  Reviewing the past 10 years of blog posts (from 2008 until 2018), in the beginning, consider the categories and innovations. To mitigate social isolation, for example, note the video phone and the printing mailbox. The objective was to communicate with grandma or grandpa, who might be bereft of email – or for that matter, WiFi, Skype, tablet, smartphone, PC or MAC. Imagine the blissful simplicity or those times -- for the grandparents.  Largely forgotten now --  Mailbug, BigKeys – and printing mailboxes Presto and fax-machine based MyCelery. But the PERS market, around since 1975 in the US, has repeatedly been predicted to be obsolete and about to be replaced with something else.

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