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Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Tech and aging marketplace: Did you miss these posts?

Do VCs matter in the older adult space? According to a Stanford Business School analysis, in today's economy VCs have become a 'dominant force' in the financing of innovative companies. This began, they note, with "a regulatory change in 1979 that permitted pension funds to invest in VC funds."  Okay, but do VCs really matter? Now switch coasts and perspectives, note how a Harvard Business School report picked through six myths about VCs, pretty much debunking the rhetoric in the Stanford report. Most VC funds, especially larger ones, do not outperform the market. "VC financing is the exception, not the norm, for startups" and given the rise of crowd funding and a broad range of angel investors, "VCs will continue to play a significant, but most likely smaller, role in channeling capital to disruptive start-ups." The question to ponder:  which category of investor, and specifically which investor groups, are interested in the older boomer and senior markets?

What are the rules, what are the criteria for innovation competitions?

Everyone loves competitions – but could they be better?  RANT ON. So what could be better than innovation competitions? Especially those that focus on improving quality of life for older adults? So in the face of these feel-good goals, here are a few laudable calls-to-action phrases from past competitions. From Aging 2.0: "quality of overall concept, viability of product or service" and "impact on the aging experience – potential to improve quality of life for older adults, caregivers, and/or revolutionize the aging services industry." From Stanford Longevity Design Challenge:  "Create well-designed, practical solutions that address key issues associated with aging." From a CAST/Leading Age student competition: "Transform existing products or create new ones that would appeal to middle-aged adults. Students in gerontology, engineering, business, industrial design, architecture and social work are especially encouraged to participate."  

Quackery and snake oil – maybe that IS the state of health tech

Firestorm from the American Medical Association.  A few weeks ago, the CEO of the AMA, Dr. James Madara, said what few others will say: "…the explosion of direct-to-consumer digital health products, to apps of mixed quality – it’s the digital snake oil of the early 21st century."  And if that weren’t enough, he compared the technology innovations today (including "ineffective" EHRs) as analogous to the challenges confronting 'quackery' when the AMA was founded in 1847.  Then came the chorus of rebuttals from health IT folk and the Boston Brahmins of digital health, including Dr. Joseph Kvedar ("telemedicine is unstoppable") and Dr. John Halamka ("no snake oil to see here!").  But adults are downloading health apps – in one study, at least half of the surveyed population had downloaded at least one.  Using, not so much.

Five Technology Innovations for Older Adults – June, 2016

As the event season winds down, let’s reflect.  Has there been a technology breakthrough this year?  Consider the 2016 conferences, including CES,  JP Morgan Health Investing, AARP LivePitch, 1 Million Cups Coffee Pitch, Digital Health Summer Summit, and soon, the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit. Just before the fall season kicks off with more startups and events, what has been interesting, new, and/or recent in the way of announcements? Here are five, all text from their own media/material:

Medtronic and Qualcomm Collaborate to Aim to Improve Care and Health Outcomes for People with Type 2 Diabetes

05/25/2016

DUBLIN and SAN DIEGO - May 25, 2016 - Medtronic plc (MDT) and Qualcomm Incorporated (QCOM) through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Life, Inc., today announced a global, multi-year collaboration to jointly develop future generation continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems t

Chronological age, exercise and wearable fitness tech for older adults

Chronological age has no impact on health and well-being – per this study. Apparently, blood pressure and cholesterol readings aren’t the whole story.  What matters more are sensory function, mental health, mobility and health behaviors. This is according to a summary of an abstract of research at the University of Chicago.  But it re-enforces other research about the correlation between exercise and warding off dementia.  And for those who never got around to exercise but have a fear of falling in their 80s and beyond, exercise like Tai Chi can restore balance in an 85-year-old, building confidence and reduce fall risk and fear of falling.

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