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Mobile PERS

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Mobile PERS

Six Aging and Health Blog Posts from the Prolific Month of June 2022

The Meta Pixel problem – who would have thought? Never a dull moment in tech world. Meta (how tiresome, we know it is Facebook) has been sending patient data from hospital systems back to Facebook (appointments, doctor, and a host of other patient-specific data) through the use of a tracking pixel.   Results from a study identifying the problem are now published, and the first of possibly multiple lawsuits are being file for mishandling personal patient data. The point of the pixel was to help in tracking consumer responses to advertising. Like many privacy violations and data misuse on the Internet, consumers are usually powerless other than voting with our feet. With this lawsuit, coupled with government attempts to crack down on big tech, is the tide is turning? 

Beyond the medical alert -- old marketing and products are obsolete

PERS Insider helpfully listed the most common PERS Google searches. The result was bleak and informative. Their website identifies the top item (16,000 searches, results with ads) as a 'medical alert bracelet'. Except for the deep-pocketed Medical Guardian which bought ads everywhere, these were all bracelets to help emergency workers determine a health issue. The next one, Medical alert systems (14K searches) turned up ads for multi-vendor sales sites with names like 10 best, 5 best in Florida, and look, there's Medical Guardian! The US News site was not an ad itself, but the article was filled with ads for devices. Ditto for ConsumerAffairs.com.' Best and worst companies – more ads -- and Medical Guardian. Even 'I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up' is one of top four search terms (4800), no doubt from those miserable LifeAlert ads

Monitoring at home will be the norm for older adults

Covid-19 fallout pushed the care industries into the home.  A sweeping set of changes from that time that may have appeared temporary. But a number of these changes are likely permanent.  Telehealth vs. in-person:  the Covid-19 public health emergency declaration to reimburse doctors for providing telehealth services for Medicare recipients has been repeatedly renewed. Bills are in Congress will make it permanent.  Medical practices are now offering choices to patients – in person or telehealth?  Home care vs. assisted living – the demand is for home care.    Hospitals continue to close, especially in rural areas. Acute care delivery at home for Medicare recipients has been endorsed by the American Hospital Association – and bills supporting it may pass. Finally, the CMS-created codes for remote patient monitoring (RPM) can be used for reimbursement of chronic disease monitoring services.

Five pivotal posts from Aging and Health Technology Watch March 2022

Isn’t March a l-o-n-g month? So many weeks, so many blog posts to, uh, post. Note the top trends that matter this year. Many changes underway in the enabling tech categories for older adults – including the importance of tech for home care agencies – not just the apps for the workers, but for care recipients, such as remote monitoring. And for hearing aid wearers, the smartphone can carry multiple apps that improve their quality of life. Finally, the smartwatch, aka personal emergency response device, gets another entrant – and the very first mobile PERS ('medical alert') company, Mobile Help, is acquired. Summing up the month:

Advocate Aurora Enterprises acquires MobileHelp

04/05/2022

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. and BOCA RATON, Fla., April 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Advocate Aurora Enterprises today announced its acquisition of MobileHelp, a leading provider of remote patient monitoring capabilities and personal emergency response systems.

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Leave no trend behind – yet another PERS smartwatch ticks on

Another long-time PERS player sees a watch, makes a watch. Rant on. Last January 2021, WaterStreet, a healthcare investment company, coughed up a mind-bending $100 million to Medical Guardian, a long time (2006) privately-held PERS provider, to ‘fund expansion.’ Medical Guardian already had a PERS watch (from Omate) – which Amazon reviewers did not love; other than HELP and telling the time, there wasn’t much to it anyway. By June 2021, they partnered with Black&Decker to offer more PERS capabilities – a wearable with fall detection, but maybe that lacked a wow factor. So the newly developed one has more features – including step-counting, a voice-assist charge warning, and communication (from the watch) with a care circle. With deep pockets, Medical Guardian can afford to develop its own device – and maybe this one's the charm for current customers, though it lacks fall detection.  Otherwise the market has moved on.

Something new -- Apple Watch ad sells fear to the young

Perhaps you have seen the scary Apple Watch ad about 911 calls. If not, here it is, short but it’s a doozy. Three examples of desperate 911 calls. Young woman trapped in car filling with water, young man paddle-boarding, wind pushing him out to sea, and a farmer who fell and can’t move (at the end, we calm down because all were rescued by emergency responders.) So this is the argument for the $749 or more for Series 7 Apple watch with Cellular access? Not an 82-year-old woman living alone, but instead, selling heart-racing fear to the young. Why it could open a whole new market of watch buyers and upgraders. So what could go wrong – and what about this IS wrong?

Did you miss one? The Four tech and aging blog posts December 2021

So much happened in 2021 that should benefit older adults.   It should be more feasible to purchase hearing aids ‘over the counter’ without an exam (offered for many years in Japan, but whatever...) and at a price point that is more reasonable for largely uninsured devices.  Honor bought Home Instead – which should result in more technology used in the home care industry -- and soon, hopefully, for an industry suffering from  a severe labor shortage. LifeStation (never a first mover) became the latest to introduce a PERS watch, which should be the non-stigmatizing form factor for Personal Emergency Response devices. Big tech revealed growing interest in older adults and investors saw the potential in firms like Papa, which provides (reimbursed) varied assistance to older adults. Lowe’s prioritized helping older adults and partnered with AARP, which should help older adults benefit from smart homes.  And maybe the big deal starts now -- the oldest baby boomers turn 76, which should trigger even more investment in 2022 and beyond. Here are the four December posts:

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