One thing that became very apparent to me after Day 2 of HIMSS was the increase in technology products and systems focused on improving the quality of life and care for elders, commonly referred to as “Elder Care”. During a breakout session titled “Growing Old With New Technology”, it was revealed that there are 85 million buyers who are children or caregivers of the elderly in the United States. This is a staggering statistic that directly supports my perception of the trend.
Elder Care Offerings
Although I got to demo and learn about numerous items, there were two extremely innovative products that stood out to me. The first was a smart watch developed by a Unaliwear for the elderly called the Kanega. It is unique in that it is controlled entirely by voice commands and has no buttons. It is also 100% waterproof and is designed to be worn 24-7 to improve its overall effectiveness. It provides medication reminders, voice-activated directions, fall detection, emergency assistance, and home direction guidance. What I really like about this offering is the fact that it is designed to look like a stylish piece of jewelry and not like a medical device. This is critical to not only increase compliance but also to make elderly individuals feel like their independence is not being diminished.
The other offering that stood out was the InTouch Telemedicine system. Although I did not see the full feature set of the system in the brief demo, I was impressed with the ability for the patient to communicate with his/her doctor via a mobile app while transmitting real-time health data through an instrument connected to their tablet. This advancement will undoubtedly improve outcomes as the patient can recover in the home while still being actively monitored by their medical professionals.
It is good to see that Elder Care is getting more attention, as I feel there are numerous opportunities to improve the quality of care while promoting continued independence.
Ron Novak, Segue’s Executive Vice President for Commerical/Non-Profit Programs, attended HIMSS Annual Conference in Chicago from April 12-April 16, 2015.