“Digital Aging”: Trend I – Remote Home Monitoring
For the last decades, development of Information Technologies (IT) and sensor technologies has resulted in a great number of new services such as smartphones, tablet PC’s, wireless video games, robotics, Skype to name a few. With some delay in time these technology advances started to change the way healthcare services are delivered with areas of mhealth (using mobile devices for healthcare service delivery) and telehealth (delivering healthcare over distance) gaining wider acceptance. So now it is time to create a series of blog posts under the common name “Digital aging” to highlight solutions that are already available and can be used. Stay tuned to the next blog posts, if You want to know more.
One of the trends of applying new technologies is remote home monitoring of elderly people using a set of sensor devices and wireless data transfer. The main advantage of these tools is that it gives today’s active seniors and their families freedom, security and the ability to manage their health at home or away. Basic functionality of the remote home monitoring system can include:
- automated fall detection
- location tracking
- remotely managed two-way voice
- alert system
Additionally, some of the systems support integration with other health measuring devices and can track blood pressure, weight, blood glucose level and even transfer all these data to the patient’s Electronic Health Record (I will tell more about it in the later posts)
How it works?
A senior active citizen will wear a lightweight pendant everywhere he goes: inside the house, to the library, swimming pool, supermarket, park, etc. This pendant will be waterproof, easy-to-use and not necessary to be taken off even while charging and constantly serving as a part of a “Mobile personal emergency response service”, which will track the senior person movements, detect any case of possible fall and location of a senior and send alert to the caregiver/assistant.
As an example, Susanne, 82 years old, wants to live an active life and not be tied to her healthcare team, which includes her family and healthcare professionals. She wears a light device with her anywhere she goes. While walking in the park, Susanne feels dizzy and presses the help button on the device, thus initiating a two-way voice conversation with a support center. She tells about her condition and the support center assistant makes a decision, whom to send to help Susanne to get home safely. In case Susanne falls, the system will automatically track her location and an ambulance car will pick her up.
I believe such techniques are very inspiring and these types of solutions are already on the market with for example “GoSafe” and “Libris”. Moreover, in US, AT&T is offering “Libris” solution as part of a managed service for doctors and health insurers already. Why not set “free” both active seniors and their families?
“AT&T and Numera Combine Personal Safety and Home Health management with New Personal Health Gateway”. Accessed at: http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=23809&cdvn=news&newsarticleid=36052
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