Age Tech: The Smart Home Is Becoming a Reality to Deliver Better Health Care to Older Adults
Tech improvements, delivery improvements and skyrocketing demand will combine to deliver on better health care at home.
Longevity may be the most important trend we’ve ever experienced. It’s driven by — and in turn, it affects — everything from health to housing, money to technology, lifestyle to social policy. There’s so much to be aware of — and it’s just getting started!
Everyone is expecting “the smart home” to be the answer for:
The enormous increase in the 80-plus population
The strong preference (both by consumers and health-care systems) for home-based, as opposed to institutionalized, health care
The critical shortage of nurses and other front line health care workers.
A lot of progress has been made, but what’s next? What can we expect if we look ahead five years?
1. A single unified standard to make devices and systems compatible
2. Asynchronous caregiving, or the supplementing of human work staff with sensors (especially critical for night shift monitoring)
3. Better alignment of the cost of care with what families (or providers) can afford. This again is a function of better integration sensing technology and in-person care
4. Much more usage of predictive analysis. “Without accurate and useful analytics, sensor technologies are just gadgets.” There are too many false notifications, or notifications that are too easily ignored, or alerts that come too late to prevent injury. In the future, we’ll see more “automated production of analytics that aid in decision-making,” both in home health and institutional settings
5. Much better data privacy protection. Apparently 63 per cent of health-care companies have reported security incidents related to “unmanaged Internet of Things devices.” The industry must — and will — do better
6. Much easier moving from institutions to home. “Discharge processes in the future will need to incorporate an easy-to-setup sensor package, with monitoring by professionals and family”
As the baby boomer population continues to age there is no denying that technology and aging are going to be bound in the future.