Empowering Loved Ones Through Care Technology

Published January 18, 2016

When it comes to a patient’s care, it’s just as important, if not more so, for caregivers to have an easy way to navigate the endless maze of paperwork, doctor’s appointments, medications, and follow-ups.

Thanks to new technologies, staying in touch with extended groups of people is becoming easier than ever. It is important that healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses and home care assistants, adopt these technologies in order to better communicate with all of the people responsible for a patient’s care.

The framework for these innovations already exists. We’re using electronic trackers and planners to log our loved one’s medications and schedule doctors’ appointments. We use “at-home” testing devices to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate and blood sugar, enabling us to quickly flag any changes in our family member’s health. And, we’re relying more on e-mail and text messaging to reach members of a patient’s care team, giving us access to support beyond the traditional office hours.

These technologies help family members play a greater role in the care of their loved ones, such as scheduling their appointments, ensuring they take their medication regularly and  monitoring for any changes in their loved one’s health.

In fact, one survey found 70 percent of people helping to provide care for their loved ones said that a shared electronic log for their doctor appointments and other caregiving needs would be helpful. With tools like these, they can request support in their duties, and friends and family members could sign up to help on certain dates and times.

The survey also found a majority of family caregivers supported other connected technologies such as personal health record tracking, medication reminders, as well as symptoms monitoring and transmission.

We need to incorporate best practices when it comes to connecting patients, caregivers, and health providers, creating a seamless and personalized care plan. Adopting the right tools will allow a suite of caregivers, including doctors, home care providers and family members, to track patient progress.

By doing this, we ensure loved ones can continue to play an important and integral role when it comes to health care using technologies many are already familiar with in their daily lives.