The proliferation of mobile and wearable devices monitoring those activities that impact health – like exercise levels, calorie intake and heart rate – may be a stepping stone towards a more consistent use of technology to manage healthcare at home. While the idea of the connected home in healthcare is not new, broad-based acceptance by both health professionals and older adults for the role of technology is on the rise.
The tools of the future will become considerably more powerful. Just last year, for example, the FDA approved the first remote glucose monitoring device for diabetics. This is just the beginning of a whole range of devices that can instantly transmit vital health data and other feedback between patient, family, doctors, nurses, and home care providers.
Because these tools will make it easier to treat and diagnose patients remotely, an active aging population will be able to better manage more serious conditions, by remaining connected to their healthcare professional, while continuing to live at home.
CareCentrix is embracing these technologies and working to revolutionize their adoption with the development of its HomeBridge platform. HomeBridge will provide an unprecedented collaboration between patients, caregivers, and health providers, creating a seamless and personalized care plan. Simply put, these tools will enable the whole care team to track patient progress with their care plan, as well as changes that signal either improvement or need for further intervention amongst other things. The goal of this approach is aimed at helping patients and their caregivers effectively manage their care and avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and readmissions through early identification of changes in the individual’s health.
Connected technology also has the potential to both improve patient outcomes and reduce medical costs. The price for nursing home and assisted living care, for example, has grown at rates higher than overall inflation. For instance, the median national cost for nursing homes grew to almost $84,000 in 2013 versus about $65,000 in 2012, according to Genworth Financial’s Annual Cost of Care Survey. The survey also notes that home care costs have only increased one percent or less over the last five years, in part because of strong competition among home care providers and the fact they don’t need to maintain stand-alone facilities.
Considering that the population of people aged 65 or older will increase from 13 percent to one-fifth of the population by 2050, our healthcare system will face increasing demand for services. By enabling people to continue to live independently, aided by technology and home care providers, we can reduce our dependence on avoidable, higher cost facility-based care.