The New Era of Connected Aging

I’m happy to promote a new report by the Center for Technology and Aging and include information from its Executive Overview. This organization primarily serves the healthcare industry with a mission similar to ours, described as, “To improve the independence of older adults dealing with chronic health care issues by promoting the adoption and diffusion of beneficial technologies.”
Click to view "The New Era of Connected Aging," a report by the Center for Technology and Aging

A Framework for Understanding Technologies
that Support Older Adults in Aging in Place

The United States is a rapidly aging nation. (Aging is actually a global problem. -editor) A demographic change is quickly outstripping the capacity of family caregivers, providers, and programs and services that serve the aging population. To address the impending increase in the demand for health care and long-term care, new programs must be created that reinforce the ability of older adults to thrive in their homes and communities, and support them in aging independently.

We are at the dawning of “connected aging” in which the growing array of Internet-based technologies and mobile devices increasingly will support older adults in aging in place. Emerging technologies will enable both older adults and their caregivers to address a comprehensive range of medical, health, social, and functional needs. In addition, technology-based solutions that connect older adults to friends, family, and the community are becoming more viable; older adults and their caregivers are growing increasingly tech savvy; technology usability is improving; and price points are descending. As indicated in Figures 1 and 2 older adults’ use of technology, whether it be social networking, text messaging, use of the internet, or use of mobile phones/tablets, is growing at an ever increasing rate.

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Unpaid Caregiving in America

Image showing The economic cost of unpaid caregiving is over $480 billion per year.According to AARP, 43.5 million Americans are caregivers, and although they do it out of love and obligation, caring for a loved one takes a personal and financial toll.

The economic impact is surprisingly high. It was over $480B/year in 2009, a figure that includes lost worker productivity, reduced earning capacity & retirement income, and increases in their own physical & emotional health and related costs. That’s about 3.2% of the U.S. GDP ($14.1 trillion in 2009). It’s more than the $361B in Medicaid spending. And it’s nearly as much as the $509B in 2009 Medicare spending. It’s also more than half of what we spend on defense. The burden is even worse for long-distance caregivers.

The infographic below details caregiving in the U.S. Read More …

Big Data and the Future of Healthcare

Accessible introduction transcript…

  • Every day technology makes new things possible, and some predict that it’s just a matter of time until technology completely revolutionizes healthcare.
  • Some believe that medical diagnosis, general patient care, and medical practices are more expensive and inferior than they need to be.
  • The problem with health care is that it’s often the practice of medicine, rather than the science of medicine, as most medical decisions are simply based on tradition, a doctor’s limited medical knowledge, and the patient’s known symptoms and medical history.
  • The result? Three doctors could diagnose a problem three different ways. This can be a serious issue.
  • Over 40,000 patients die in the ICU in the U.S. each year due to misdiagnosis.
  • The solution? Big Data. Some believe medicine can become more of a science, rather than practice, by relying on technology.

INFOGRAPHIC follows…  Read More …

Health & Medicine Outlook 2013

Click on the magazine cover to see more forecasts collected in the World Future Society’s annual Outlook reports.“Human actions could become more accurately predictable, thanks to neuroscience. Nano-sized robots will deliver cancer-fighting drugs directly to their targets. And though many recently lost jobs may never come back, people will find plenty to do (and get paid for) in the future,” according to forecasts you’ll find in this roundup of the most thought-provoking possibilities and ideas published in The Futurist magazine over the past year.

I’ve extracted the following Health & Medicine forecasts from the World Future Society’s special report, Outlook 2013. It’s a promotional piece to attract new members who then get a subscription to The Futurist.

  • Better health, but fewer doctors.
    A projected shortage of more than 90,000 doctors by 2020 will drive technological innovations such as low-cost, point-of-care diagnostics—i.e., Lab-on-a-Chip technologies. A cell-phone-sized device could analyze your blood or sputum while you talk to a health provider from the comfort of your home. —Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, “The Abundance Builders,” July-Aug 2012,p. 17
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mHealthTalk and Social Media Statistics

Friends from Beyond is shown as an Internet cloud hosting email, social media and other websites.

Attribution: This post is based on a Huffington Post article by Brian Honigman (Digital Marketing Executive at Mark Ecko Enterprises), with notes added about our own use of social media.

With Pinterest expanding its features for businesses, Instagram launching a Web version and Facebook continually expanding its advertising options, now is as good a time as ever to bolster your social media presence for the future.

Before doing so, it’s important to understand the data behind each social channel to gain insights into what works and what doesn’t with your audience. Here are 100 of the most fascinating social media statistics and figures from 2012 that can help you better understand Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Plus for the coming year.

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Older Adults’ Acceptance of Assistive Robots for the Home

RobotThe following is taken from a Georgia Tech research project that was supported in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Aging) under the auspices of the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE-center.org). The market research explored general awareness and likely acceptance of assistive robots among 21 independent living seniors.

Robots have the potential to support older adults at home as they age in place, as well as if they live in assisted living or skilled nursing residences. They can conceivably support older adults for various activities, including self-maintenance and enhanced activities of daily living. For example, robots could assist older adults in performing a task, such as providing stability as they get dressed. They could also execute tasks that older adults can no longer do themselves, such as opening a jar, or tasks that may be unsafe to perform, such as retrieving items from a high shelf or (eventually) driving a car.

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Health Care Waste: What $750 billion could buy.

What could $750 billion buy?According to the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM), “Thirty cents of every dollar spent on U.S. health care – a total of $750 billion – was wasted in 2009 on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud and other problems.”

There are many ways to portray healthcare inefficiencies. One way is to ridicule the industry by reflecting its waste onto other industries, as listed below. Another is to explore what the $750 billion in wasted money could buy, as Allison McCartney did in her infographic (below). We could also examine what’s possible if healthcare were to adopt best practices from other industries, including the computer industry.

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Poverty in America — it’s not what you think.

As our presidential candidates debate the issues, what will they say about Poverty in America? And how do they plan to address the problem?

Click to send a custom tweet, saying Lets Talk Poverty

 

The Line is an important documentary that cover the stories of people across the country living at or below the poverty line. They have goals. They have children. They work hard. They are people like you and me. Across America, millions are struggling every day to make it above The Line.

Poverty is a drag on the economy that also affects the cost of healthcare, as I’ve written before in this blog.

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What’s Possible for Health Care?

If a new healthcare model saved $1 trillion per year, then those who wouldn’t get their old share would vigorously fight such disruptive change. So what’s possible and what’s likely are two different things.

The infographic below looks at some goals for the U.S. health care system and how they might be achieved by adopting practices used by other industries. It makes me think of my early days at IBM, where I compared tech innovation in the Computer industry with that of  the Airlines industry.

“If the airline industry evolved with the same speed as the computer industry, we could fly half way around the world in an hour for fifty cents worth of gasoline in an airplane too small to sit in and when we arrived at our destination it would be cheaper to throw the plane away than to have it serviced and parked overnight.”

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6 Ways TV Might Be Killing You

Reprinted with permission from Online Psychology Degree

According to the latest statistics, watching television is America’s No. 1 pastime, and Americans watch an average of four hours and 39 minutes of television every day. For people lucky enough to get eight hours of sleep a night, the time spent watching television eats up one-quarter of their waking life, and their life may shorten considerably unless they can summon up the nerve to unplug their big screens. So before you set your DVR to record the two-hour premiere of that new reality show where two competing families of forensic scientists swap their pets for medical experiments, consider these six ways watching television might be killing you.

1. Too much sitting:

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Sleep Apnea and Poverty

Sleep Apnea and Poverty: How Socioeconomics Impacts Proper Diagnosis And Treatment

Poor Sleep For The PoorBy Susan Redline, MD, MPH and Dr. Michelle A. Williams, ScD

Individuals from disadvantaged neighborhoods and racial/ethnic minorities are at increased risk for sleep disorders due to a variety of environmental exposures, occupational and psychosocial conditions, and possibly genetic factors. Editor: They also have higher rates of obesity and other health conditions, and they don’t live as long.

A wide range of serious health problems disproportionately afflict individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. These conditions, which reduce quality of life and shorten lifespan, include heart disease, stroke, diabetes,asthma, and cancer. Other health problems commonly associated with poverty are obesity,pregnancy complications, increased infant mortality,HIV/AIDS and dental disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s “Healthy People 2020,” which sets 10-year national objectives for improving the health of the nation, has prioritized the need to close the gap in these “health disparities.” There are numerous potential targets for improving the health of low-income people, such as improving nutrition and access to health care. In addition, accumulating research points to a need to improve sleep as means for improving alertness and daily functioning, as well as for reducing the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

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How will you pay your lifetime $4 million healthcare bill?

Your $4 Million Bill and The Anatomy of Health InsuranceThe following infographic shows that a typical 22 year old worker and his employer can expect to pay over $4,000,000 in his lifetime for healthcare and health insurance. That number seemed awfully high, so I created a spreadsheet model to see if I could match it. I did, and here are my assumptions.

  • Starting salary at age 22 = $53,000 ($870,000/year by age 70)
  • Annual salary increase = 6% compounded
  • Percent of income for healthcare = 18%, increasing by 0.3% per year

I assumed a modest salary that increased at 6% compounded each year, but that’s a simplistic view since raises are larger earlier in a career and generally taper off (or even go negative) as you get older. I calculated to age 70 to account for longer lifespans and the likelihood that young people will continue working that long by then.

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Physicians find and help Patients through Social Media

In Patients Find and Help Each other in Social Media, I showed how they’re actively turning to the Internet to find solutions when their doctors don’t have the answers. And a new report by the Health Research Institute at PwC shows that patient social media activity dwarfs that of the healthcare industry.

Simplified graphic of social media in health

 

Now the infographic below is about physicians going online to find and support patients through social media and telemedicine programs. Read More …

Consumers use Social Media more than Health Companies

This report complements my earlier article on Patients Find and Help Each other in Social Media.
Rest assured that I’ll be devouring its contents, contacting its authors, and reporting my findings.

Consumer Activity on Social Media Sites Dwarfs that of Healthcare Companies, Finds New PwC Study on Social Media in HealthcareClick on report cover to view Social Media Report

New York, April 17, 2012 – Social media is changing the nature of healthcare interaction, and health organizations that ignore this virtual environment may be missing opportunities to engage consumers, according to a new report by the Health Research Institute (HRI) at PwC US entitled, “Social media likes healthcare: From marketing to social business.”

The report found that social media activity by hospitals, health insurers and pharmaceutical companies is miniscule compared to the activity on community sites. While eight in 10 healthcare companies (as tracked by HRI during a sample one-week period) had a presence on various social media sites, community sites had 24 times more social media activity than corporate sites. The finding holds significant implications for businesses looking to capitalize on social media opportunities.

Liking, following, linking, tagging, stumbling: social media is changing the nature of health-related interactions.

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10 Forecasts for the Future of Healthcare

World Future Society's special report on 20 Forecasts for the Next 25 YearsFORESIGHT may be the single most critical skill for the 21st Century. Knowledge quickly goes out of date, but foresight enables you to anticipate and navigate change, make good decisions, and take action to create a better future.

That’s why I’ve been a member of the Central Texas chapter of the World Future Society for years, where I meet interesting people with widely varied perspectives of the future. It’s also why I participate in so many Linkedin discussion groups on emerging healthcare issues.

The following ten forecasts came from the World Future Society’s special report, Forecasts for the Next 25 Years. It’s a promotional piece to attract new members who then get a subscription to The Futurist magazine.

Forecast #3. Nanotechnology offers hope for restoring eyesight.

Flower-shaped electrodes topped with photodiodes, implanted in blind patients’ eyes, may restore their sight. The “nanoflowers” mimic the geometry of neurons, making them a better medium than traditional computer chips for carrying photodiodes and transmitting the collected light signals to the brain. Read More …

Digital Divide Still Prevalent

Among seniors, Internet and broadband use drop off around age 75By Lisa Nelson, http://blog.howto.gov/2012/04/20/digital-divide-still-prevalent/

The rapid adoption of mobile and mobile devices is providing Internet access to those who had little or no none before.

With almost 90% of American twenty-somethings accessing the Internet through smartphones or tablets, the digital divide may narrow significantly by the end of the decade.

Despite this sunny future, a PEW Internet report looks at differences in digital access and use among American adults and finds one in five people do not use the Internet.

While increased Internet adoption and the rise of mobile connectivity have reduced many gaps in technology access over the past decade, for some groups digital disparities still remain.

The report finds that those most likely to be part of the digital divide include: Read More …

How did we get to 7 billion people so fast?

I was born into a world with about 2.5 billion people, but there are now over 7 billion.

Better medicine and improved agriculture have resulted in longer life expectancies and a dramatic increase in world population. As higher standards of living and better health care reach more parts of the world and bring birth control, population growth should slow, but U.N. forecasters still predict a world peak of over 10 billion by 2100. As population then declines, there will be significantly fewer working people to support the elderly, and that poses an economic dilemma for future generations.

NPR’s video, 7 Billion: How Did We Get So Big So Fast? uses colored liquids to visualize population growth on different continents. WATCH BELOW

 

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Wireless Health as Cure for U.S. Healthcare Business

The Battle for Wireless Health May Help Cure an Ailing US Healthcare Business

U.S. Business School War Game Predicts Mergers and New Services to Gain Affluent Boomer Market ShareWar Games and the Battle for Wireless Healthcare

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Healthcare technology companies – ranging from large such as GE to startups like Independa – will need to find partners and cater to the affluent Baby Boomer generation and their caregivers if they are to take the lead in wireless health, an industry that promises to help reduce much of the estimated $2.5 trillion of wasted resources in the global healthcare system. This was among the predictions of a national war gaming contest held between four top business schools and run by Fuld & Company last week in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Read More …

The Legacy of a Digital Generation

What will be your legacy? Will future generations remember you, what you did, and what you valued?

Two librarians wrote “The Legacy of a Digital Generation,” a Huffington Post article that I responded to and that is the basis of today’s post. It got me thinking about the advantages of physical media (such as books, a collections of photos, or video tapes) versus digital media (like those shown above). It also got me thinking about the different perspectives people have, where the librarians’ jobs related to physical books, and mine is from being an IBM technologist. You can follow the link for their perspectives, but read on for mine. Read More …

Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update

Valuing the Invaluable: 2011 Update
The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving

In 2009, about 42.1 million family caregivers in the United States provided care to an adult with limitations in daily activities at any given point in time, and about 61.6 million provided care at some time during the year. The estimated economic value of their unpaid contributions was approximately $450 billion in 2009, up from an estimated $375 billion in 2007.

From the Introduction of this AARP Public Policy Institute report: “Family support is a key driver in remaining in one’s home and in the community, but it comes at substantial costs to the caregivers themselves, to their families, and to society. If family caregivers were no longer available, the economic cost to the U.S. health care and long-term services and supports (LTSS) systems would increase astronomically.”

This updated report provides national and state estimates of the economic value of family care. Here are some highlights:

  • 65% of family caregivers are female.
  • More than 80% are caring for a relative or friend age 50 or older.
  • The “average” U.S. caregiver is a 49-year-old woman who works outside the home and also spends nearly 20 hours per week providing unpaid care to her mother for nearly five years.
  • The 2009 economic burden of $450 billion/year is based on 42.1 million caregivers providing an average of 18.4 hours of care per week at a value of $11.16 per hour.
  • $450 billion is more than total Medicaid spending including both federal and state contributions.$450 billion is close to the total Medicare expenditures in 2009 ($509 billion).
  • $450 billion is more than the total sales of the 3 largest car companies combined (Toyota, Ford & Daimler totaled $439 billion).
  • $450 billion is almost $1,500 for every US citizen regardless of age.
  • $450 billion is about 3.2% of US GDP ($14.1 trillion in 2009).