Home Automation Shows Promise for Seniors, but HomeKit Isn’t the Answer – Yet

By Beth Kelly

Home automation has been a mixed blessing for senior citizens and those who provide their care. Individual assistive technologies and comprehensive smart home “ecosystems” are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and they’re more capable than ever of understanding older user’s needs and capabilities.

The development of comprehensive home technology platforms – such as Apple’s HomeKit and Google’s Home – has accelerated hopes that technology’s role in senior care will continue to make rapidly meaningful strides, via the ever-widening Internet of Things (IoT).

Smart Home applications of IoT

Integrating Disparate Subsystems

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How to stay connected with parents from far away

When mom got dementia, I was stuck overseas.

When mom got dementia, I was stuck overseas. (Photo credit: Chad King, https://www.flickr.com/photos/chdwckvnstrsslhm/208884800/sizes/z/, Some rights reserved)

By Daniel Lewis

Following my mom’s diagnosis of dementia, I got stuck. I was in shock and had no idea what to do since I was working abroad. I couldn’t leave my job, my kids and my home overseas to come back and take care of her, and I felt incredibly guilty for that. I have no siblings and no relatives that could help, so I had to find a solution. Read More …

Are Crypto-Currencies Safe?

Here's a Bitcoin - at least a representation of one since they're actually electronic

Here’s a Bitcoin – at least a representation of one since they’re actually electronic

Last week Yvonne and I closed on the sale of our Austin home and the purchase of another home in the Dallas area. The process was simpler than I remember from the past, and since we paid cash for the new home, we didn’t even need a notary. I just downloaded a few forms, signed them on the kitchen table, scanned into the computer, and sent them back to the Title Company through a secure email service. This experience foretells the future, but are crypto-currencies safe? Really safe?

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting research papers related to blockchain applications in healthcare. Blockchain is the enabling technology behind BitCoin and other crypto-currencies, and it’s catching on fast — maybe too fast. Judge for yourself. Read More …

Medical Alert Systems

Reviews.com recently published a review of The Best Medical Alert Systems, and they gave me permission to repost it here as long as I met their requirements.

Three out of our four final contenders shared the exact same technology. Clockwise from the top left: Acadian On Call, MobileHelp, Medical Guardian, Bay Alarm Medical.

Medical Alert Systems — Help at the push of a button

Nearly 90 percent of seniors say they prefer to live in their own homes, and most expect to stay there. It’s called “aging in place” and put simply: no assisted living facilities. Family members want to respect these wishes, but the risks are real. According to the National Council on Aging, one in three adults age 65 and older experience a fall each year, let alone other emergencies. The best medical alert systems address these risks with reliable devices that can connect seniors with help, keeping them safely independent — and giving family members one less thing to worry about. Our top pick, Bay Alarm Medical, goes even further with attentive, personable service. In an emergency, we’d feel comfortable with a loved one in the company’s hands. Read More …

Wireless Networks and Electromagnetic Radiation

Schumann Resonance

RESONANCE is eye-opening documentary, revealing the biological harm from wireless networks and electromagnetic radiation. The entire documentary is included here with some added comments. Most troubling to me are the long-term effects of electromagnetic radiation on cellular structures, cancer, and Melatonin, an important antioxidant and sleep-inducing hormone. Read More …

20-20 Vision of Digital Life in 2025

Pew Research Center recently published its vision of Digital Life in 2025, based on predictions from over 1,000 experts who generally said the Internet would become “like electricity” – more deeply embedded in our lives but less visible.

Word Cloud - Pew Research examines Digital Life in 2025

Before I present the top 15 themes from the Pew report, here’s my own Back to the Future vision of technology and and its impact & challenges, based on an article I wrote 11 years ago. It looked back 20 years to George Orwell’s 1984 and then forward 20 to the year 2024, and I present it here because it’s helpful to see a history of where things have come from as you contemplate the future. Futurists, however, will tell you that forecasting is not as simple as just extrapolating trends. Read More …

64% of Consumers Ready for Telehealth (survey)

As a technologist and founder of Modern Health Talk, I advocate for telehealth, including remote doctor visits by video, but I wondered about how ready consumers are for this vision of the future of healthcare. Well, market research from American Well, a telehealth company, answered that. Here’s a summary of their 2015 Telehealth Consumer Survey. Read More …

Telemedicine as good as a Doctor visit?

Video ConsultationVirtual doctor visits via video conference are starting to go mainstream, with some people putting them on par with a regular trip to the doctor’s office. UnitedHealthcare, announcing that they’ll cover virtual doctor visits through American Well, Doctor on Demand, and NowClinic, is the latest to jump on the telemedicine bandwagon.

While these consultations previously would cost $40-50 per call, United members will only be charged a regular co-pay, making virtual medicine more affordable for more people. Coverage of the virtual visits will only be available only to UnitedHealth’s self-funded customers, as opposed to those with employer-funded plans, but the feature will expand next year to most members, showing just how fast telemedicine is taking off. Read More …

Why should I Tweet or even Read Tweets

Why should I tweet or even read what other people tweet?

TwitterBy Janice Friesen

I am regularly asked why anyone would use Twitter. This is because I work mostly with people aged 40-80 who have not used technology much. I always try to respond with my own experience. Sometimes I have used it and sometimes I ignore it for months. I don’t feel like I have to read what everyone I follow says. If I don’t like what someone I follow writes about I can stop following them without any hurt feelings. I can choose to only follow people who write and share what I think are interesting things. Once a friend I knew shared about the Egyptian Spring AS IT HAPPENED!

When I share it is because I have found an interesting resource. Or maybe I have had a universal and interesting experience. Maybe I retweet something I think is really important that someone else tweeted. Also, many teachers I know have found that it is a great way to connect to like-minded people across the globe and support one-another’s teaching. It makes meeting at a conference somewhere really exciting.

This morning though, I read a terrific article in the New York Times Week in Review Section about why Scott Simon of NPR tweeted his Mother’s last hours. It was the best description of why someone tweets that I have come across. I cannot do it justice here, but here is a quote. Read More …

Telehealth Legal Obstacles Delay Home Healthcare

Doctor Robot

DOCTOR ROBOT: Technology like this RP-VITA device at Mercy San Juan Hospital in Carmichael, Calif., lets doctors beam themselves to remote patient bedsides, but government rules need to catch up. (AP / Rich Pedroncelli)

Home telehealth” technology promises to be a critical component of providing quality care to the growing number of Americans who need long-term services and supports to “age in place” at home. Home telehealth and related technology can make it cheaper, easier and more comfortable for seniors to remain at home and avoid nursing facility placement.

But government regulations lag behind telehealth technology, according to this article in the National Law Journal. This is disappointing because “24-hour monitoring would allow Americans who need long-term care to ‘age in place’ at home.”  Read More …

Lack of Fast Internet threatens Telehealth Future

I responded to an online discussion of a call for Congress to Expand Telehealth Services to Improve Patient Access and Outcomes and Decrease Healthcare Costs. Key to delivering telehealth is the availability of high-speed Internet access, and that prompted me to comment on an online conversation of this HIMSS problem description.

The enormous potential of telehealth or telemedicine to positively transform healthcare delivery in America is not being realized due to numerous impediments. These include out-of-date public and private reimbursement structures, inadequate broadband availability, and varying licensure and practice restrictions between some states. … In many areas of the country, there are not enough health professionals to provide in-person visits or appropriate follow up care, especially for mental health and highly specialized services like pediatric critical care. In other areas, distance or unavailability of transportation presents impediments to care.

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Cars for seniors who can’t drive themselves

Google's Driverless Car

EDITOR: When seniors can no longer drive a car, they lose their independence and become dependent on others for the simplest things — shopping for groceries or Christmas gifts, getting a haircut, going the bank or doctor or the movies, and more. That can be devastating and even force them into institution care, ultimately shortening their lifespan. So it’s why I’m a fan of the autonomous, self-driving car, and Google, the company that’s so far leading the way. And it’s why I’m happy to republish this article by Zachary Shahan at FIX.com about cars for seniors who can’t drive themselves.

Hands-Free Driving: Google’s New Driverless Car

One of the biggest tech stories of the year is definitely the unveiling of Google’s driverless car. The general story is this: Google is manufacturing some completely self-driving cars – no steering wheels, accelerator pedals, or brake pedals. But the details are pretty fascinating, and even more interesting are the broad societal implications. Read More …

Remote Patient Monitoring Platforms Emerge

ABI Research logoClose to 100 million wearable remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices will ship over the next 5 years, according to ABI Research. This growth is boosted by the growing interest in moving healthcare away from the hospital and into patients’ homes. A key part of that trend is the ability to collect data from consumer devices and share it securely with patients, healthcare providers, and payers. The last six months alone have seen Apple (HealthKit), Google (Fit), and Samsung (S Health) all announced RPM platform plans.

RPM offers patients greater flexibility and care while bringing efficiency and cost savings to health service providers. While this trend is an opportunity for some, it’s a threat to others. And adoption has been stymied by a range of factors that include device availability, regulation, inertia and a high barrier to entry for new players in the space.
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Telehealth is Shaping Healthcare for the Better

Game ChangerBy Karen R. Thomas, President of Advanced TeleHealth Solutions

As incredibly innovative and efficient as telehealth is at providing greater access to care for consumers, lowering healthcare costs for both patients and healthcare systems, and improving outcomes, barriers have always existed that hinder the widespread adoption of telehealth. Yet recently, issues such as state requirement hurdles, reimbursement limitations, and a general resistance from physicians to learn and integrate new technologies into their care routines are quickly evaporating in the wake of the overwhelming proof of telemedicine’s many benefits. Read More …

Top Home Tech for Seniors [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Tech for Seniors and Caregivers infographic courtesy of Home Access Products.

With innovations in health care, medicine, and nutrition, it’s no surprise that Americans are getting older. By 2030, nearly 20% of Americans will be over 65– and nearly 90% of them want to stay in their own homes as they age.

As aging in place continues to rise, seniors are increasingly looking towards technology to stay safe and connected. From personal alert systems to cell phones and tablets, seniors are embracing technology and all of its benefits. Whether aging seniors are tech-savvy, or prefer simple ways of communicating at home, these products and services can assist seniors with safety, entertainment, health/wellness, communication, and assistance. Read More …

Healthcare in the age of Dr. Google

Dr.GoogleHealthcare in the age of Dr. Google: the 2014 digital patient journey is sponsored by Fathom Healthcare, a healthcare marketing company.

Ask any medical professional what has changed about patient behavior the last few years, and she is sure to talk about a physician who never was accepted to med school … the ubiquitous “Dr. Google.”

When patients start to notice something doesn’t feel quite right, they google their symptoms and make a preliminary diagnosis. In fact, 86 percent of patients conduct a health-related search before scheduling a doctor’s appointment. 90 percent of adults ages 18-24 say they would trust medical information shared by others in their social networks. Forty-one percent say social media impacts their choice of healthcare providers. Read More …

Telemedicine and mHealth Converge

Medicine Unplugged: Your phone, your DNA, your data

 

Telemedicine and M-Health Convergence Market is a new market research report.

EDITOR: I’ll mark highlights and add [occasional notes].

London (PRWEB) November 20, 2013 — Clinical telemedicine services converge with m-health systems of engagement to lower cost of care and improve quality of care. Tele-medicine and M-Health Market Convergence driving forces relate to an overall trend toward ordinary people taking more responsibility for their own health. This trend has been more prevalent for women in the past 100 years than for men because women used to die very young and they had to learn how to keep themselves healthy. Women have been able to reverse this trend of dying young and to live longer than men in the past 40 years, illustrating that paying attention to health is important. Read More …

Telehealth Enhancement Act takes Important Step

Telehealth KioskAs a member of the American Telehealth Association (Austin chapter), I too support the Telehealth Enhancement Act, however I see it as just a baby step and think much more is needed. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.

The proposed bill would modernize the Medicare program by allowing Medicare patients to be cared for remotely by a licensed healthcare provider from any state. That way, if you need medical help while on vacation, you could connect online or by phone with your own doctor back home without requiring that they be licensed in the state you traveled to. I urge Congress to adopt this bill and expand it beyond Medicare, to other federal agencies and health benefit programs.

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16-year old makes Cancer Breakthrough with Open Access

In this video interview, Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, talks with 16-year-old Jack Andraka about how he researched journals online to invent a breakthrough cancer diagnostic test that won the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

As Jack said in the video, the test costs just $0.03, takes just 5 minutes, can discover certain cancers earlier, and is 100% accurate in clinical trials so far. Read More …