eHealth Radio interviews Modern Health Talk founder

Image of Wayne Caswell, founder of Modern Health TalkeHealth Radio host Eric Michaels recently interviewed Modern Health Talk founder Wayne Caswell, and we thank him for letting us share our story with his audience. You can listen to the recorded podcast below, visit for related radio programs, or read Wayne’s program notes below.

Wayne Caswell discusses and answers the following:

  • What is Modern Health Talk, and what unique perspective do you bring?
  • Aging-in-Place and Universal Design are terms we often hear today, but what do they mean, and who is most interested?
  • Please describe the size of the problem and the market opportunity for solutions.
  • So what technical solutions address the rising healthcare costs and improve quality?
  • Can you mention some other Technologies for home healthcare as an alternative to more institutional care?

Program Notes

1. What is Modern Health Talk, and what unique perspective do you bring?
  • New online COMMUNITY (website, blog, discussion forum, and social network)
  • focused on LOW- and HIGH-TECH Solutions for Home Healthcare and Aging-in-Place
  • People who visit our site include Care GIVERS and RECIPIENTS, but
  • our Primary Audience is the Sandwich Generation, nearing retirement themselves and split between keeping up with their own adult children and grandkids on one hand, and caring for their elderly parents on the other.
  • They’re relatively tech-savy and looking for ways to make things easier.
  • PERSPECTIVE: Although my wife’s a Registered Nurse, I am Not a Healthcare Professional. I’m a technologist, futurist and marketing strategist – a retired IBMer with a modest pension and on Social Security. I’ve turned into a Social Entrepreneur and am trying to address the Rising Care Costs and need for Healthcare Reforms as more people retire, live longer, and strain the healthcare system.
  • I am also a Consumer Advocate with experience lobbying the legislature and in building websites and online communities.
2. Aging-in-Place and Universal Design are terms we often hear today, but what do they mean, and who is most interested?
  • AGING-IN-PLACE is a term that evolved from AARP market research.
  • That research found that >90% of people over age 65 want to age at home with familiar surroundings as long as possible, rather than being forced into an institution.
  • Avg. Nursing Home private room = $83,000 a year in 2010 (MetLife)
  • Avg. Assisted Living rent = $39,000 a year
  • Avg. Home Care = $18,000/yr (including occasional assistance from a health aid, meals on wheels, maid or lawn service, etc.)
  • The term Aging-in-Place generally covers ways to make the home Safe, Comfortable, and Supportive of Aging.
  • UNIVERSAL DESIGN might also be called Ageless Design. It’s a set of principles for designing Homes, Products and Services that are accessible to all, regardless of age or ability. It’s NOT about products for Seniors or the Disabled, or products that scream “I’m Old & Frail.” They hate that.
  • Think about how useful a Zero-step Entryway is (or a Stair Ramp) when you’re pushing a Stroller or pulling Wheeled Luggage. It’s not just about wheelchairs and scooters.
  • The same goes for replacing Doorknobs and Twist Faucet Handles with Lever Handles. They’re easier to use if you have Arthritis, or if you’ve got your Hands Full of Groceries, or when you’re working in the kitchen and have hands Covered with Cooking Grease.
  • Universal Design has become a university curriculum and a program of the National Association of Home Builders – the Certified Aging in Place Specialist program (or CAPS).
  • Even MIT is involved. You may have seen their AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System) on TV. It’s a special suit that lets the wearer experience what it’s like to be 80 years old, and it helps industry design products for all abilities.
3. Please describe the size of the problem and the market opportunity for solutions.


  • U.S. Health care costs already exceeded $2.3 trillion in 2008 (Consumer Healthcare Products Association)
  • As the 70M Baby Boomers reach retirement age, take Social Security, and rely on Medicare, they’ll increase the healthcare burden.
  • Back when Medicaid & Medicare were enacted, the average Lifespan was 67 years, but now it’s more than 78 years.
  • A dramatic new approach is needed, and its urgency is near critical, because more than 10,000 seniors reach age 65 every day, and they’re Living Longer. That’s largely due to Technology innovations, but Tech is also a solution.
  • On the Caregiver side, over 65M unpaid Family Caregivers average 20hrs/wk caring for a loved one. The financial impact is $480B/year in lost worker productivity, reduced earning capacity & retirement income, and increases in their own physical & emotional costs. That’s about 3.2% of the U.S. GDP in 2009, which was $14.1 trillion.
  • It’s not just about Seniors, even though care needs increase with age and 80% of people over age 80 have a disability. Some 26M adults & children live with Diabetes, and 60M more have Asthma and/or Allergies. Over 100M Americans have a family member with a disability, and another 100M suffer from one or more chronic illnesses.


  • I believe we can save Trillions by moving at least half of healthcare services from institutions to homes, and that’s why I started Modern Health Talk.
  • Nursing Home care is much more expensive than In-Home care, and 70% of nursing home residents are on Medicaid because those high costs depleted their assets.
  • I wrote an article two weeks ago about how Home Renovations can Save the Estate and help keep people off of Medicaid.
4. So what technical solutions address the rising healthcare costs and improve quality?
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (applied to Home Healthcare):

1. Physiological/Survival (food, water, shelter, sleep, hygene) – Bath/Kitchen remodel
2. Safety & Security (personal, financial, health & well-being) – falls, PERS, monitoring, insurance, wealth management
3. Love & Belonging (family, friendship, intimacy) – social media, telepresence
4. Esteem (respect, status, mastery, profession/hobby) – contributing to community
5. Self-actualization (fulfillment, realized potential) – applied talents

  • LOW-TECH solutions like:
    • wider doorways
    • replacing door knobs & sink faucets with lever-style latches & handles
    • Stair ramps and lifts and elevators
    • Bath/Kitchen remodels
    • Automation (from night light to remote control of Lights, Door Locks, Thermostat
  • HIGH-Tech solutions like:
    • Remote Monitoring of Environmental or nano-tech Medical Sensors and Bio-markers.
    • Smart Phones & Tablets to bridge between the in-home or mobile sensors – pulse, blood pressure, glucose, Coumadin, O2 – and the Remote Monitoring Service.
      • iPad2 as ideal Home Health Gateway with iCloud and iOS5
      • 500K/18K apps, search
    • Bionics and
    • Home & Healthcare Robots
    • Smart Skin
    • Thought Control
5. Can you mention some other Technologies for home healthcare as an alternative to more institutional care?
  • High-def Telepresence & Video Conferencing
  • Electronic Medical Records (doctor, hospital, insurance company) & Personal Health Records
    • Contacts & Medical History (ailments & past conditions, allergies, medications, and doctor/hospital visits) for Each Family Member
    • Secure Access (wallet, bracelet, tattoo, implant)
6. In Conclusion, can you give us a tip to close with?
  • Yes. Start Planning NOW, and Boomer-Proof your home. Do it Before you need to. Do it Before you break a leg or have a serious Accident or illness and Before Aging Relatives visit or move in.
  • When looking for more information, start with Modern Health Talk ( Explore the website and blog. In just a few months, it has become one of the best resources on the net and has a large collection of links to industry and support groups.
  • And please send us Feedback so we can evolve this online community to best serve your needs.

About Wayne Caswell

As a technologist, futurist and marketing strategist with IBM, Dell, Siemens and his own consulting firm, Wayne knows the positive effect digital technologies can have on society and the challenges of adopting them. His passions include “Technologies for Home Healthcare and Aging-in-Place” and “Universal Adoption of BIG Broadband.” His vision is “Consumers with Easy access to services and service providers with Equal access to consumers.”

Wayne’s corporate experience, management style and personal outlook began with a 30-year career at IBM, progressing from operations and system engineering to marketing and strategy. He introduced the company to the Home Systems industry, helped develop a Digital Home strategy, and held leadership positions on various industry standards committees. And when he retired from IBM, Wayne founded CAZITech Consulting to help organizations find and exploit opportunities in broadband, wireless and home networking markets.

Wayne’s advocacy began when he served on the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee and successfully lobby the Texas legislature to protect the rights of communities to install municipal networks.

Wayne now serves as president and senior editor of Modern Health Talk, an online community that he founded to connect people with low- and high-tech solutions for home healthcare and to help control our nation’s spiraling healthcare costs.

Wayne holds four degrees including a BS in Technology Management from American University. He lives with his wife of 33 years in Austin and is a member of the Austin Wireless Alliance, CABA (Continental Automated Buildings Association), and the World Future Society.

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