Caretakers harness the Internet of Things

What Caretakers Can Do RIGHT NOW to Harness the Power of the Internet of Things

By Beth Kelly

SThe Internet of Thingsocial technology and home automation have moved upstream. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, nearly one-third of seniors own a tablet or e-book reader. Almost 50 percent of seniors own high-speed Internet access and browse the Web at least 3-5 times per week.

These typing, Skyping, texting seniors are the next beneficiaries of the Internet of things (IoT), the growing network of WiFi-enabled appliances, wearable sensors, automated security systems and other connected devices. For instance, researchers at UCLA are investigating how to use WearSens, a piezoelectric necklace, to remotely monitor breathing patterns of recovering surgery patients. BrainAid offers the PEAT smartphone app to help seniors with memory loss live independently with scheduling assistance.

The revolution is now. Here’s how to get involved. Read More …

The End of Moore’s Law? Don’t Bet on it.

Digital MindIn Moore’s Law and The Future of Health Care, I offer a vision of healthcare based on exponential advancements in tech innovation as described by Gordon Moore. Moore is an Intel cofounder and is credited with observing that computer circuits have shrunk in size and doubling in compute capacity every two years. Moore’s Law is what drives down costs & size, but that logarithmic trend is not easy to grasp. So let’s look at two analogies explaining a 60,000 improvement in cost and 90,000 improvement in speed since Intel started tracking computer chips in the 1960’s.

COST — If the price of cars and gas improved exponentially at the same rate as computer chips, we’d be able to buy a new car for about 8-cents today and would only spend 2-cents per year on gas. At that rate, cars would be disposable, and we might just buy a new one for each trip, as a fashion accessory matched to our outfit.

SPEED — If the speed of air travel advanced at the same exponential rate as computing, today we’d be able to fly from the U.S. to Japan in less than a second, but the plane would be just over 1-tenth of an inch long.

Industry analysts keep predicting the end of Moore’s Law, arguing for many reasons that computer chips can only get so small or so cheap, and today I responded to another article about The End of Moore’s Law. Here’s my response, which shows optimism from my 30 years at IBM (I retired in 1999) and my interest in technology as a futurist. Read More …

Make it Possible – about overcoming disabilities

Stephen Hawking

Click image for other quotes as Stephen Hawking turns 73.

I’m always inspired by pioneering tech ideas that help people overcome physical or mental disabilities, so the videos that follow caught my attention. They’re about EyeWriter and BrainWriter, which use eye movements and brainwaves to help people with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease). ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causes loss of muscle control, including the ability to breathe, and thus leads to early death.

The famous theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, has helped to bring attention to the disease and what can be done with a severe disability by beating the odds and living past age 70.

Don Moir: ALS patient, husband, and father

In the video below, watch Don write a love letter to his wife and audibly say “I love you, Lorraine” for the first time in 15 years, thanks to a digital solution by the Not Impossible team, Speak Your Mind Foundation and HP’s #BendTheRules.


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How to Make a Smart Bed for your Smart Bedroom

Luna

Here’s you can make a smart bed for your smart bedroom.

Because good sleep so closely tied to good health, I’ve posted dozens of articles about sleep, including many about technology and how artificial lights interfere with our biological clocks and sleep-wake cycle. I’ve also been working with Dr. Bruce Meleski to open Intelligent Sleep, a new sleep wellness and brain health center here in Austin. We’re doing some pretty cool stuff with metabolic, neurosensory, and behavioral therapies, and we’re promoting a vision of the Smart Bedroom. So today’s post is about a new product we hope to carry and that I think you’ll like. (video below) Read More …

The Elusive Smart Home

With the annual Consumer Electronics Show starting next week, the news media is filled with marketing hype about the elusive Smart Home market, which is nearly as misdirected today as it was in 1957. Watch this video of the RCA-Whirlpool® Miracle Kitchen and ask how many of those products you can buy today.

Whirlpool was wrong 58 years ago when it introduced its Miracle Kitchen, and I think it’s wrong about home automation today too. All the company did was offer a Smart Home vision that never crossed the chasm to mass-market adoption. The problem wasn’t a lack of sensors, actuators, electronics, or network standards, but marketing and the inability to understand consumer needs and wants, or the ability to show a value proposition or deliver a solution with ease of use and affordability.

I still have seen no company that “gets it” or knows how to deliver the smart home vision — not Whirlpool and not Apple or Microsoft or Google or Philips or BestBuy. A lot of innovation has occurred in the last 50-some years that is getting us closer to that vision, including smartphones and the Internet of Things, but there are still many marketing barriers that these companies don’t seem to understand. Read More …

MiniTrends affecting Telehealth

Skype TranslatorOverlapping MiniTrends affecting Telehealth include

  1. health reform,
  2. the Internet of Things,
  3. speech recognition & synthesis, and
  4. real-time language translation.

I’ve written a lot here about health reform, telehealthmedical tourism, the Internet of Things, and the overlap of healthcare MiniTrends, but today I saw a video that evolves my thinking further. It’s about Microsoft’s Skype and their newest Skype Translator Preview.

The Skype Translator video below gave me a glimpse of what telehealth might be like in 5 years or so. This vision includes the Internet, video consultations, smart sensors, and the trend of medical devices becoming smaller, cheaper, easier to use, and widely used among consumers for telemedicine. But the video consultation may be done from anywhere, in any language, and that could dramatically increase competition and result in much better outcomes at lower prices.

As you watch, imagine that it’s a conversation between you and a doctor in Costa Rica, where you went for your knee surgery and recovered on the beach in a 4-star hotel, paid for by your insurer because the outcomes were better than most any U.S. provider. It’s the sheer volume of procedures they do that led to their world-class expertise and efficiency.  Read More …

Bluetooth versus ZigBee and Z-Wave

Bluetooth Competition

Dave Mayne of Resolution Products discusses security, home automation, ZigBee 3.0, Z-Wave, Bluetooth Low Energy and mesh networks.

My friend Julie Jacobson wrote a piece in CE Pro magazine about her interview with Dave Mayne of Resolution Products about three standards competing for wireless domination. Today’s article features my response.

Bluetooth versus ZigBee and Z-Wave

Anyone working with wireless networks, medical devices, home automation, or The Internet of Things should benefit from understanding lessons learned with HomeRF and why it ultimately lost out as the preferred standard for wireless home networking. Here’s a subset of history from http://www.cazitech.com/HomeRF_Archives.htm

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Make Remote Monitoring Simple

Evermind MonitorsEvermind has a cool idea and product that in my mind can make remote monitoring simple and less intrusive, tracking deviations from everyday activities such as making coffee, watching TV, or turning on lamps.

Details are still scarce since the company has just secured funding to commercialize the product, but I see real potential as long as the cost of the device and monitoring service is reasonable. Watch the video below for more information or read the funding announcement at MEDCITY News. Read More …

101 MiniTrends in Health Care

Watch for Trends Ahead

This image is from MiniTrends, a book by John Vanston that I strongly endorse. I’ve known John for years and did consulting work for his company, Technology Futures. His book inspired the vision of Modern Health Talk, because it helped me see unfulfilled opportunity at the intersection of trends. (Click image to see book)

“What the Hell is happening to health care?”

“And is it an Opportunity or a Threat?”

Insights by Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk.

An awful lot has changed in just the last few years and even more will change in the near future, with the aim of reducing (or at least containing) our health care costs. What’s behind these MiniTrends, and what is their implication for providers, payers and consumers? That’s the $1.5 trillion question. Here I talk about many, many MiniTrends–surely you can find 101 of them if you look! 

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin

That quote is important, because 429 of the original Fortune 500 companies [1955] are no longer in business today. That’s a scary thought for those sitting at the top of the healthcare mountain, because they know they must adapt to the megatrend of health reform and Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) or die. And they are looking down with fear at the hungry competitors who are already exploiting the many related minitrends, because for them these are times of great opportunity.

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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 …

Desperate Patients Look to Lab-Grown Organs

Hannah WarrenLast week Yvonne and I watched a two-hour NBC News special report by Meredith Vieira, A Leap of Faith, that blew us away and had us both to tears. It was about an Italian scientist and surgeon, Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, and his pioneering accomplishments with human organs grown in a lab with a patient’s own stem cells, as well as the struggles he faces in this important new field. His work is described as shaping the future of medicine and is focused on transplanting artificially grown trachea.

One of the featured patients was little Hannah Warren. Hannah was born without a trachea. She couldn’t breathe on her own and spent her entire life in the hospital, only kept alive by a tube inserted down her mouth and into her lungs. Read More …

Apple to enter Home Automation market?

Apple, Home Automation & Smart Aging by Stealth

guest article by Joseph F Coughlin, Director of the MIT AgeLab

Smart HouseThe word on the street is that Apple is set to announce a major foray into home automation next week at its annual developers conference. As noted by other analysts, Apple’s move into the home coincides with similar investments made by companies such as Intel, Cisco, Samsung, Microsoft, and, of course, Google. Regardless of which company ultimately presents the best value proposition to consumers, the resulting smart home of the future is likely to be the house you live in today, with a significant IQ boost thanks to a wide range of accessories and wireless devices that are all part of what is now widely known as the Internet of Things. Read More …

Powering tiny medical circuits in the body

Batteryless Electrostimulator

A batteryless electrostimulator next to medicinal pills for size comparison. (Photo: Austin Lee)

In my interview last year with Dr. Metin Akay, he described the daunting problem of powering tiny computer chips deep inside the body. Neurologists, he said, can already control the misfiring of rogue neurons that cause epilepsy by implanting small electrodes in the brain cluster of misbehaving neurons, but they still must resolve battery-life issues and need a reliable power source.

Today they do this by connecting the electrodes to a power source worn outside the body, but Stanford assistant professor of electrical engineering, Ada Poon, has found a safe way to transfer energy to tiny circuits the size of a grain of rice using targeted ratio waves. Read More …

The Future of Health – Expert Perspectives

This video compilation of expert perspectives describes a future that relies largely on technology to address expected doctor shortages as the population grows, ages, and lives longer. It’s from PSFK Labs’s latest Health Trends Report, which rounds up 13 areas of innovation and groups them into four categories.

  1. Nudging and encouraging people to make healthier lifestyle choices
  2. Empowering people to gather advice and self-diagnose before ever going to a doctor
  3. Distributing care among doctors with a cloud-based “commons” that allows them to share research and advice
  4. Augmenting care with wearable, embed-able, and prosthetic monitors and devices

For my deeper dive into what tech innovation will enable, see Moore’s Law and the FUTURE of Healthcare.

Can Fall Monitoring Technology Keep Elders Safe?

Falling DownBy Rein Tideiksaar Ph.D., PA-C

The most effective way for elders and/or their caregivers to address the issue of falling is to:

  • First, visit the doctor and find out why a loved one is at risk or why falls are occurring (remember that falls are not normal but may represent an underlying health condition requiring investigation).
  • Second, after fall risk factors and/or causes of falling have been identified, elders and their caregivers can address those risks by taking proper steps to avoid fallsRead More …

10 startups to bring digital health to seniors

By Stephanie Baum (original on MedCityNews.com)

LiftwareSeniors tend to be marginalized when it comes to digital health. Given the fact that AARP’s membership starts at 5o, its membership base spans a wide range of technical ability, so inevitably some will be left out or feel like they’ve been overlooked.  These 10 healthcare startups, which have made the finalist cut for AARP’s Innovation @ 50+ LivePitch, have taken different approaches to practical concerns such as how mobile health apps, services and tracking devices fit into the lives of their users. Among their solutions are apps for caretakers, sensors to track balance and urinary tract infections to catch costly problems early and telepsychology.

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Technology and the Senior Housing Industry

Is Technology Disrupting or Transforming the Senior Housing Industry?

Visiting GrandmaThis is the question posed by Joseph F Coughlin, Director of the MIT AgeLab, in his article, which is reproduced below with his permission.

The disruptive demographics of an aging society offers a growth opportunity for the senior housing industry. However, technology is also presenting new ways to enable older adults to stay in their own homes rather than move into senior housing options. Yet many of these same technologies, creatively applied, may improve the attractiveness and operational efficiency of senior housing. So is technology a threat or an opportunity for the senior housing industry? The answer is – yes. 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 …

How Tech makes Long Distance Caregiving Easier

Caregiving 2.0:
How Technology Makes Long Distance Caregiving Easier

By Michelle Seitzer

Stethoscope on a Computer KeyboardToday’s guest post is by Melody Wilding, a licensed medical social worker (LMSW) and Community Manager for eCaring.com.

It’s 11 a.m. Two meetings down: what’s next? Maybe check emails or tackle the pile of papers growing on your desk?

Just as you’re hitting a stride, the phone rings. It’s Mom … and something is wrong. She fell this morning. Read More …