Healthcare as Public Utility

healthcare as a public utility - image of health care practitioner with handheld mobile deviceComputing functions once associated with PCs are moving back to big servers in the Internet Cloud, leaving mobile client devices to handle the user interface (UI) but not the data storage and analysis. I find this shift especially interesting, having grown up in the mainframe world at IBM as computing functions moved to PCs.

In the case of speech recognition and Apple’s SIRI artificial intelligence, even the UI function is now split between client & server. This has huge implications for healthcare, with IBM’s Watson and AT&T’s analytics engine aimed at different parts of the healthcare problem.

The networked mobile device (phone, tablet, etc.) will serve as a health gateway between a host of medical & environmental sensors and cloud-based services that collect & analyze the collected data. The benefits will not just target individual patients but be applied across large populations.

Read More …

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

Read More …

Wireless Networks and Electromagnetic Radiation

Schumann Resonance

RESONANCE is eye-opening documentary, revealing the biological harm from and health impact of 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 …

The Smart Home Mess

The networking Tower of Babel contributes to the Smart Home Mess.

I often write about Smart Home technologies that can help seniors or people with disabilities live independently and safely at home, but I also criticize the media and marketers for their excessive hype and for ignoring the smart home mess.

The Smart Home Mess

Today’s posting is my response to, an excellent article by Stacey Higginbotham, published yesterday in FORBES.

The most insightful quote from this article is, “The smart home, for better or worse, is an ecosystem. And so far, most companies are trying to make it a platform.”

MY COMMENT: Even a SMART Home ecosystem, if it targets DIY consumers, is not very smart and will likely fail to reach mass market adoption. That’s because it puts Consumer’s in the role of systems integrator, in a complex ecosystem with competing standards and retail confusion. Read More …

New technologies to prevent senior injuries at home

Fall Risk - ActiveProtective's airbags for pedestrians help prevent senior injuries at home

By Daniel Lewis

Airbags for Pedestrians

There’s no doubt that people are living longer now than ever before. That’s largely because of advancements in medicine and technology, and these advancements mean that hundreds of thousands of elderly people can now live on their own and enjoy a more fulfilling life. However, a simple fall can change all that; and falls are the most common way seniors injure themselves. Here’s just one of the new technologies that help prevent senior injuries at home.

It’s not always easy to prevent our loved ones from falling at home, because we just can’t be there all the time to keep an eye on them! Thankfully, however, technology is coming to the rescue again!

Automatically inflated car airbags deploy in microseconds to take the brunt of an impact and have saved thousands of lives. There have even been airbags designed for use when riding a motorcycle. And now ActiveProtective’s smart belt is an airbag for the waist, designed to prevent hip fractures. Built-in 3D sensors can detect when someone is falling and, just like the car airbags, air bags will inflate down the side of the hips to protecting them. Early tests have shown a 90% reduction in the force of impact. The product should be available at the end of 2016. What do you think?

Some related articles about preventing falls include:

Wearable sensors

A relatively new product to the market is the wearable sensor, the most advanced versions of which can monitor heartbeat, breathing patterns and even learn the routines of the wearer. They can send this information to you and, most importantly, tell you if there’s a significant change in normal patterns. This will alert you in case an emergency or other issue; whether they have injured themselves.

Some related articles about wearable sensors include:

OnStar for PeopleUnaliwear Kanega watch can help prevent senior injuries

It is now possible to buy a voice-controlled smart watch for seniors that can be worn all the time, even in water, and that does not need a phone subscription. Unaliwear’s Kanega will start shipping in the summer of 2016 and includes its own cellular and GPS capability. For someone who is lost, the watch provides voice directing the way home. It can connect to an emergency service if needed and even reminds you to take your pills. A built-in accelerometer can detect falls and lack of response and make emergency calls on your behalf, directing first responders to your location. In many ways, this is the latest and most advanced watch to date.

Wireless sensors

It’s become easy to fit your senior’s home with a variety of wireless sensors, connected to either a phone system or the Internet. They can then detect if someone has fallen and automatically alert emergency services. Researchers are also studying how these sensors can give an early warning system by identifying deviations from learned patterns. Sensors can beep when approaching a trip hazard to a fall before it happens.

The same wireless sensor systems that turn on lights or track motion patterns to detect or prevent a fall can also be linked with home security systems to detect an intrusion.

Google's NEST thermostat is just one of the wireless sensors that can help prevent senior injuries at home

PROVO, UT – JANUARY 16: In this photo illustration, a Nest thermostat is being adjusted in a home on January 16, 2014 in Provo, Utah. Google bought Nest, a home automation company, for $3.2 billion taking Google further into the home ecosystem. (Photo illustration by George Frey/Getty Images)

Some related articles about wireless sensors include:

There is no doubt that technology will make life easier and safer for all elderly people. However, in special circumstances your loved one may have to be put in a nursing home. Today’s care homes are no longer cold and unappealing; quite the opposite. There are high-tech facilities with 24/7 surveillance and advanced technology to help your seniors recover and sustain their mental abilities for as long as possible. Why should you risk their wellbeing when you can do what’s best for them and their health? Make a sensible choice and allow these new technologies to prevent your loved ones from getting hurt.

About the Author

Daniel Lewis is interested in writing about health and fitness related issues. He has a deep knowledge of this field and writes for a site (http://www.foresthc.com/) providing elderly care homes and retirement villages.

Healthcare Robots – a growing collection

Google"s Robot?With arguably the largest aging population relative to its total, Japan leads the world in the production of healthcare robots as a way to cope with the growing need for eldercare and shrinking numbers of working people left to give that care. It’s not surprising that many of the robots featured in this collection originate from Japan.

Below are dozens of robot images, followed by images representing 8 videos that you can watch by clicking on each image. The list of related articles will expand over time as we discover new and interesting articles on robots. Comment below if you find one you’d like to share. Read More …

How Technology is Changing Home Security

By Janet Miller, Yoga Instructor, Nutritionist, and Work at Home Mom

EDITOR: Janet wrote the following article for Huffington Post (see original), presented here with my additional insights and recommendations. 

Surveillance Cameras are Changing Home Security

7 Ways Technology is Changing Home Security

Technology has radically changed the way we protect our homes. What was previously only possible in Sci-Fi movies is now gradually becoming reality. The digital revolution has made its way into our homes.

1. Remote Monitoring: Remote monitoring is a great way to keep an eye on the home when you are at school or work, or on your second home. Even if you are vacationing on a beach miles away, you can still receive real time videos and photos of what is going on at home. Some of the features monitoring systems now provide include the ability to arm and disarm security systems, send fire or intrusion alerts, and stream security camera feeds. 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 …

Eldercare and the Wireless Revolution

TeleHealth

Photo source: healthcaredive.com

Home Sweet Home: Eldercare and the Wireless Revolution

Byline article by Jamie Dalzell

Telemedicine | Telehealth | Connected Health  —  Technology’s role in modern medicine goes by many names, and has seen massive growth since Modern Health Talk last examined it in detail. Not only are emerging technologies like wireless charging and wearable devices changing the medical landscape, but the increasing uptake by doctors and patients alike is driving growth: recent surveys show some 64% of consumers are ready for Telehealth.

With this increased adoption? The aged-care sector, in particular, is changing. And changing fast. All at once this new technology is providing a better quality of life for seniors, as well as a greater peace of mind for their friends, family and caregivers. But how, exactly? And to what end? Read More …

Is FaceTime HIPAA Compliant?

Is FaceTime HIPAA Compliant? 

By Jon Taylor, President and Founder of Bayon Health FaceTime HIPAA Compliance

In the first part of this series we wanted to address one of the most common questions we get asked; “Is FaceTime a HIPAA compliant solution?” If one was to search the internet for this answer, you’d come across a lot of mixed answers and confusion. FaceTime is such an easy tool to use when it comes to video conferencing, so it’s only natural for us to want to use it, but with all the rules and regulations regarding HIPAA, healthcare professionals want to make sure they are compliant. We decided to do a deep dive into FaceTime, looking for any information that not only answers this question, but gives us resourceful information to make a conclusion ourselves. In this report, we are going to cover what it means to be HIPAA compliant, how FaceTime works under the hood, and how FaceTime is currently being used in the healthcare industry. Read More …

The Best Smartphone Apps for Caregivers

WebMD MobileBy Glenn Randolph

Caregivers have a demanding job that can be downright overwhelming at times. These days, many caregivers are using modern mobile smartphone apps to do their jobs more effectively. Smartphone apps can be used for countless purposes, such as scheduling, looking up pertinent health information, identifying pills and so much more. What are the best smartphone apps for caregivers? Here are a few of the best to consider using.

This list should help you cut through the clutter of over 1.2 million different apps listed for iOS alone by July 2014. 240 of them were specific to medicine or health care. 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.

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

Read More …

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 …

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 …

Why doctors are so afraid of apples

Old Rotten AppleAs implied in An Apple a Day… the fruit and the smartphone can both keep doctors away, and that has many of them terrified for good reason.

Those at the top of the healthcare mountain especially fear the Healthcare MiniTrends, because they know 429 of the original Fortune 500 companies (1955) are no longer in business today. And they’re looking down at a new class of hungry competitors who are already exploiting these minitrends.

Let’s look at just two of the trends: (1) the new focus on wellness, and (2) new smartphone uses. Read More …

Exploring New Health Technologies

Monitoring Vital SignsBy Beth Kelly

There are more new health technologies on the market than ever before. Mobile phones and tablets provide health apps, many of which are capable of interacting with wearable fitness tracking devices. Trackers and their accompanying apps, which can be used to measure heart rate and steps per day, take medical awareness a step further than programs that simply focus on caloric intake.

EDITOR: While the accuracy of many of these wearable devices disappoint medical professionals, the simple ability to track progress, no matter how accurate, is a big step forward. And accuracy will improve over time with better sensor technology.

Managing diabetes and other medical illnesses, losing weight, and obtaining a higher level of health has never been easier as a result of the new technologies. Read More …

Four Health Monitoring Apps for Caretakers

Health Monitoring Apps

According to a survey by Manhattan Research, some 95 million Americans used their smartphones in 2013 to find health information or to use it as a healthcare tool. That’s an increase of 20 million from the previous year but just the tip of the iceberg. According to information published by the FDA, this market is exploding, and they expect to see 500 million users worldwide using health care apps by 2015, growing to 50% of the more than 3.4 billion smartphone and tablet users by 2018.

The Manhattan research revealed that for 38% of mobile phone users, their device has already become essential for locating health and medical information. This is good news for caretakers who are charged with monitoring a senior’s health because of the many outstanding, cutting edge apps available.

With some 7,000 health & wellness apps for the Apple iPhone and iPad alone, deciding which to download may seem overwhelming, as we described two two years ago in How to Find Mobile Apps for Home Health Care. These four, however, can provide you with a good start. Read More …