Long-Term Health Innovation

Here are the Top Long Term Care Innovation Trends

Monitoring devices such as ClarisOne are helping not just medically but socially as well in the care of seniors.. Claris Healthcare

The U.S. is growing old fast. In fact, by 2029, experts anticipate 20 percent of the population will be composed of people aged 65 years and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As such, in the coming years, aging Baby Boomers will need more long-term care services and products than ever before.

From hospitals to in-home caretakers and remote-monitoring systems, the market for long-term care innovation is becoming vast, wide and ripe.

But is the medical community ready for this demographic shift? Currently, 12 million Americans need long-term care, and by 2015, experts expect that number to reach 27 million — more than double, according to research by Genworth, a financial security and insurance company.

The ways in which Baby Boomers will receive long-term care is still unclear, leaving the medical innovation community hungry to create new products. Generally speaking, long-term care encompasses the daily needs chronically ill, vulnerable, aging or disabled people require each day. A person, for instance, may need assistance with cleaning, eating, bathing and changing their clothes.

Long-term care options have remained stagnant and costly over the years. Most family caregivers go unpaid, as the cost of a nursing home is too expensive for many families, reaching around $50,000 a year, according to AARP. In fact, most unpaid caregivers — who are mostly adult children and other relatives — represent 90 percent of those providing long-term care, according to the Institute of Medicine.

And about 37 percent of those individuals caring for a senior had to reduce their work hours or quit their job entirely, according to AARP.

The answer is clear: Now is the time to innovate. Not only to improve the lives of those needing long-term care, but also their families, who are often caring for these aging individuals at the expense of their own livelihoods.

Here are the top long-term care innovation trends currently being explored in the healthcare field:

Remote patient monitoring: According to the Center for Health Strategies (CHS), these monitoring devices are primarily used for patients who suffer from chronic diseases such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes. These devices typically engage with patients through specific daily interactions, collecting vital signs and delivering the information to a remote caretaker.

Google, Apple and Samsung have already announced plans to launch digital healthcare platforms for smartphones and mobile devices that will provide remote patient monitoring, according to the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Foundation (AMCP). These mobile devices, which can be worn as a bracelet or placed in a person’s shoe, will allow patients to monitor their health on a single mobile platform and interact with health care professionals directly using mobile technology, when necessary.

Data and analytics in patient care: Collecting the right kind of data can significantly increase care effectiveness and efficiency, according to the AMCP.  For instance, accurate electronic health records can be used to discover patient insights through tracking analytics, often detecting harmful patterns long before symptoms develop. Success on this front remains in the hands of healthcare payers and providers, who still need to find ways to link meaningful metrics to patient care and measurable outcomes.

“Smart” homes: These devices generally serve as an early detection and monitoring system for an ailing patient, according to the CHS. Much like a security monitor, they use tiny wireless sensors to check on a person’s sleeping, eating and movement patterns and habits. If there’s a significant change in these patterns, the caretaker will be alerted.

Engaging patients by using technology: The widespread use of new technology tools can push data transparency, patient education and the coordination of tools across a range of technology options, according to the AMCP. Patients are becoming consumers, with technology-driven decisions impacting how patients choose providers and how they manage their condition.

Remote medication management: This technology allows a physician, pharmacist, or other practitioner to remotely manage a patient’s prescriptions and doses. The device emits an audible and visual alert when it is time for the patient to take their medication and can even provide accurate prescription dosages for the person in need, according to the CHS.

The intersection between technology and long-term care innovation is witnessing tremendous growth and exploration and offers incredible potential for transforming the way care gets delivered. But the question remains: Can we innovate fast enough to keep pace with growing older demographic?

Bobby Grajewski is President of Edison Nation Medical and is best known for his expertise in building businesses and leading high-performing teams to achieve outstanding results. In his role as President, Bobby provides strategic leadership, financial oversight, and partnership cultivation combined with day-to-day operational leadership for Edison Nation Medical. Bobby received an MBA from The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania), an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School, and an AB degree from Harvard University.

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