The potential for Google Glass for mHealth
There’s been some fairly skeptical or sensational (or both) reports in the media after Google first released information about Google Glass. However, potential uses of this technology are starting to rise to the top. This week, Global News offered up a good (short) article & video on the potential for using Google’s wearable technology – Google Glass as part of mHealth or the mobile health movement. Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital is cautiously moving forward while ensuring privacy is not compromised. The Goal or the Idea of enabling an expert to attend (virtually) in the room from anywhere in the world providing advice during suergery holds a lot of promise for everyone.
Read the article here and link to the video:
One day we may very well wonder how we coped before Digital Health Tech came of age.
As the majority of us are or will shortly become Family Caregivers and sometimes to more than one loved one.
Top concerns for Family Caregivers are fairly consistent:
- Financial concerns
- How to balance caregiving with work or work and family
- Encouraging participation or help from other family members
- Sharing information with other family members
- Guilt…yes lots of guilt-along the lines of Am I doing enough?
Digital health technologies can help both local and remote family caregivers increase their peace of mind about concerns they have for those they care about particularly when those concerns relate to health, safety & socialization issues of a loved one that they are caring for.
Mobile Health Devices
These include the “Wearable Tech” that is being talked about a lot in the news these days. Mobile health devices that track, monitor and share information wirelessly are in the news a lot lately. They include monitors for blood pressure, diabetes, weight, heart rate etc. These tracking devices can help individuals with chronic issues gain control over conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure while at the same time, these monitors allow for sharing of that information with their family a distance away. See some examples of the mobile health devices we carry here
Motion Sensors that track movement can alert family caregivers to unusual or unexpected activity like a fridge not being opened all day or a door opening late in the night. These sensors are intended to not be intrusive. One of the monitors we carry, CookStop not only monitors activity around a stove but it will also automatically turning the stove off after a certain period of inactivity. That can mean a Cooking Fire has been prevented; it’s hard to put a value on the peace of mind that kind of technology can provide. See some other motion sensors here
Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)
Personal security devices like Direct Alert that offer emergency assistance at the press of a button have been around for some time. However, many PERS (like Direct Alert) now offer fall detection which means that emergency assistance will be called for when a fall is detected as opposed to only where the emergency call button is pressed. This alleviates concerns that family can have about a loved one who may not willingly press the alert button for help or is unable to do so.
Age Friendly Software
It’s no longer the case where communicating with friends & family members’ online means learning how to navigate the internet or learn how to use MS Outlook! Now all is one systems as well as standalone software offer those without any prior computer experience or knowledge the opportunity to both exercise their brain in a different way, communicate with friends & family & share photos & videos. It’s about time! Social isolation is a growing problem today and so this opportunity for families to remain close or re-connect is a real “gift” See our options here for Age Friendly Software Solutions
Digital or web based caring communities that are available online can help bring balance and some organization to family caregivers by providing information, message boards, and help calendars that can be shared. Lotsa helping Hands is one such service-a free service that helps family caregivers overcome some of the challenges can naturally come with managing a health or medical crisis in their family. By helping build a “community of care” technologies like Lotsa Helping Hands enable family caregivers to better manage everyday tasks, “share the load”and engage others for assistance.
Wearable Health & Fitness Tech for Caregivers !
What’s “cool” about the newest crop of digital health technology that is coming out now is that it really is not just about helping those who may have a chronic illness, disease or health concern. That is, it’s not just about being reactive but finally about being proactive. Digital health technology is for really for everyone and nowhere is this more evident than in the area of the wearable fitness devices or health monitoring devices.
Caregivers may have concerns about their own fitness levels as they balance a life that may be overloaded with work, family and caregiving. A wireless activity tracker like a Fitbit for tracking steps, distance, and sleep might be a good start. It’s also important that caregivers keep a check on their own health which may easily deteriorate as their everyday tasks add up which can really take a toll on their own health. Monitoring your own health may even help make the case for convincing your loved one should they be reluctant to consider health monitoring.
The 2013 Accenture HealthCare Consumer Survey confirms it…older individuals are using the internet more (and more) and Health Information is a key reason why. The Digital revolution is not just for the young but for older individuals as well and they want access to more of their healthcare online. Internet use rates have tripled amongst older populations 65 and over and have doubled for those between age 50 and 64 between 2000 and 2012 according to Pew Research.
Accenture surveyed 9,015 adults in nine countries, including 1,470 US seniors 65 over and conducted a separate survey of 200 Medicare consumers. Here are some of the key findings:
- Most older users used the internet at least once a day.
- 91% said they use email frequently and 73 % search the internet frequently.
- Around 30% used Facebook or other social media.
- 67% of US seniors said accessing medical information online was very or somewhat important to them.
- 56% of Medicare customers had visited their health plan’s website at least once in the past 12 months.
- Only 28 % of seniors reported having full access to their electronic health record, but 83 % wanted access
- 68 % of seniors said the ability to refill prescriptions electronically was somewhat or very important, but just 46 % reported being able to do so
Those surveyed were also asked about what was the most important digital offering a Doctor or Hospital could provide:
- 46% wanted the ability to access their electronic health records & medical history online or via mobile
- 42 % wanted the ability to see a doctor virtually and without a co-pay
- 15% wanted a mobile app or online tool in order to schedule their appointments
So it would seem that it’s not just the younger demographics who are looking to manage certain aspects of their healthcare online. While a representative of Accenture Health indicated that “What this means for providers and health plans is that they’ll need to expand their digital options if they want to attract older patients and help them track and manage their care outside their doctor’s office.”
I think it also means that younger demographics will not just wish for it but will demand it.
It’s 2013 after all. While we are not flying around in cars in the sky; we should certainly be able to manage our healthcare like we do our chequebook…online.
Read the Accenture Study Summary – Insight Driven Health – Silver Surfers are catching the eHealth Wave