Like all populations, the population of seniors in the United States is changing. And a generation of rising seniors is more technically savvy, is living longer, and has higher expectations for aging than ever before. This is creating new opportunities and challenges for the aging in place market, according to presenters on a Parks Associates webcast called "Connected Health in the Smart Home: Use Cases and Partnerships".
Parks Associates Director of Health and Mobile Product Research Harry Wang moderated a discussion with Paul Adams, senior director of product management at Philips and Don Boerema, senior vice president and chief corporate development officer for The ADT Corporation.
"The way we address the aging population is changing," Adams said on the call. "We believe it’s not just a case of detecting a fall has occurred and informing the right people, but also engaging with our community as they go through different stages of life."
For Philips, this means identifying the different needs of 50- to 60-year-olds, who generally benefit from coaching, education, and wearables as they focus on preventing chronic conditions and 70- to 80-year-olds, who might be less mobile and whose needs skew more toward monitoring, remote visits, and intervention. Philips' strategy has expanded from being mostly focused on fall prevention to including remote monitoring, services aimed at wandering seniors, care coordination, medication adherence, and even concierge services like Peapod and Uber to enable seniors to lead rich lives in the community.
"If we educate, empower, and support [seniors] they can stay healthy and stay at home," Adams said. "We believe if ewe get the right info to the right person at the right time it will increase patient care, improve reimbursment, quality of life, reduce readmissions, and reduce morbidity."
Boerema talked about how ADT has, in recent years, made the transition from being a security company to playing in the healthcare space. The common denominator, he says, is Internet-of-things-style connectivity: ADT focused on connecting everything in the house, from cameras and motion detectors to smart appliances, in order to keep the house safe. From there, the transition to aging in place -- which also benefits from a connected, monitored home -- was a natural one.
"The next step from an evolution standpoint is really moving into the health area, where now you just move past the door locks and security sensors into pulse oximeters, glucose meters, and everything else in a fully connected environment and all those things can interoperate as you go forward," he said.
Both Philips and ADT are focused on how to learn from the successes of commercial activity trackers, but focus those lessons on the specific needs of seniors. PERS devices have a stronger need for accuracy, for instance, but that increased accuracy also leads to additional opportunities to use the data.
"What other information can we get out of the PERS device?" Adams asked. "They can detect gait, they can detect how fast someone’s walking, how fast they stand up or sit down. That can be associated with mobility, strokes, and, of course, is there an increased risk of falling, So it’s an opportunity for predictive analytics to intervene if things are changing."