This week at CES 2019, Royal Philips unveiled a new app platform that links the company’s senior care products into a single digital ecosystem for family caretakers. Called Philips Cares, the app includes a range of features to track and manage a senior’s care, such as reminders, scheduling tools and access to emergency services.
“We’ve been in the business for more than four decades now. We built the category for medical alerts, and through that we built a network of more than 2,500 hospital and senior living facilities,” Jason Broad, head of marketing for aging and caregiving at Philips, told MobiHealthNews during a show floor demo. “Basically, we have all the components to have a connected aging journey unlike anyone else.”
Philips’ existing Lifeline products for senior care include GoSafe — a pendant wearable that supports location tracking, fall detection and two-way communication — the HomeSafe medical alert system and the in-home Automated Medication Dispensing Service device. Philips Cares integrates each of these products into a single interface that can allow family caretakers to, for instance, view minute-by-minute step counts or medication adherence. These records can be viewed by multiple family members or other caretakers, who can also manually add notes or reminders to help coordinate care.
Other features of the service include bill and payment information management, device operation support, data analytics for inference generation and access to other Philips senior care services.
“We have predictive analytics that are able to identify if Mary is likely to have emergency transport in the next 30 days, but we don’t expose that to caregivers,” Broad said. “For example, if I tell you as a son that your mother is at risk, you don’t know what to do with it. But they do, and they can decide to interdict and identify, oh, she’s not taking her medications, or, she has an infection that needed managed, that’s why she’s in a decline. Now we’re able to give them a place to expose that in a curated way so the family can do something.”
Broad said that Philips is planning to release the initial version of the app in the earlier part of this year. While the platform will be ready for use by family caretakers right at launch, the company will also be layering additional functionality professional caregivers in the following updates.
Why it matters
Demographics are shifting as a growing proportion of the US population is entering its twilight years. The continuously understaffed senior care industry’s capacity to face the silver tsunami could very well rely on the impact of technologies that help shift the burden away from trained professionals and specialty living centers.
With this in mind, Philips’ new platform has an opportunity to be a consumer-friendly service hub for seniors hoping to live comfortably in their own homes, and family members who want to help them do so.
What’s the trend
Many of the newest remote monitoring tools and other home care technologies have found themselves right at home in the senior care market. The past year alone has seen at least one major health tech acquisition with Best Buy’s acquisition of GreatCall, while many senior-focused tech companies such as K4Connect and Kindly Care have also seen fresh support from investors.
On the record
"Whether you're on the aging journey yourself or caring for a loved one, we all want to have peace of mind around getting older," Ripley Martin, general manager for Philips Aging & Caregiving, said in a statement. "Philips Cares eases and enriches the aging experience for caregivers and seniors by providing them with access to always-on, supportive relationships across a care circle, enabling them to refocus their attention on the key moments that matter most.”