Tag Archive for: Connected Health SYmposium

Connected Health Symposium 11 Recap

I just returned from the connected health symposium in Boston. Talk about a whirlwind of ideas, inundated with extremely intelligent individuals throughout the aging, technology, and healthcare industry!

The event started out with a cocktail networking hour in the Boston Park Plaza Hotel on Wednesday night. We reconvened at 7a Thursday morning to embark on a full, insightful and educational series of sessions.

Attendees ranged from Partners in HealthCare (who put on this event) to Blue Cross Blue Shield, Dell, Visiting Nurses of NY, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), AT&T and even the prince of Denmark! Hot Topics ranged from debates on whether ACOs are good ideas to whether OPCs (Online Patient Communities) should be prescribed by doctors, to the state of healthcare in Denmark!

GrandCare was honored to be selected to present to the attendees as one of “12 Innovations that may change the world”. Each innovative product was given an opportunity to speak for 4 1/2 mins on the value of the product & relevance in the industry! The response was overwhelming!! The room was literally standing room only with doctors and hospital administrators sitting cross legged in front of the chairs to witness these 12 Innovative Products!!! Several press publications were there reporting and giving insight! I will post more information here as I receive it. The event was also videotaped, so I will be certain to post that here as soon as I see it!!

I have shared what we at GrandCare presented to the crowded ballroom!

The GrandCare Vision of HealthCare!
One cannot seriously talk about healthcare reform or cost reduction without talking about aging given the large portion of healthcare costs that are incurred in the later stages of life.
Healthcare already consumes a distressing percentage of GNP and with the boomers entering the chronic condition years, the financial strain on our society is certain to become more acute if not critical.
Our major problem? As a society, we buy many, many pounds of cure. GrandCare is passionately driven to provide the ounces of prevention.
Indeed, as our founder is fond of telling anyone who will listen: If the boomers do not redefine aging, if they do not age responsibly, if they do not insist on the tools and infrastructure to age and heal in place, they will bankrupt their children and grandchildren
And yet we at GrandCare are bullish about the future. We are convinced that given the right home-based technology tools, the people and their caregivers will embrace a new model of responsible wellness that will improve their lives and save our society billions.
Let’s take a look at the GrandCare system.

The GrandCare system starts with a senior friendly touchscreen computer, typically in the kitchen of a senior or maybe a not-so-senior who requires post acute care at home.
If not being accessed with an ATM easy interface, it looks like a digital picture frame showing a full range of personalized content which is programmed remotely by a caregiver, either familial or professional.
Meanwhile, 24/7, the system performs a wide variety of monitoring which is accessible by caregivers across the net.
It maintains constant contact with a cloud based enterprise solution to handle alerts, share data, and perform congregate analytics. This central system, called GCManage, also performs the more mundane tasks of client monitoring, dashboard views, backups, centralized calendar, and software updates.
With the patient firmly at the center, the system integrates four components: wellness, smart home, activity monitoring, and social connectivity.
Let’s start with wellness. The system accepts wireless physiological readings from a weight scale, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, glucometer, and oximeter. We also have a home EKG device that is in alpha test and will come to market in mid 2012.
Each of these devices produces charts or graphs and supports simple rulesets to alert caregivers of abnormal readings. The data has been transferred to a number of proprietary electronic health records and the short lived Google Health.  We look forward to widespread Health Information Exchanges to allow complete interoperability.
The wellness component also includes medication compliance by interfacing with the RXtender pill dispenser or more simply by reminders and helpful medication information.
Self assessment is encouraged and typically generously given for overall wellness, mental state, or specific chronic condition. The patient is, of course, allowed and encouraged to view and better understand their physical and mental state.
Add to this onboard videos to provide tele-health device instructions, health maintenance tips, and medication compliance assistance, and we have moved from the measured life, to the analyzed life, to the influenced life.
The second component is Smart Home, controlling or monitoring lights, thermostats, and cooking appliances. The system can detect someone getting up and night and will light the way to the bathroom to mitigate falls.
The third component is Activity monitoring. Supported devices include motion, temperature, door, chair, callerid, medication, and bed sensors. Have the system text you if Mom doesn’t get up in the morning. Make sure your Dad is not a victim of a telephone scam. Have the neighbor called if GrandPa leaves the house in the middle of the night.
The fourth and final component is Social Connectivity – A large touchscreen with one button skype, email, reminders, pictures, games, brain exercises – all with an age appropriate interface. It’s the glue that makes the system meaningful and useful.
And all of this for a cost of less than one month of assisted living.
GrandCare Systems epitomizes the notions, precepts, and goals of Connected Health. Fellow warriors, we are in the this together in the quest for responsible, affordable healthcare.

Recap of Connected Health Symposium by Donna Cusano

Thurs 22 October: Afternoon and Final

The final full breakout I attended was also with Laurie Orlov (aka Agent 99) here very firmly in her space – Get (Your House) Smart: Aging in Place, at Home, Aided by Technology. Joined by Charles Hillman of GrandCare Systems, Joe Coughlin, PhD of MIT AgeLab, Tom Ryden of North End Technologies and moderated by Marc Holland of System Research Services, this panel had much to say in their 50 minutes and could have easily filled an additional engaging 15.

This area is where much real-world tech is happening, but adoption has a long way to go.

The ‘smart house’ for Dr. Coughlin is the nexus of innovation, hardware, software and health information. It is not about devices but lifestyle and services, not about making up for health ‘loss’ but ‘gain’. The current business model is now oriented to what Medicare will reimburse (not much) and nothing is right in terms of the technology. Right now it is all about a home for those who are obviously old and frail – the paradox is that if you design a home for them, no one will buy it, including the old and frail.

Mr. Hillman approached the smart house as (Gregory) House – we’ve become masters of acute care, but not very good at assisting independent living and aging ‘responsibly’. Systems should be designed holistically and include 1) physiologic sensing (vital signs), 2) activity monitoring, 3) social connectedness and 4) home controls that light rooms at night, turn on outside lights, etc. The service he developed, GrandCare, has incorporated all four.

The smart home in Ms. Orlov’s view uses technology to more tightly connect the senior to others and to be safe, through communications and engagement, home safety and security, health and wellness and continuous learning and participation in social networks. Older people ARE interested in technology – broadband is being adopted by them in increasing numbers. But it has to be acceptable to the senior and can’t be imposed by family.

Mr. Ryden added robotics to the smart home, especially the development of small robots that can aid in everyday activities (versus the Japanese model of robopets for socialization).

Mr. Hillman pointed out that ADL (activities of daily living) monitoring is growing; currently it is largely a private pay service as LTC insurance and Medicare do not pay for it at present. LTC insurance should be paying for monitoring and other smart home assistive services, as they do for home care.

Homes, especially in this tired market, need something extra to sell and older homes need to upgrade; as Mr. Ryden put it, the ideal for technology would be ‘available at Best Buy’ and reimbursable. But the potential disrupters – home builders and remodelers–seem to avoid the older market except for ‘senior communities.’ Ms. Orlov described attempting to work with builders in her state, Florida, to create a ‘smart home’ demo incorporating universal design and technology in one of those plentiful unsold homes, and amazingly has not succeeded as of yet. (Keep trying, Laurie!)

NORCs – naturally occurring retirement communities – often need upgrading. And alternatives such as ‘intentional communities’ must be explored for the rising single population, especially those in the suburbs and exurbs. If they would realize it, the real disrupters and the new model may be via home builders, retailers and (Dr. Coughlin) utility companies. (In the US utilities are increasing selling ‘value added’ in products and services.)

Current technology is NOT fun, interactive or particularly desired to consumers. If it were, it could be a lot more appealing and useful. So where are the game designers? In fact, as Ms. Orlov pointed out, the terminology – aging – is terrifying; large companies are avoiding it in their messaging and we don’t have good terminology to replace it. Her final note: ‘patients’ are really people, and we should be referring to them that way.

A tip of the hat to Laurie Orlov’s Aging In Place Technology blog and her POV on the Symposium