Tag Archive for: home health

Was blind but now I see: Telehealth and RPM in post-acute situations

A Chat with Charlie Hillman, founder and chairman of the board for RPM, Social Engagement and Telehealth industry pioneer, GrandCare Systems. Hillman is a professional engineer and MIT Alumnus.

Productivity.Charlie HIllman

Whether it is bushels of corn per acre, cars off the assembly line per hour, or hospital bed occupancy, it is the relentless drive toward greater productivity that saves companies, saves industries, and saves economies.

Economic studies have for centuries attempted to define the components of productivity. In days of yore, it was simple. Productivity was just labor and land, as seen in the top left of my slide – just a man and his mule.

Then came the industrial revolution and a new component was added: capital – meaning machines and buildings. The target was, of course, to increase production by introducing machines that could replace the other components, in particular, labor.

The largest gains in productivity were still in the agricultural field as evidenced by the fact that in 1880, it took almost 90% of the US population to produce 100% of the food needed. A hundred years later, less than 10% of the population could produce more than we needed – a tremendous increase in productivity. Manufacturing also underwent a dramatic increase in productivity. We went from manual methods to increasingly automated factories. As expected, the number of people needed for manufacturing has declined while output rises. The production equation had changed again.

Then came the information age. In a relatively short period of human history, information has become a significant factor in the productivity equation.

Let’s go back to agriculture. With satellite photos, a GPS system, and intelligent spreader, a farmer can now apply just the right amount of fertilizer or pesticide on different parts of his field, thus increasing yield and decreasing capital costs.

In manufacturing, the information of new materials, part structure, and our computer aided abilities to accurately perform structural analyses lead to reduced product weight while maintaining strength. The result: information replaces capital and makes possible a trip to the moon.

Now let’s talk healthcare. Some might calculate productivity in terms of patient days, but most consider the simple notion that productivity in healthcare is about saving and then improving lives. Just imagine how information has revolutionized healthcare in just the past few decades. Between sophisticated blood tests, genetic analyses, MRI’s, CAT scans, and Hillrom beds, the modern doctor has access to information that would have been unimaginable just 50 years ago.

Then the patient heads out of the hospital to home, and the attending doctor goes from omniscient to essentially blind. He/She has been cut off from information about the patient and it is not surprising that productivity drops. And, it’s not just the healthcare professional. The patient is also cut off from the information and advice on how he or she might behave to speed recovery and prevent reoccurrence.

And that is why we’re here today.

With GrandCare, healthcare professionals have information even when the patient is outside the clinical setting through its telehealth, instructionals, medication management and telemedicine features. At the same time GrandCare avoids information overload, letting doctors specify the exact conditions and red flag events and who should be notified.

Not only does GrandCare keep health professionals in the know about their patients at home, it also keeps the patients themselves well informed. Discharge instructions can be placed on the GrandCare touchscreen in the form of instructions, check lists, meal plans, exercises or even videos that can be watched on demand at any time. Reminders to engage in appropriate levels of exercise can also be employed. And medication reminders increase adherence, even for those facing cognitive challenges that lead to forgetting. 

If you would like to know more about how GrandCare links health professionals to their patients at home, drop us a line. We’d love to show you how GrandCare improves medical outcomes by keeping both professionals and patients well informed. 


Senior Monitoring System

Options for Senior Monitoring

Seniors today are getting connected,

but that doesn’t always mean they are using a computer or a smartphone. Connected technology is providing options for seniors to use health-monitoring devices that often fade into the background, offering security without demanding attention.

We have seen numerous products in this category coming to market lately.

For example, GrandCare Systems, www.grandcare.com, provides a combination of remote environmental sensors to watch over a loved one. We even have www.medcottage.com, a complete modular home that act as on site care facility.

Sonamba, from pomdevices, www.sonamba.com, is also providing monitoring for seniors. The Sonamba device features a 7-inch touchscreen with built-in motion and sound sensors, plus an emergency button. The device keeps track of the senior’s activity, alerting caregivers if something seems out of place. Sonamba doubles as a digital photo frame when not in active use, allowing the technology to become a natural part of the home décor.

As mentioned in the Connected World article “Meeting the Challenge” [Mar./Apr., ’11, p76], next, pomdevices hopes to build a community of devices around Sonamba, adding compatibility with other types of technology, such as blood pressure monitors. These other devices would report back to the main unit, providing even more data about the senior’s condition. To read more about Sonamba, check out the digital edition of Connected World.

The connectivity for Sonamba is provided by a cellular module from Telit Wireless Solutions, www.telit.com, in the form of the company’s GE865-QUAD M2M module. According to Telit, the GE865-QUAD is optimized for power consumption and can receive over-the-air software updates.

Making sure a health-monitoring device can always connect is important, since it could someday save a life.

“There are over 43 million caregivers in the U.S. that seek the peace of mind of knowing that their loved ones are safe and healthy,” say Ajit Pendse, the CEO of pomdevices. “With the help of Telit’s experience and support throughout the Sonamba development process, we are now able to provide seniors with a well-tested and reliable communication device to extend their ability to live independently.”

Sonamba sends text messages to caregivers about a senior’s daily activity, as well as messages composed by the seniors themselves. The device can also provide seniors with reminders to take medication, plus games and calendar events. All of these features are designed to allow seniors to live independently while also enjoying additional safety and security.

GrandCare Systems® Wins 2012 Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Award

Frost & Sullivan Presents GrandCare Systems® as a 2012 Best Practices Award Winner, North American Elderly Health and Wellness Customer Value Enhancement


West Bend, WI – (December 12, 2012) – GrandCare Systems® has received the prestigious 2012 Frost & Sullivan, North American Elderly Health and Wellness Customer Value Enhancement Award. This award recognizes GrandCare Systems for offering an extensive, cutting-edge, elderly health and wellness solution.

“GrandCare has recognized the opportunity presented by the convergence of healthcare and wellness. The company has designed and launched a complete and vetted elderly solution that successfully addresses the needs of being happy and healthy,” said Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Zachary Bujnoch.

GrandCare offers a system that allows communication between various devices to a central interactive touchscreen hub, which then relays that information into a reviewable format. The core of customer value with elderly care is not in the technology itself, but in the effective design of the system, and in the deployment and ongoing service of such a system. The elderly population has unique needs and desires for home health and wellness systems. These needs must be taken into account during the initial design and ongoing improvements of the offering. It is becoming increasingly evident that wellness activities for the elderly, such as social interactions, are important to healthcare, and they might be necessary for success in some aspects of healthcare outcomes. To achieve greater customer value in elderly health and wellness, each of these needs must be addressed. Since 2005, GrandCare has set the highest standard for value in this market by designing and providing both a health offering and a wellness offering in the same system.

“The world of telehealth is most impactful when it is addressing the elderly population, but unfortunately, elderly care and wellness remains one of the most undeserved needs in healthcare,” reported Bujnoch. “GrandCare continues to show exceptional insight within elderly health and wellness by understanding the complex needs of the elderly and offers a unique, high-value solution in response.”

GrandCare’s offering takes on two roles. First, it acts as an interactive communication platform that can receive data from various activity and digital health devices. The GrandCare platform is malleable and customizable to the specific needs of an elderly home or community setting. It integrates with health-focused peripherals, such as scales, glucometers and blood pressure devices, as well as smart home sensors that can monitor activity and wellness. The second role of the system is as a direct and interactive communication touchscreen for the aged. Through this highly functional hub, the elderly persons can interact with various passive monitoring devices by reviewing data, and they can also engage in a wealth of social and day-to-day activities, such as video chatting with family and maintaining a shared social calendar. The system itself is extremely flexible, as it can be utilized for many diverse tasks facing the elderly, such as keeping up with a complex medication regimen, prompting them with voice and written reminders, and providing stimulating brain exercises. Best of all, no computer knowledge is needed to operate the system, fulfilling the critical need for ease of use. By properly addressing all of these factors, GrandCare’s solution clearly proves a value for the elderly care market. GrandCare will be exhibiting in the Digital Health Pavilion at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Jan. 8–11, LVCC South Hall, Booth # 26629

Read more

CEDIA 2012 EXPO – See the latest GrandCare has to offer in the Future Technology Pavilion

CEDIA EXPO LogoDon’t miss the leading tradeshow in the residential electronic systems industry.

Sept. 5th – 8th Indianapolis, IN

For more information or to register please visit http://www.cedia.net/expo

Future Technology Pavilion

The Future Technology Pavilion will feature technology solutions that will be integrated to create the next generation of the smart home, set to arrive in the next few years. Explore this year’s pavilion to feel, touch, and experience the intuitive home of 2016. With four main areas representing health, work, eat and play, this year’s pavilion is designed to show the functionality of the intuitive home as it interacts and reacts to the homeowner’s needs.

Our very own GrandCare System is just one of the many great technologies which will featured in the pavilion.

Read more

Home health devices, mobile apps need to be connected to providers: FierceHealth IT

This editor’s article is absolutely on the money!  There needs to a continuity between hospital providers and in-home health care providers (hopefully with the tech solution as that bridge). It’s so difficult as we tech providers bring these enabling solutions to market with our hands tied. Obviously, the use of remote monitoring and socialization technology will provide enhanced care and enable a caregiver to more information than he/she might have had. It can also remind, record and track vitals remotely and doctors can check in on these (obviously going to be a better indication of overall trends)…  In order to get this off the ground, changes do need to be made. Doctors need to be reimbursed for their time…in this day and age it doesn’t always HAVE to be in office visits. There are several times when I can chat with my family doctor over email or phone with just a few questions, no office visit required. Imagine a SKYPE visit that would not make me have to leave bed with 103 degree fever, just taking my vitals (doc accesses them immediately) and diagnoses me. People need to be encouraged to care preventatively for themselves at home…going home (previously coined discharge, now coined transition) should be JUST that…a transition and there should be a technology involved that can still keep the doc and healthcare staff in the loop, provide instructions for the Loved One (perhaps on the TouchScreen), Web Chat opportunities, medication prompts and reminders, as well as track daily activities (eating, drinking, sleeping, etc) and alert a caregiver if anything seems amiss. This is all part of what GrandCare has been building for the past 6 years (avail on the market since 2006)…and with some changes, we will see some big savings & better care!

July 24, 2011 — 9:27pm ET | By 

Read more: Home health devices, mobile apps need to be connected to providers – FierceHealthIT http://www.fiercehealthit.com/story/home-health-devices-mobile-apps-need-be-connected-providers/2011-07-24#comment-1582#ixzz1T9ZGgxgP
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Home healthcare, an essential ingredient of post-acute care, can help people recover from injury or illness faster, which ultimately can prevent relapses that leads to an emergency room visit or hospital readmissions. Increasingly, home devices are being used to monitor the health status and vital signs of patients; at the same time, there also has been an explosion of mobile apps that can work with such devices, smartphones, and/or tablets to aid consumers in managing their own health. Both of these developments hold promise for improving post-acute and chronic care.

Unfortunately, the guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on mobile apps and the report from the National Research Council on flaws in home health devices–both released last week–failed to address one of the main problems in health IT for home use: a general lack of connectedness between home and provider information systems. To really apply the new technologies in ways that will prevent readmissions, doctors must be online with their patients and their caregivers, and must receive relevant data from both in a way that’s easy to use.

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Today’s approach to remote monitoring has not progressed far beyond that of a decade ago: patients in a disease management program for, say, congestive heart failure, still receive telephonic support from nurse case managers. In some cases, the nurses might be able to monitor the patients’ weight online via digital scales, and patients might be able to answer questions about their symptoms and diet through a web-connected device.

Despite evidence of home monitoring’s efficacy, payers that cover it are few and far between; so, unless there’s a financial reason for hospitals to pay for home monitoring, as there is with heart failure, it may not be done at all. For example, a 2008 article in Managed Care Magazine notes that most insurers don’t cover blood pressure monitoring at home, even though it’s been shown to be more accurate than in-office measurements. As for connecting digital blood pressure cuffs directly to an electronic health record in a physician’s office, we’re talking about the impossible dream. Even if health plans paid for the technology, physicians would not be reimbursed for keeping tabs on patients at home.

Home care nurses are actually more likely to use an electronic health record than physicians, partly because of Medicare documentation requirements. But physicians usually don’t hear from these caregivers unless a patient has a serious problem, or needs to have their medication adjusted.

Connecting home care records online with ambulatory-care EHRs is still the exception, but at least one prominent healthcare organization has made progress. A few years ago, the Cleveland Clinic interfaced its discharge planning software with its home care application–both of which happened to come from Allscripts. By 2010, Cleveland Clinic had also found a way to send the home care data into its Epic enterprise EHR so that physicians caring for patients could view it.

With bundling and accountable care organizations looming on the horizon, I wish I could say that other healthcare systems are following Cleveland Clinic’s example. But frankly, I haven’t run into much of it, outside of St. Vincent Health System in Indianapolis and Partners HealthCare in Boston. This is a big hole in enterprise health information exchanges, and one that will have to be filled sooner rather than later. – Ken

Read more: Home health devices, mobile apps need to be connected to providers – FierceHealthIT http://www.fiercehealthit.com/story/home-health-devices-mobile-apps-need-be-connected-providers/2011-07-24#comment-1582#ixzz1T9YwDnP3
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Fantastic EHX Show

Just wanted to shoot out a quick post and give out a shout to the EHX folks as well as the fantastic dealers who attended this year’s EHX in Orlando, FL. While the event was smaller than the last few years, we found the attendees to be highly qualified, educated, motivated and enthusiastic about home health. A great testament to the industry and the work that has been done in the past 4-5 years.

In fact, many dealers confided that they ONLY came to EHX this year to learn more about the home health tech market and learn about GrandCare Systems.

GrandCare led 3 seminars on the Show Floor and was on another digital home health panel. They were all packed with interested dealers!! Very exciting for this industry!

GrandCare was displayed in 3 booths on the EHX floor. At the GrandCare Booth, Home Controls (Home Health Tech) Booth and the Worthington Booth.  The only other home health tech products on display were the Presto Computerless email and various Personal Emergency Response Units (both quite complementary to the GrandCare System).  We also got some good PR out there for the Aging Technology Alliance (AgeTek) many of the dealers expressed great relief at the notion of an organization like this that guide them on their way in the home health journey!
Now it’s back to the grind and following up with the hundreds of leads received.  Good work GrandCare, Home Health Tech, Worthington, ad Presto team on a job well done!


Connected Home Reports on the Aging & Technology Market Citing GrandCare as a major player…

Great article today from Connected Home: Christopher Wells – – – I couldn’t agree more with the end of the article discussing that someone wanting to get in on this industry must do their due diligence and “have a plan” before diving in. There is obviously not a lack for customers and it is clearly a HUGE market to get into. However, we are building a brand new category here – home health technology. It is not really replacing anything, but rather adding another phase in the continuum of care. Somewhere between TOTALLY independent at home, and independent with enabling technologies. I authored an article for CE PRO back in 2008, which I think is still relevant – – it’s called The 5 Steps to Home Health Technology: New, enabling technologies put dealers in prime position for remote healthcare management. But how do you get started? http://www.cepro.com/article/5_steps_to_home_health_tech/D1 Take a look at the article for some more info! Again, thanks to Connected Home for shedding light on this very important and steadily growing industry! We do have an industry alliance that has formed (of aging technology enthusiasts and vendors) called AgeTek: Aging Technology Alliance – agetek.org – – from Laura Mitchell, VP Marketing, GrandCare Systems

Home Health
Jan 24, 2011 12:00 PM, By Christopher Wells
Systems For The Aging

“The market for technology for aging adults will grow to $20 billion by 2020, comprised of four categories: communication and engagement, home safety and security, health and wellness, and learning and contribution. Baby boomers are also caregivers of aging parents and see the opportunity to enable both themselves and their parents to age successfully in their homes of choice,” says Laurie M. Orlov, the founder of the website “Aging in Place Technology Watch.”

The upshot of all of this is that there is a large and willing market right now for technology systems that will get them what they want, which is to age in place and be as safe as possible while they are doing it. Here are a few of the solutions designed to address this market: Philips has systems designed for the end-user as well as a facilitywide system called CarePoint. The company’s system for the home, Lifeline, is a variation of a personal emergency response system (PERS) that connects to the Philips dedicated monitoring center when it is pressed. The CarePoint system is designed for managed care facilities and uses a call communicator, which offers the ability to communicate with facility staff and provides notification of wandering clients. Finally, a new endeavor named Philips Applied Technology is developing small-footprint ZigBee devices that will create a mesh network for a complete home-use medical monitoring system.

Xanboo offers monitoring in the residence, such as movement alerts and lighting and appliance control. Text and email alerts are sent to caregivers via a smart phone or PC. Part of the system exists on the cloud, where the caregiver can view live camera feeds (though there are the obvious privacy issues here) and the status of devices including thermostats, lights, and appliances.

GrandCare Systems exists as a premium system that offers all the bells and whistles and then some. It includes a full range of monitoring sensors and a system to chart activity, health vitals, and medication. Additionally, it gives the elder person the tools to communicate with loved ones. This takes the form of a touchscreen with large buttons that can operate as a standalone device or interact with a TV to display pictures from family members, emails, games, and upcoming events. All of this is said to occur seamlessly without the person needing to know a single thing about PCs.

BeClose leverages Alarm.com’s cloud technology for its informative Web interface.
In addition to Xanboo and GrandCare, there are a number of other companies offering cloud-based portals for communication and data tracking. For example, the company InTouchLink focuses on the social aspect, providing a simple, intuitive software that allows seniors to use email and the Internet. Another company, BeClose, leverages Alarm.com’s cloud technologies, delivering an informative Web interface. And then there is CloseBy Network, which has partnered with the automation company Control4 to deliver a comprehensive activity monitoring system.

While we probably can’t say the possibilities are endless, it is clear there is significant presence in this market of newbie startups and heavy hitters. So the question you might be asking is, “Is this right for me and my business?” That is the million dollar question and it depends on several factors. First, you will need to do your due diligence to decide whether the numbers work for your business. How will you approach this business? Will you target large heath care facilities, assisted living companies, or end-users? One of these approaches might be better suited to your business model. Also, while this business has hardware, it is not as hardware intensive as say, digital signage. If you target assistive living, it is more about efficiently integrating a simple system and beginning to build a recurring revenue stream through the monthly cloud subscription services. Finally, if you are the owner or a principal of an integration firm, do you think it would be a fit for not only your company but for you? You are going to be dealing with seniors and their family members, often at a time when life-altering decisions must be made. If it is a fit, home health technology might just be that type of business that will fill your wallet and your heart. What could be better than that?”

Worthington Distribution Becomes an authorized GrandCare System Distributor

“In the United States the elderly community will be increasing from 45 million to 77 million as the baby boomers continue to age. Today two thirds of all people that have ever lived to 65 years are currently alive! And one in four people are responsible for caring for an elder. It stops and makes you think how we are going to provide care and support for our elderly family members. Technology will provide a major role, and the leader in home support systems is GrandCare. This unique system uses aspects of home automation, remote monitoring, wellness management, online social networking and human interaction to allow the aging population to stay in their own homes longer. All play a vital role in proper care and provide a level of independence desired by many individuals in their golden years. GrandCare is available to certified dealers.

We are now signing up and training new dealers. The next training is August 23, 2010 in Tafton, PA. To learn more about GrandCare systems we have posted a 30 minute overview available here”

For more info: http://www.worthingtondistribution.com/blog/