Contributed: How tech-driven instruments can change senior care

In a bit over a decade there will likely be extra individuals age 65 years and older than these beneath the age of 18 years – an inflection level that highlights healthcare-related paradigm shifts on the horizon. Medical vulnerabilities of numerous older grownup communities – as magnified by COVID-19 – have accelerated well being inequities impacting the standard of lifetime of hundreds of thousands of households and household caregivers nationwide.

These challenges, nonetheless, present alternatives for healthcare suppliers, payers and innovators to develop options for a excessive development, but historically underinvested section of the affected person inhabitants.

Making the Enterprise Case: Inhabitants Shifts Shed Gentle on Market Gaps and Alternatives

Latest developments in new enterprise growth counsel that the older grownup inhabitants is an more and more enticing marketplace for novel, technology-enabled options to deal with well being and wellbeing. A 2020 AARP survey discovered that amongst adults age 50 and older, adoption of all types of fashionable expertise gadgets has elevated.

Whereas older adults are typically late expertise adopters, over half of survey respondents bought a expertise product up to now yr, suggesting never-before seen ranges of connectivity and entry. These developments parallel larger volumes of enterprise capital {dollars} and offers within the “age-tech” house.

This funding happens amid an more and more underserved affected person inhabitants and underscores each the breadth of market alternatives and the significance of addressing disparities by means of technology-enabled options as technique of selling wholesome fairness by way of entry and care.

Inequities in expertise entry and literacy for older adults affect the well being and the downstream stability of the American workforce. Older grownup communities present over $600 billion in unpaid childcare and over $140 billion in unpaid volunteer companies yearly in the US alone.

Ladies have been particularly impacted, with 2.1 million fewer girls within the workforce in February 2020 than within the previous yr. Furthermore, girls with youngsterssignificantly girls of shade – have lowered their working hours, left the workforce and reported at the very least delicate signs of psychological misery, all of which have been linked with an elevated want for household care (each baby and aged).

Whereas the federal authorities has supplied $3.5 billion in baby care reduction and a variety of corporations are facilitating re-entry into the job market, supporting the well being and purposeful standing of older adults, particularly those that are underserved, is important to enhancing their wellbeing and safeguarding the power (and variety) of our workforce.

Areas The place Innovation Can Result in Higher Well being Outcomes for Older Adults

The U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers’ Workplace of the Assistant Secretary for Well being issued a request for data for approaches leveraging technology-driven options throughout the spectrum of persistent illness care administration for getting old populations in underserved settings. Evaluation of responses revealed three purposes of technology-enabled improvements that might enhance affected person outcomes for underserved older grownup populations.

Increasing digital and well being literacy. Low well being literacy prices the U.S. financial system within the vary of $106 billion to $238 billion yearly. Older adults, racial and ethnic minorities, and folks with persistent ailments are disproportionately affected. Moreover, even with elevated digital adoption, almost 30% of older adults are nonetheless not digitally literate.

Social expertise use, together with electronic mail, networking platforms and instantaneous messaging, have been linked with decrease ranges of loneliness, higher self-rated well being, and fewer persistent sicknesses and depressive signs. Efforts to develop digital and well being literacy supply large potential for financial worth creation, in addition to improved well being outcomes and affected person expertise throughout weak populations.

Enhancing distant healthcare monitoring and supply. As sufferers and suppliers change into extra comfy utilizing telehealth, the integration of assistive applied sciences equivalent to coronary heart charge sensors on telephones can additional enhance outcomes of distant healthcare supply. For older adults dwelling with persistent well being circumstances, distant monitoring instruments supply a extra full image – versus snapshots throughout in-person visits – of well being information equivalent to weight, blood strain, pulse oximetry and blood glucose degree.

Expertise-enabled options together with combining biometric monitoring with unbiased AI-driven real-time suggestions, for instance, can facilitate proactive supply of telemedicine companies. Survey information from 2019 reveals that 64% of caregivers utilized a digital software for managing caregiving duties, with roughly 40% needing additional use of digital well being options for care administration.

Related well being outcomes ensuing from enhancements in distant healthcare supply can embrace earlier diagnoses and higher accuracy of diagnoses, thereby resulting in decrease well being prices, dramatically lowered hospital readmission charges and elevated affected person satisfaction charges.

Over 20% of all medical visits – or $29 billion of all healthcare companies – within the U.S. have been carried out by way of telehealth within the yr 2020. Whereas there may be bipartisan settlement that telehealth advantages ought to lengthen previous the general public well being emergency, this market is in a dynamic state as a number of dimensions of telehealth sustainability proceed to form and mature viable enterprise fashions.

Optimizing care plans and fashions. Greater than 90% of older adults need to “age in place.” As famous by others, evolving shopper expectations, demographics, employment fashions, and well being and expertise ecosystems immediate a necessity for revolutionary, person-centered care-delivery plans and fashions.

For instance, enhancing the transition from acute to post-acute care may also help cut back re-hospitalizations. Combining expertise for real-time information seize, evaluation and monitoring with care tailor-made to the person presents the potential of informing the event of custom-made care plans and fashions to assist higher outcomes for sufferers and their caregivers versus one-size-fits-all approaches.

Carrying These Insights Ahead

The affect of COVID-19 together with pre-pandemic demographic developments have underscored that the older grownup inhabitants is primed for the event of revolutionary, health-related options. For suppliers, payers and innovators, expertise can pave the way in which for extra alternatives for consumer-driven, more practical medical care administration, potential development of member quantity, further significant member engagement pathways and market differentiation.

Within the public sector, new flexibilities for Medicare Benefit plans (e.g., the Worth-Primarily based Insurance coverage Design (VBID) Mannequin) have created new automobiles to leverage expertise and enhance the care and expertise for older adults dwelling with a number of persistent circumstances.

These flexibilities and extra investments in expertise will more and more result in enhancements in high quality of life, reductions in prices of care, a strengthened workforce, and doubtlessly sizable quick and sustained enterprise returns, given expertise consumption developments and evolving healthcare and social wants.

Editor’s notice: The viewpoints expressed on this article are these solely of the authors and never essentially of the authors’ organizations or affiliations.

Concerning the authors 

 Bishen Singh at present serves as a Senior Advisor on Expertise, Wholesome Getting older, and Social Determinants of Well being, to the Assistant Secretary for Well being on the Division of Well being and Human Providers (HHS). Bishen focuses on advancing methods associated to selling well being fairness and wellness by means of the event of revolutionary digital options and strategic deployment of federal assets. All through his profession, Bishen has overseen the event of transformative information methods and techniques, machine studying instruments and interdisciplinary product groups resulting in the interpretation of recent discoveries and developments into outcomes that contribute towards enhancing lives. Bishen’s background is in biomedical science and information analytics, and he’s now engaged on finishing an MBA at Georgetown College by the top of 2021.


 Dr. Vijeth Iyengar at present serves because the Mind Well being Lead and Technical Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Getting older on the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers (HHS). Most not too long ago, he accomplished an almost year-long secondment as a Coverage Advisor to the White Home Workplace of Science and Expertise Coverage the place his portfolio targeted on the position of rising applied sciences within the areas of mind well being, dementia and neuroscience. Dr. Iyengar serves as a co-lead coordinator of the older grownup working group for the Wholesome Individuals 2020/2030 initiative and is an ex officio member of the Nationwide Advisory Council on Getting older on the Nationwide Institute on Getting older. He has contributed articles showing within the Bulletin of the World Well being Group, JAMA Well being Discussion board, the Nationwide Academy of Medication and Scientific American, amongst different retailers. A local of Louisiana, Dr. Iyengar was a visiting undergraduate pupil at Cornell College and acquired his bachelor’s diploma from Tulane College and his masters and doctoral levels from Duke College. He has been acknowledged as a U.S. Presidential Administration Fellow, been a recipient of a Nationwide Science Basis Graduate Analysis Fellowship and was chosen as a 2020 Aspen Concepts Pageant Well being Fellow.

 Dr. Leith States at present serves because the Performing Director of the Workplace of Science and Medication and Chief Medical Officer within the Workplace of the Assistant Secretary for Well being (OASH) on the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers (HHS). In that position, he leads the Workplace of the Chief Medical Officer on the Middle for Well being Coverage Innovation and InnovationX. Not too long ago he has additionally taken a lead position in establishing the Workplace of Local weather Change and Well being Fairness. He additionally advises and helps the Assistant Secretary for Well being and different senior OASH management concerning problems with nationwide public well being significance by means of collaboration with OASH program workplaces, HHS enterprise, the federal household and exterior stakeholders. Previous to his arrival at HHS, Dr. States served for 9 years on lively responsibility within the U.S. Navy as a Medical Corps Officer, the place his roles assorted, together with these of clinician, battalion surgeon and public well being emergency officer. Dr. States is board licensed in Preventive Medication and is a present member of the American Faculty of Preventive Medication. His private awards embrace the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and a number of unit and marketing campaign awards.

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