Typically, elderly-care-at-home solutions
are divided into two main categories; remote patient monitoring
(RPM) and personal emergency response system (PERS).
Remote patient monitoring
Monitoring the health and well-being of seniors living at home begins with different types of sensors
Sensors that monitor vital signs can be wearable or noncontact. In terms of wearables, there are electrical and optical heartbeat monitors that people can wear on their chest or wrist. Meanwhile, there are in-ear devices that can monitor heart rate, body temperature and oxygen saturation of blood.
Noncontact monitors on the market include those from V-Sense Medical Devices, who have developed a radar-based heart rate monitor. The technology works by way of a radio frequency signal directed at someone’s body which is reflected back to a sensor at different rates depending on how the body is expanding and contracting with each breath or heartbeat.
At the next level, a system or platform that connects these devices, collects data and sends alerts/alarms should health issues come up is needed as well.
An example is Climax Technology
’s GX-8 Cubic Smart Care Medical Alarm. YK Chen, Director of New Business Development at Climax Technology, said “GX is compatible with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) medical devices, like blood glucose monitors, pulse oximeters and heart rate monitors to track health and medical data and provide alerts when necessary, creating a customized solution to meet individual needs.”
An overarching objective of RPM is preventive care that stops seniors getting sick in the first place. Rob Flippo, CEO of MobileHelp
, said that according to research conducted by the University of Oregon, “patients who are not engaged in their own health incur costs that averaged up to 21 percent higher than patients actively engaged in monitoring aspects of their own health.” Flippo revealed that “this very basic idea shifted the entire trajectory of our company and business model from a reactive system to a proactive solution.”
Liber Liu, RoW GM at Miotta
, holds a similar opinion. “With our solution, healthcare professionals are able to provide preventative care instead of taking the reactive approach. Further, utilizing big data analytic can help long-term care facilities provide more productive wellness programs.”
Personal emergency response system
While preventive care is important, accidents do happen. In case of an emergency, for example a fall or a heart attack, a personal emergency response system can come in handy.
“MobileHelp entered the healthcare space by offering a combined solution that blends RPM with PERS: Should the patient fall or have any other type of sudden health issue, all he or she needs to do is push the emergency button,” Flippo said.
Chen of Climax again cites his company’s product as an example. “GX-8 Cubic has built-in voice recognition to activate an emergency call by preset vocal commands or keywords,” he said. “When an emergency occurs, alerts are immediately sent to the elderly user, family members and a monitoring center, prompting them to verify the event by viewing the captured alarm images via smartphone or web browser.”
Another benefit of PERS is it lowers the overall burdens placed on the healthcare system. “If help can arrive within the first hour, many falls can be treated on site by the emergency responders or in the ER. If however, emergency services are delayed, that individual may need to be admitted to the hospital, accruing higher in-system costs,” Flippo said.