Imagine being able to care for your aging parent using your cellphone. New technology is breaking ground to do just that. In a poll, 75% of the seniors asked admitted that they would rather use whatever means available if it meant they could stay in their own homes longer. In addition, the enormous influx of retirees getting ready to hit their golden years is going to push hospital and nursing facility care expenses higher and higher due to increased demand. This generation of seniors is also the first that is comfortable using the new technologies and won’t hesitate to take the opportunities that present themselves.
Many industries are taking part in the research and development of this new elder care system. These include hospitals and doctors, insurance companies, technology developers, home builders, and wireless companies. It is estimated that the new equipment could generate $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion making it a worthwhile pursuit for both businesses and elderly patients.
This type of innovative technology is meant to help seniors deal with the rising cost of healthcare and the fact that insurance companies are increasingly opposed to allowing patients to remain in the hospital when they suffer from maladies that can be both monitored and treated while they are living in their own homes. The health care seniors receive is expected to measurably improve with up-to-the-minute care. However, the situation isn’t all win-win. Concerns include worries about maintaining patient privacy, compensation for doctors, and the effect on the funding of nursing homes are high on the list of snafus everyone involved is working on.
The new devices are being created making it easy for seniors to monitor their weight, heart rate, and blood pressure readings from home. Information is then uploaded to a database which will be read by the doctor. Any changes can alert the doctor to possible complications which will allow him to change medications, request and appointment, or dispatch an ambulance as he feels is necessary.
The federal government, grappling with the problem of underfunding for Medicare programs are heartily in favor of the developing technology. They estimate that more than $25 million is spent every year on just the readmission of patients to hospitals and nursing facilities and believe that costs could be cut by 75% if these people could be monitored at home instead of having to be admitted to hospitals so often.
It’s amazing what new technology can do, and this sounds like a system that needs to be explored further and expanded to cover all seniors with medical issues who are still living in their own homes. Instead of rising medical costs collapsing the Medicare system, we could look forward to lowered costs and fewer claims.