Revolutionising Elderly Care

The world is witnessing an unprecedented growth in its elderly population: by 2060, the global +80 population will have doubled compared to today

As healthcare advances and life expectancy increases, so does the need for innovative solutions that cater to the unique challenges faced by the ageing population. The growing need to revolutionise elderly care by leveraging the power of digital technology, empowering individuals to live healthy, fulfilling lives in their golden years is compelling.

There is a growing need to create technology suites of interconnected solutions that address the needs of  elderly individuals, their families, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to enhance the quality of life, improve healthcare outcomes, and reduce costs for all stakeholders involved.

To achieve this vision, four key areas that require innovative solutions:

Independent living: Developing solutions that allow seniors to maintain their independence while ensuring their safety and well-being.

Healthcare management: Streamlining healthcare processes through digitization, improving efficiency, and reducing administrative burdens.

Social engagement: Combating social isolation and fostering meaningful connections between seniors, their loved ones, and  healthcare providers.

Data-driven care: Utilising data from various sources to inform and improve care delivery, leading to better health outcomes for seniors.

The need for evolving a preventive, predictive & prescriptive healthcare platform to enable better healthcare journeys in later life is the key to improving overall quality of life as well as better optimization of healthcare infrastructure globally. The longer we can keep elderly out of the healthcare system, the better the outcomes. This calls for a superior intuitive understanding of the “Person as a whole” by gaining insights into vital parameters, patterns & anomalies in daily living. While technologies that monitor such vitals do exist and are constantly evolving, they require considerable user compliance – the challenge here is the low technology adoption in the demographic that we aim to serve. Hence, the need for solutions that are 100% non-intrusive and depend on zero compliance. 

 Scientific Evidence

The combined solutions presented are backed by scientific research, demonstrating their effectiveness in improving elderly care. While each solution has its own unique set of benefits, their integration offers synergistic effects that enhance the overall impact on senior care.

Fall detection and prevention: Falls are a leading cause of injury among seniors, and early detection and intervention are crucial in preventing serious consequences A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found  that nursing home residents experience an average of 3 falls per year, with 10% to 25% resulting in serious injuries. Nighttime falls account for approximately 62% of all falls among elderly adults living in nursing homes (Journal of the American Medical Directors Association). By integrating fall detection technology caregivers and healthcare professionals can better assess fall risks, allowing for targeted interventions and fall prevention strategies. And this is key: studies show that long lies result in an average hospitalisation time of 11,5 days, whereas residents that get help within 10 minutes after the fall incident on average only spend 5,5 days in the hospital. Therefore, long lies not only have an immense impact on fear of falling and expected health outcomes, but also very real and immediate budget consequences.

Remote health monitoring: Research has shown that remote monitoring can improve healthcare outcomes, reduce hospital readmissions, and enhance seniors' quality of life. The evidence is quite  abundant:

A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that remote monitoring of patients with heart failure reduced the risk of all-cause mortality by 20% and hospitalisation by 27%.

Another study published in the same journal found that remote  monitoring of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) led to a 53% reduction in hospital admissions and a 71% reduction in emergency department visits.

A study published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare found that remote monitoring of patients with hypertension led to a 6.5 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 4.1 mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure.

Therefore healthcare providers can access real-time health data, enabling them to make informed decisions and deliver personalized care – and in doing so improve both health- and financial outcomes of the care delivered.

Social engagement and mental health: Studies have demonstrated that loneliness and social isolation are linked to increased risks of physical and mental decline in seniors. Here as well, evidence is compelling:

A meta-analysis of 148 studies found that social isolation and loneliness were associated with a 29% and 26% increased risk of mortality respectively (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2015).

Another meta-analysis of 40 studies found that social isolation and loneliness were associated with a 50% and 64% increased risk of dementia respectively (Kuiper et al., 2020).

Data-driven care: 

The seamless integration of technologies that  enable the collection of comprehensive health data from various sources. Research has shown that data-driven care can lead to improved health outcomes, more efficient resource allocation, better patient engagement, and lower care staff turnover. For instance, a study found that nursing homes with  EHR implementation experienced a 7.7% reduction in certified nursing  assistant (CNA) turnover and a 10.1% reduction in licensed practical nurse (LPN) turnover compared to nursing homes without EHR implementation (Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice). And the list of studies supporting data-driven care goes on:

A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that using data from monitoring devices to monitor patients with chronic conditions can lead to improved health outcomes. The study found that patients who received data- driven care had better clinical outcomes, including improved blood pressure and glycemic control, compared to patients who received usual care.

A report from the McKinsey Global Institute found that data- driven healthcare has the potential to improve healthcare quality and efficiency while reducing costs. The report estimated that data-driven healthcare could create up to $100 billion in annual value in the US healthcare system.

User-centred design: Each solution has to be designed with seniors' needs in mind, ensuring usability and accessibility for the target demographic. Scientific research has demonstrated the importance of user-centred design in the development of effective and sustainable healthcare solutions, particularly for seniors who may face unique challenges in adopting digital technologies.

A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that user-centred design can improve the effectiveness and sustainability of healthcare solutions for older adults. The study concluded that by involving older adults in the design process, healthcare solutions can be better tailored to their specific needs, preferences, and abilities, leading to higher levels of engagement and better outcomes.

Additionally, a report by the National Institute on Aging emphasized the importance of user-centred design in developing technologies for older adults, stating that it can lead to increased acceptance, adoption, and sustained use of these technologies.

The combined solutions offer an intuitive, user-friendly experience that must encourage seniors to engage with their healthcare and promote better overall health outcomes. 

In summary, the scientific evidence supporting the integration of these solutions addresses multiple aspects of elderly care, from  fall detection and prevention to social engagement and data-driven care, providing a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to revolutionising senior care.

The use of technology to improve efficiency and reduce the burden of non-value-added activities can lead to increased staff satisfaction. By reducing the amount of time spent on documentation, communication, and walking, staff can focus more on patient care and engagement. Additionally, the use of these technologies can reduce staff stress and burnout, leading to improved job satisfaction and reduced staff turnover.

The adoption of these technologies can provide healthcare providers with a competitive advantage, as patients and their families increasingly seek out communities that offer advanced technology solutions. In addition, the use of these technologies can help healthcare providers meet regulatory requirements and quality metrics, leading to improved reputation and marketability.

Tags assigned to this article:
Elderly care remote health monitoring


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