Amidst all of the chatter in our industry about the challenges of addressing digital home health care business opportunities, I’m reminded of my wife’s grandmother, an amazing New Yorker who loved art and opera and spoke in “dahhhlings” and “my lovvves,” like she was right out of a Greta Garbo movie.
Grandma Tilly lived into her late-90s, and throughout her long life the only health issues she faced were hemophilia and an irregular heartbeat. In fact, she was so healthy that the only medication she ever took was Tylenol. The irregular heartbeat was more serious, requiring a surgically implanted pacemaker and remote monitoring device that I’m reminded of when I hear stories about digital home health care initiatives.
Grandma was so technically inept that tasks like changing light bulbs in her apartment or replacing sluggish batteries in her hearing aids were major undertakings. Yet, despite this, she was still fully capable and confident in operating the device that provided her doctor with remote readings from her pacemaker. On several occasions, I watched, in amazement, as she turned the machine on, connected it to her body, placed her phone handset in a cradle, and pressed the “dial” button. She never asked for help, and she never seemed confused or intimidated by the process.
Now, there is no doubt that Grandma would be baffled by today’s incredibly advanced videoconferencing technologies that are being marketed as interactive healthcare communication tools for seniors living out their golden years at home. But Grandma was from the World War II generation, and most of today’s “seniors” are aging Baby Boomers that have embraced new technology for most of their lives. It might be their kids and grandkids that have literally grown up with computers, the internet, Facebook, and smartphones, but Boomers have never shied away from appropriating these tools and toys for themselves, often to the chagrin of their offspring.
I think it will definitely be a challenge for the custom integration channel to address digital home healthcare business opportunities, with all of the legal hurdles, regulatory challenges, and training costs to consider. I also wonder how much of what we’re talking about will wind up in mobile solutions that “reside” on a person, rather than integrated into a residence.
Next month, freelance writer Bob Ankosko will continue the discussion about this evolving topic, interviewing representatives for GrandCare Systems, a pioneer in digital home health that has been selling an ”intelligent client-based system with a cloud-based caregiving portal” since 2006.
That system uses strategically placed sensors to enable caregivers to remotely monitor the daily activities of an elderly person or someone with a chronic condition to help ensure their safety and well being.
With 10,000 of the nation’s 78 million baby boomers turning 65 every day, addressing this challenge is becoming an inevitability. The question is whether or not it is right for your business.