How many people have a fit-bit?
or … track their food on their phone
or … log their exercise routine
or … track water intake)
How many people use any smart device for their health, or even log headaches, and mood changes or other symptoms using an app?
Smart devices are used in every aspect of our lives, including senior care.
We’ve got great news— thanks to science; Grandma is going to live to be 100. But, along the way she will suffer from a host of chronic illnesses. Grandpa, too. The great news is that people are living longer than ever. Between improved health care and scientific advancements, many of the illnesses that used to kill people are easier to fight off. This means that health care for them must move from focusing on infectious diseases to long term issues. The demand is changing, but the supply is already drying up. The “Workforce Crisis” is happening in the field of senior care, forcing the world to look for more efficient ways of caring for the elderly. Creating an unprecedented demand for technology to help with long term care.
It’s a wake-up call for everyone!
But how can technology help elderly care?
The bigger question is…How many of you care how “protected” your medical data is?
We aren’t famous, no one cares if we had an appendectomy. But what if there was a way to do this anonymously to benefit everyone? What if you could anonymously participate in the biggest study ever, right through the cloud?
Consider how much data on a person is already being tracked in the cloud.
Location, app usage, time on certain devices. Using group data, driving was able to be improved through maps knowing where traffic is congested. Using group data, advertisers know your needs as well as you. Now imagine how helpful a medical app could be if all your medical and health related data was anonymously published and analyzed by big data companies. It could cause new patterns to emerge and open the doors for countless new medical advancements. If you could log food, water consumption, steps, heart rate, sleep times, sleep quality, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, your entire DNA sequence, this could be the push into the future many are waiting on.
If you have a smart home … it knows if you are at home, what music is playing, if the lights are on, …
Now, what if you voluntarily add… medications you are taking, mood/anxiety levels, pain levels, visits to your doctor, diagnosis information, major medical events, surgeries. Imagine how that “profile” you built, based on answers from you and millions of others, could grow with you as you got older.
At the Micro level, for you personally, wouldn’t it be better if you could start asking questions about your health that could be answered from the information shared on the Macro level? What if the majority could help the individual, just by anonymously saying what works and what didn’t? This would rewrite the rules for health science. Suddenly you can perform “studies” without performing a study. The advancements made by this progress could significantly make everyone’s lives easier, including the elderly.
Currently, health science has issues.
It’s hard to get a complete picture of a person who participates in a study. It’s hard to follow a person for an extended period of time. It’s hard to collect details about a large enough group of people to get reliable results, and the overhead is cost prohibitive. No study has ever or will ever have as much information about its participants as what “the cloud” is gathering today.
Big data can answer questions like these…
Which diets result in lower risk of heart attack, or cancer, or dementia? What percent of the people who take medication X experience side-effect-Y? How does medication X affect sleep patterns? Science as it works today can’t even create a study to answer that question, but big data … can.
It would make medical questions as easy as:
Hey, google, how much does taking this medication increase my chances of heart attack? (and have it give personalized results based on other factors like your sleeping patterns). Alexa, what diet plan has the best statistical results after 5 years. (and have it give real statistics, not case studies and advice based on the speculation of experts). Siri, I have a headache, what have I recently done that likely contributed to it? (based on other people with similar actions, and symptoms).
This isn’t just a neat idea, its where we are heading.
The benefits both individually and collectively are so much bigger than the “cost” of turning over your data to the “cloud”. There’s a tsunami of health care costs right around the corner, and people need to be able to get their own answers without depending on the time it takes for medical science to investigate things.
The aging population grows every day, with less staff and resources per person as the numbers grow.
Personally, when helping my elderly loved one we were able to foresee a major heart attack by knowing that her sleeping and eating patterns had changed. She was sleeping erratically and sleeping up right in a chair, because fluid was building around her heart. We did this through non-invasive sensors placed throughout her home and aggregating her patterns while looking for anomalies.
As people live long lives, health care costs must increase, we are on the verge of having a significant shortage of doctors and nurses, and the “fix” is big data!