Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Raisin System

In the 9/26 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, we learn of a company called Proteous Biomedical which is developing ingestible chips that can be embedded in pills, turning them into networked, digital drugs. The one-millimeter-square chip is activated by a patient's stomach fluids and sends a signal to a bandaid sized computer worn on the body. The computer uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with the patient's mobile phone, which alerts patients or their caregivers when they forget their medicine. The system has been tested in trials for drugs that treat heart failure, hypertension, and TB. Raisin-enabled drugs may hit the market as early as 2012. Additional information about Proteous Biomedical may be found at their website.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Smart Moneys' Take on Aging Technology

Contributing editor Peter Keating, in the September 2010 issue of Smart Money, has made a useful contribution to the examination of aging technology. In his article, Peter argues that emerging aging services products fall into three categories. First, devices such as medication optimizers and telehealth systems, which keep you healthy. Second, there is technology, such as wearable devices that automatically detect falls and alert family members, which promote safety. The third kind of senior technology, such as cell phones with large buttons and bright screens, are designed to make modern gadgets easier to use.

Source: Smart Money, September 2010, pp. 38-39

GE Healthcare and Intel Form New Telehealth Company

This announcement follows the formation of an alliance between the two companies in 2009, and makes good business sense, in my judgment. Many of the players in the aging technology arena are small and inadequately capitalized for the long run. Intel and GE have the deep pockets to stay the course and become THE dominant players.

The new venture will be based in Sacramento, and be owned equally by Intel and GE. Intel will contribute its assistive and remote health technologies, and GE Healthcare will contribute QuietCare, a remote monitoring system. The new company is expected to be operational by year-end.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Telemedicine Conference

The Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College recently sponsored a conference entitled "Communications Technology for Telehealth and Telemedicine." Conference speakers included telehealth experts from Intel, Verizon, Polycom, and the VA region encompassing Florida and Puerto Rico. The range and depth of the presentations were remarkable. Although telemedicine has been around for some time, the technology in support of remote access medical services continues to evolve. The sophistication of diagnostic tools was particularly noteworthy. And, the VA is clearly a role model for telehealth utilization.

Zume Life, San Jose, CA

This firm's electronic minder system was recently featured in a New York Times article. The so-called Zume Life service includes two major technology components: an in-hand device, called a Zuri, and a web portal. The Zuri is a simple, small, handheld device that individuals use to get reminders and to record all health-related activities, events and status relevant to their own particular needs. The Zume Life web portal, for users and their caregivers, shows graphs, tables, and journals of the user’s health activities and status. The Zuri will cost about $200 when it is released in the spring. Users will also pay about $40 to $50 a month for Web services. A software version of the device that will run on an iPhone is also in the works.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

HealthVault Data Uploading

A recent New York Times article notes that Microsoft's new online health data storage system called HealthVault lets users upload data directly to their account from about 50 devices, including many blood pressure and heart rate monitors, and blood glucose meters and weight scales. Owners of the account can then share data with their case manager, who could be tracking their response to a new medication, for example. This is good news. HealthVaults' utility to the consumer will increase significantly with the addition of devices which can upload clinical information to the storage system.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The State of Technology in Aging Services

In March of 2008, the Center for Aging Services Technologies released a useful report on the state of technology in aging services. Three groupings of technologies are cited: health and wellness technologies, safety technologies, and social connectedness technologies. We are reminded of the barriers to technology adoption, which include negative experiences and misconceptions, lack of financial incentives, lack of consensus on value, and inadequate infrastructure. The report concludes with several recommended actions, among which are supporting research on the value of aging technologies, involving older adults in product design, and designing new financial models which combine prospective payment and pay for performance.