Mobile health apps, home health monitoring devices, and digital health service companies are joining an already crowded connected health field at this week’s Consumer Electronics event (CES 2011) with new product announcements. Independa, a San Diego-based provider of the home health services for seniors unveiled a free trial offer for its Smart Reminders service at CES and demonstrated a prototype of an upcoming Android (News - Alert)-based wireless tablet computer, named "Angela," which is designed to interface with various wireless home and health sensors already installed in a senior’s home.
The Independa Smart Reminders service, which will start at $19.95 per month after the free trial period, offers family members, responsible for aging parents and relatives, a browser-based Smart Calendar for appointments and a daily medication reminder service. One value-add that Independa provides is a phone call reminder on a pre-scheduled basis, making the service accessible to anyone who has a home phone rather than requiring a smartphone app or a separate device such as Vitality’s Glow Cap wireless pill container.
On the other hand, answering daily or even multiple reminder calls each day could become an irritation for many seniors, while ignoring the calls or being out of the house when the call comes in could generate unnecessary alerts.
Independa’s planned Android tablet solution for integrating and extending wireless home health monitoring services will feature a touchscreen interface designed to offer additional reminders to seniors, as well as alerting caregivers via e-mail and text messaging when problems arise. "Today there are 46 million family caregivers in America, 600 million worldwide, with numbers about to explode thanks to aging baby boomers. It’s time we leverage advances in wireless technology and the Internet to give family caregivers previously unavailable capabilities and peace of mind at compelling price points," said Independa CEO, Kian Saneii.
Independa, which is looking to raise additional rounds of investor funding, markets directly to family caregivers and is actively recruiting care-management partners.
The home health monitoring market features a broad range of services and comprehensive on-site care providers, such as Seniorbridge area already incorporating telehealth services. New entrants are rushing to provide reminder services because the cost missed medication doses are high. According to AARP, nearly one in four older adults age 65+ skips doses of medication or does not fill prescriptions because of cost, and suffers worse health as a result; older people who forget to take their pills, or accidentally take them more than prescribed, increase the risk for dangerous drug interactions; and older people who forget to take their medications have health issues and fall 50 percent more often than those who take medications as prescribed. Dr. Cronin is a Professor of Management in the Information Systems Department at Boston College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jaclyn Allard