Coordinated Care Management

March 13, 2012

Study Shows That Remote Monitoring Can Save Seniors' Independence, and Money, Too

By 2009 39.6 million people in the U.S. were over 65, representing almost 13 percent of the population, or one in eight every Americans, according to the Administration on Aging. OK. So not such a big deal.

But by 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, and this is more than twice their number in 2000, according to the Administration on Aging. Not only that, they will now represent 19 percent of the population, according to the study. 

Scary? Or huge marketing opportunity?

Thankfully, now that we know more about diet and exercise, more and more people are living longer, healthier lives. But the elderly population is growing substantially larger on a global level, too, and according to a story by Alyssa Gerace at Senior Housing News, many countries have realized they need better ways to manage healthcare costs. And technology is the answer, says a recent report on the “Socio-Economic Impact of mHealth” by Boston Consulting Group, along with Telenor Group, on the effects mobile health technology had in 12 countries that ran test or pilot programs.

“With what we know today about the coming increase in the elderly population, what it’s going to cost, and how many hands we need, it’s time to face it—it’s not going to work,” said Norway’s government in an Aftenposten article paraphrased by The Boston Consulting Group, as noted by Gerace in her story. “We have been too focused on building more elderly homes, instead of empowering the elderly to live full lives in their own homes as long as possible… there is a different approach that offers a higher quality of life for the elderly. In addition, it’s cheaper.”

Even as far back as 2009, governments were beginning to recognize that the elderly were going to present a huge (and expensive) problem if their health could not be managed in ways that cost less than they currently did. Enter mHealth.

Mobile health technology allows older populations to “age in place” or live at home through remote monitoring “that can send automatic alarms to healthcare professionals, give medication reminders, and perform wireless check-ups and communication, according to the presentation,” Gerace writes.

Boston Consulting Group found in their study that home monitoring can not only improve safety, security, mobility, and ability for the elderly to stay independent, but “can even save up to 25 percent of the costs of assisted home care using an example from projects/pilots in Scotland and Norway,” according to Gerace.

In fact, the study notes, remote monitoring could save Norway €1.5 billion annually, Denmark €1.25 billion annually, and Sweden €2.4 billion annually by reducing elder care costs.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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