This senior care technology roundup focuses on a shake-up in the remote monitoring sector, with 3M discontinuing its Resident Monitoring product line, Status Solutions updating its SARA platform, and Embedded Wireless tapping AT&T to exclusively deliver its wireless remote monitoring system. In other news, a new pharmacy services company specializing in senior medication management has launched, while a Connecticut Senator has called for a crackdown on misleading marketing for power mobility devices, calling it a form of Medicare fraud. Read on:
Embedded Wireless: AT&T to Deliver Remote Monitoring & Response Platform
Embedded Wireless is teaming up with AT&T to deliver a wireless remote monitoring platform for improved senior care. AT&T will be the exclusive 4G LTE mobile internet provider for the Zilant Wellness Remote Monitoring Platform and a mobile personal emergency response (mPERS) system.
The Zilant product is a home monitoring platform that integrates a system of monitoring devices and environment sensors to facilitate senior care, chronic disease management, and independent living. The mPERs Pendant can be worn around the next and continuously monitors activity and location with the ability to detect falls. It can automatically or manually initiative two-way voice communication for emergency response and transmit relevant data and personal information, including location, to pre-designated parties.
“We’re teaming up with Embedded Wireless to make in-home remote patient monitoring simpler and more effective for healthcare organizations to deploy and scale,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president of AT&T Emerging Devices. “Systems can be fully operational at home within hours of a patient’s discharge from the hospital, giving caregivers and healthcare providers the ability to remotely monitor data gathered by home based sensors and monitoring devices.”
3M: Discontinues Resident Monitoring Product Line
Senior Housing Forum reports that 3M Resident Monitoring has been notifying customers of its exit from the emergency call system marketplace in the past few weeks. At this point, it looks like 3M is no longer selling or installing new systems, but plans to continue supporting existing customers through 2013, according to SHF. 3M Resident Monitoring confirmed to SHN that it was discontinuing the product line, but did not provide a statement.
“This is a life safety issue and means that essentially right now, existing customers will need to make plans to replace their existing system in the next 14 months,” says Senior Housing Forum’s Steve Moran. “It means a very significant unforeseeable capital expenditure of tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for each replacement system. …There is a conventional wisdom that says going with a large company like 3M gives customers the assurance they are too big to fail. The problem is, that because they are so big, something like emergency call is such a minor component, it really means nothing to drop the product line.” Read more…
In July, EmFinders exited the tracking device market and went out of business.
Status Solutions: New Video Paging & Mapping Capabilities Added to Platform
Status Solutions has updated its Situational Awareness and Response Assistant (SARA) platform to incorporate video paging and mapping into the eMessenger component. Now, alerts sent to computers can include video pages with information about a triggering event along with corresponding video footage or details about the event, along with a facility map highlighting certain points of information, such as were exits are located.
“SARA’s eMessenger underpins our all-screen strategy, which is the ability to drive situational awareness to virtually any screen—from PCs to smart phones, tablets and digital signage, including televisions and kiosks,” says Kris Kuty, who leads solutions management for Status Solutions. “Future versions will support the operating systems that power all of these screens so that critical information about life safety, security and environmental monitoring goes to the people who need to respond. It all goes back to our mission of protecting people, property, business and convenience.”
AlixaRx: New Pharmacy Services Company for Senior Medication Management
AlixaRx, a newly-launched company that’s been in development stages for the past four years, will now provide comprehensive pharmacy services to post-acute and other healthcare settings, using “cutting-edge” technology and advanced clinical pharmacist consulting to improve medication management and deliver cost-savings to the healthcare system.
“The current medication management model for post-acute care facilities in particular is inefficient, outdated, and too costly,” said Ron Silva, President and CEO of Fillmore Capital Partners, a private investment company that has invested in AlixaRx. “AlixaRx will dramatically change the landscape of the healthcare community by providing all vital medications to patients on-site, while reducing the cost of medications to the payer to a single unit dose cost.”
The company’s board-certified, geriatric-speciality clinical pharmacists will seek to optimize drug therapy for patients and payors and will use real-time electronic access to the most current patient information with a goal of providing better care while reducing the number of medications consumed.
AlixaRx has entered an agreement with Golden Living, a post-acute healthcare services provider, as its launch customer. It will provide pharmacy services to the company’s 302 LivingCenters nationwide and expects to provide services to more than 70 Golden LivingCenters by the end of the year.
Senator Calls for Crackdown on Misleading Marketing for Power Mobility Devices
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) along with healthcare advocates called for a crackdown on “aggressive and misleading tactics” used by the power mobility device industry to market motorized wheelchairs and scooters to seniors during an Oct. 18 event at The Mary Wade Home in New Haven, Conn.
The often-misleading advertising has served to drive up costs for consumers in the Medicare program, compounded by the pressure PMD suppliers often put on doctors to “prescribe” their products.
“The federal government must redouble its efforts to crack down on the pervasive Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse associated with expensive power mobility devices, but we need to do more to address the root cause of this problem,” said Sen. Blumenthal.
PMDs account for about $606 million of Medicare spending each year, according to the senator, but a 2011 investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that 80% of claims for these devices didn’t meet Medicare criteria and shouldn’t have been paid—resulting in a $492 million loss to the program during the time frame examined. Read more.