Looks like more senior care technology mergers in this week’s roundup, as education and record-keeping companies Upstairs Solutions and Care2Lean have partnered for the industry’s broadest e-learning and management system available to providers. Another healthcare technology company, Siemens, saw a breakthrough in its Alzheimer’s detection solution, while another company has updated some existing technology. Microsoft, in collaboration with several age-related agencies, is launching an exergaming program promoting fitness and activity among seniors, and GeckoSystems is pursuing robotic technology to improve safety and functionality in senior at-home care.
1. Microsoft: “Exergaming” Program Increases Seniors’ Activity & Well-being
Microsoft Corp., along with the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging, the Partners in Care Foundation, and St. Barnabas Senior Services, recently unveiled the Exergames Wellness Club, a program that combines technology with exercise, overall health monitoring, and evidence-based health education from Partners in Care. Participating seniors will use Kinect for Xbox 360 to supplement fitness activities, and they’ll use Microsoft HealthVault to manage and store their personal health information.
Previous participants have reported improved fitness and well-being through the program, which is being extended to an additional 15 senior centers in Los Angeles.
2. RF Technologies: Updated Features for Fall Management Alarm Model
RF Technologies, a provider of radio frequency identification (RFID) health care safety and security solutions, recently released updated alarm units for its Sensatec Fall Management Solution, adding features that can be utilized by staff in senior living communities, hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities.
Newer models for the restraint-free Fall Management Solution have faster audible cadence that can help ensure alarms are answered, thus reducing risk. There are also new volume control buttons on two of the models, which enables staff to easily adjust an alarm’s volume to better manage room noise levels.
3. Upstairs Solutions & Care2Learn: Merger Forms Post-Acute Care Industry’s Largest Compliance/E-learning Company
Upstairs Solutions and Care2Learn recently announced a merger between the two company’s interactive, online training solutions for the post-acute healthcare industry, forming the industry’s broadest e-learning and record-keeping system available.
The merger gives providers (including skilled nursing facilities, assisted and independent living facilities, and rehabilitation facilities) access to more than 500 accredited course modules, enabling management, administrators, nurses, and other licensed and non-licensed professionals to fulfill mandatory continuing education requirements.
Clients will also be able to use the Learning Management System to keep track of records and manage training, licenses, and competencies, with combined integration incorporating the best of both companies’ features.
4: Siemens: Integrated Amyloid Imaging Solution for Evaluating of Alzheimer’s Disease
Siemens Healthcare (NYSE:SI) has developed the first complete integrated diagnostic imaging solution for detecting amyloid plaques (one of the necessary pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease) in the living brain.
The imaging solution encompasses three elements: the new Biograph mCT PET-CT scanner, syngo.PET Amyloid Plaque neurology quantification software, and the manufacturing and distribution of Amyvid, a radioactive diagnostic agent indicated for brain imaging of beta-amyloid plaques in patients with cognitive impairment who are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of cognitive decline.
An important aspect of determining the significance of amyloid that’s present in someone’s brain has to do with whether it’s located in the brain’s white matter or gray matter. Traditional scanners being used today often lack the fine volumetric resolution and high-contrast ratio required to differentiate between the two types of brain matter, says Siemens, but the new Biograph mCT gives a very high-image quality and quantifiable results that are more accurate.
Starting in June 2012, Siemens will begin supplying Amyvid to imaging centers in limited U.S. markets.
5. GeckoSystems: Service Robot as Caregiver for Elderly
GeckoSystems Int. Corp. recently completed Alpha trials of its CareBot personal assistance robot for the elderly that has been tested in home care settings with positive feedback from both caregivers and receivers. The corporation is now preparing for Beta testing of the CareBot, prior to full-scale production and marketing; tech developers recently incorporated Microsoft Kinect depth cameras into the robot, resulting in a significant cost reduction.
Gecko Systems is developing a “SafePath” BaseBot that demonstrates “loose crowd” level autonomy, artificial intelligence, autopilot seek, cognizant navigation, and reactive, proactive and contemplative avoidance behaviors—functional benefits that allow emergent mobile robot behaviors such as errand running and patrolling.
The robotics technology developer is collaborating with partner company ZMP of Japan, who in turn is consulting with a major Japanese university looking to study the advantages of robotic wheelchairs for the disabled.