Senior Care Technology Review: Tel-Tron, Telehealth, PERS & More

In this senior care technology roundup, a U.S. technology provider is expanding in to the U.S. market and will provide its senior care solutions for the Emeritus/Columbia Pacific Advisors joint venture in China. Additionally, the nation’s largest 55+ community is getting access to online healthcare thanks to a partnership between American Well and the University of South Florida’s health department, and independent seniors will have a new PERS option. Read on for more information.

1. Tel-Tron: Expanding Senior Care Technology Into China Senior Living Market

Senior care technology provider Tel-Tron Technologies Corporation has become the first U.S.-based company in its market to provide solutions for use by senior care facilities in China.

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Cascade Healthcare, a joint venture between Emeritus Senior Living and Columbia Pacific Advisors, is scheduled to open the first foreign-owned senior care facility in China in mid-2012, which will use Tel-Tron technology.

“Although the Chinese culture has historically embraced the notion of family caring for elderly in the home, a number of evolving factors are creating a huge opportunity for senior housing in China”, says Rick Taylor, Tel-Tron Senior Vice President of Market Expansion. “The potential growth of the China senior living market based on census data alone is staggering.”

China’s 75+ demographic grew nearly 50% between 2000 and 2010, according to Census Bureau data, and projections show it will rise another 34% between 2010 and 2020—and 245% between 2020 and 2050.

Now, Tel-Tron’s solution is available not only in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, but also for customers who use Simplified Chinese language. Additionally, caregiver, resident, and administrative touch-points were adapted to make the solution more “intuitive” for indigenous users.

“Converting our product for use in China was a challenge because, in contrast to Indo-European languages, the Chinese language is far more complex with its multi-byte ideographic characters,” says Jason Rogers, Tel-Tron Director of Marketing and Product Management. “As an outcome of this investment, our product line is now capable of supporting any language and can be implemented globally.”

2. USF, American Well: Telehealth Platform Deployed at Florida Retirement Community

American Well is partnering with the USF Health at the University of South Florida to bring online healthcare to residents at The Villages, the country’s largest Over-55 residential community.

The Online Care program will bring healthcare right into the homes of retirees and is expected to improve chronic disease management, decrease hospitalizations, and reduce medical costs. The partnership will be the first time American Well’s telehealth platform will be specifically targeted toward a senior population. The web-based software platform can give consumers instant access to healthcare providers through video, secure tex chat, and/or phone.

USF Health will deploy Online Care in support of its patient-centered healthcare system, developed in partnership with The Villages. The 55+ community gives its residents easy, coordinated access to healthcare, and its goal is to use the online platform to reduce hospital admissions, readmission rates, and pharmacy costs, while maintaining Medicare beneficiaries in their homes rather than in more expensive long-term care settings.

“The residents of The Villages are highly active and independent. On a daily basis, they dispel the myth that seniors do not embrace technology,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and CEO, USF Health, in a statement. “In fact, when designing The Villages’ Health System, the patients asked for a healthcare solution that utilizes the same technologies they use to buy stocks, books and travel. For these reasons, Online Care is an ideal technology solution for us.”

More than half of the nation’s 65+ population is online, compared to just 15% in April 2000, according to Pew Internet & American Life Project studies. And among 65+ Internet users, 70% use the Internet on a typical day.

USF Health will be the first customer to launch American Well’s telehealth platform through Online Care Practice.

3. Nurse Alert: Senior Medical Alert System for Both Emergency & Non-Emergency Situations

Nurse Alert, a senior medical alert system with a pending patent, is now offering an advanced Personal Emergency Response System with a Nurse Triage Call Center Service. The system provides independence and security for seniors by providing access to immediate medical help at the touch of a button. Through the system, seniors have access to a 24/7 nurse assistance line for medical questions related to medication and general health.

Nurse Alert has two buttons: one that connects users to a 24-hour emergency monitoring center, and the other, Nurse Triage, for non-urgent medical needs. The Nurse Triage Center is staffed with board-certified RNs who are qualified to answer medical questions. Once connected, the subscriber’s medical records are prompted by the call and available to the nurse for proper diagnoses.

In cases of serious health concerns, the nurse will dispatch local emergency medical responders to the user’s location, and alert family of the situation.

4. Pathway Health Services: New Partnership With AIS for Industry Courseware

Minnesota-based Pathway Health Services, Inc. recently signed an agreement with AIS, Inc., a provider of comprehensive, on-demand RAI education for skilled nursing facilities, for the implementation, training and ongoing support of AIS’ RAI 3.0 courseware.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Pathway to partner with AIS to help implement innovative industry specific technology,” said Deborah Schuna, CEO of Pathway Health Services, in a statement. “In these challenging times, it is important for providers to have strong partnerships as they focus on improved MDS coding accuracy and the delivery of quality outcomes.”

The RAI 3.0 courseware is focused on the RAI methodologies, including MDS 3.0, RUG IV, QM, respiratory therapy and documenting Activities of Daily Living (ADL) learning topics. Pathway will mobilize over 150 expert consultants to support AIS’ clients throughout the United States.

“By combining AIS’ cost-effective and comprehensive online MDS 3.0, RUGs IV and Quality Measures education with Pathway Health Services’ industry leading consulting and in-person education, the most comprehensive MDS 3.0 and RUGs IV education will be available within the industry,” said Scott Keller, CEO of AIS, Inc.

5. Intamac: New IP-Based Senior Care Service for Home Monitor Suite

British home services provider Intamac Systems recently launched a “new and improved” Senior Care service meant to keep seniors living independently at home longer. It’s an IP and DECT-enabled control gateway which connects to the Intamac Connect cloud platform to provide alerts and control of multiple types of events to caregivers and loved ones. The Senior Care gateway supports several accessories, including a fall detector, a panic pendant, a smoke detector, and movement sensors.

New features include two-way voice communication with user-defined emergency contacts in the event an alert is issued. If the user has a fall or presses the panic button, the system automatically and securely calls designated contacts so they can talk directly to the user. This is a new feature, along with “enhanced” service capabilities that include movement monitoring and tracking, conditional alerts and notifications, panic and medical emergency alerts, and activity charts and logs that aim to extend aging in place.

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