Senior Care Technology Round-Up: Mobile Apps, “Exergaming” & More

In this week’s round-up, tech companies put forth their latest innovations in senior care. From personal robots and virtual exercising, to remote-monitoring technology that tracks vitality and detects injuries, companies are developing new tools to help seniors age in place. 

Other companies have taken steps in the operations direction, with mobile apps and social media tools that enable executives to generate client leads and see how they stack up in the industry amongst their competitors. Read on:

1. Mobile App Provides Enterprise-Wide Analysis, Enables Competitor Comparisons

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OnShift, a web-based staff scheduling and shift management software for the healthcare industry, announced its new app OnShift Mobile. The app delivers top-down analysis into staffing and labor management for on-the-go executives in the senior care industry. 

OnShift Mobile extends the functionality of OnShift staff scheduling software with key workforce analytics so executives gain actionable insight across properties, all with the aim of making fast and informed decisions in improving operations, labor costs and resident care. 

Features include tracking staffing levels; overtime and occupancy status against budgets; insight at the enterprise, region, division and facility/community-basis; the ability to compare their organization against other regions, divisions and properties with new peer analysis capabilities. 

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Read more about how you can compare yourself to industry competitors with this mobile app.

2. Social Media Tool Recruits Client Leads,  Provides Caregiver and Patient Updates 

“Social media and aging senior care don’t seem to go hand-in-hand. But for Home Care Assistance, an in-home senior care company, social media has been an invaluable tool for growth, propelling the business to hit $63 million in revenue in 2012 and grow 25% year-over-year for nearly a decade,” reports Fox Business. 

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“The company uses social media as a recruiting tool for new client leads, provide updates on its caregivers and patients as well as to offer health tips for the elderly.”

“There are a lot of misnomers and myths propagated by our industry about social media,” she says. “The primary health-care decision maker is a son or daughter in their 50s or 60s, even though our clients are in the eighties and nineties. The AARP says Facebook is one of the top three sites seniors peruse and 41% health-care decisions are made in part from social media and reviews.”

Read more about this Silicon Valley start-up’s new tech.

3. Virtual Reality Meets Physical Exercise, Enhances Cognitive Abilities of Seniors

With one nonprofit provider’s new fitness program, seniors with dementia will be able to reap the benefits from physical and cognitive exercise all without leaving the comforts of home.

The Porch Center for Technology Innovation and Wellbeing (CTIW) has even taken their test program to the streets by conducting demonstrations of its “exergaming” device.

The CyberCycles fitness program incorporates the physical activity of biking with mentally stimulating virtual reality, to take the monotony out of exercising by helping seniors with dementia enhance their cognitive functions.

Through the specially-designed bikes equipped with virtual-reality screens to simulate outdoor biking and racing, exergaming provides an accessible means for seniors to remain active while simultaneously aging in place.  

Read an article on the effects of virtual gaming on seniors.

4. Remote-Monitoring Cardiac Device, a “Game-Changing” Impact on 30-day Readmissions

CardioNet, Inc. and the AirStrip teamed up to provide an integrated solution for mobile patient monitoring with a device that tracks cardiac data. AirStrip will deliver patient data from CardioNet’s Mobile Cardiac Outpatient Telemetry directly to clinicians mobile devices, including tables and phones. 

“This partnership s the foundation for a powerful end-to-end cardiac care package that promises to have a game-changing impact on 30-day readmissions for heart failure,” said Alan Portela, AirStrip CEO. “Our pioneering mobility solution delivers critical patient data to physicians anywhere across the care continuum to encourage better decision-making and improve both the timeliness and quality of care.”

Read more about the collaboration on the device. 

5. Cloud-Based Tracking Technology Detects Falls, Keep Seniors Healthy at Home

“Sonitor Technologies’ ultrasound based USID technology is already used in hospitals to locate and track patients. But it can also be deployed to monitor activity and detect falls in the home. The system is almost entirely battery powered and can be installed quickly and cost effectively. All that is required is a wide area communication interface and the infrastructure to manage emergency calls. 

Sonitor’s system is based on a small waterproof sensor worn like a wristwatch. Every 15s, this sends a positioning signal using Wi-Fi to a homecare gateway. Positioning signals generated by the ultrasound system deliver 3d data to an accuracy of 3cm. The smart homecare gateway is constantly active and monitors these measurements. With local computing intelligence, the gateway only sends relevant data if help is needed.”

Read more about which situations will trigger an alarm at New Electronics.se

6. Inventors File Patent or “Autonomous Personal Service Robot”

“Autonomous personal service robot to monitor its owner for symptoms of distress and provide assistance. The system may include sensors to detect situations before they affect people such as smoke, heat, temperature and carbon monoxide sensors. The system can provide security for the home. The PRA may comprise features such as a medicine dispenser and blood pressure cuff. Features such as broadband internet, MP3 player, reading lights and eye glass tracker provide butler type capabilities that enable the system to appeal to markets beyond the elderly and informed… Equipping th system with a robot arm enables the robot to fetch items, turn on and off wall switches and open the refrigerator.” Check out the patent, which includes images and diagrams of what the robot could look like. 

Written by Jason Oliva 

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