We were honored by the opportunity to attend ALFA 2015 last week, and it gave us an interesting glance into how wireless is becoming a building block for improved care of our elderly loved ones. To date, there’s a lot of focus on local wireless technologies for several reasons, but as we move to a model of allowing seniors to age in the places where they are most comfortable, cellular may begin to play a stronger role.
Patient monitoring in hospitals and/or assisted living communities via connected applications and devices has long been operating on local cellular technology; however, this same use of cellular networks and applications for patients who choose to age at home is becoming more and more common. With more patients connecting from home, it is important to create networks that are reliable and secure for elderly patients whose private medical information is shared through monitoring devices as they live at home – an initiative that KORE is committed to making a reality.
There are a few solutions currently operating on KORE’s secure network that are helping healthcare providers keep an eye on their patients from home. One example is InstantCare, which provides patients with a wearable monitoring device that has a push button for them to use if they fall or hurt themselves and need medical attention or assistance. The patient is automatically connected to experts in triage care and emergency response to discuss their injury and decide if they need an ambulance or immediate medical care. This instant communication with a medical professional allows for more pointed care and also helps avoid emergency care costs. Prescreening patients before transporting them to the hospital saves money for the patient, insurance company and hospital. With less “frequent flyers” in the emergency department, hospitals can focus on giving the best care possible to those patients in serious need.
Another real-life application that is utilizing cellular connectivity to help monitor patients is the use of a GPS tracker for elderly patients living at home to help caretakers and family maintain constant contact with an elderly adult. With this application, which uses KORE’s Position Logic platform, alerts can be generated based on location status, movement and changes in pressure, along with customizable alert options set up for individual needs. Remote patient monitoring applications like this are valuable for patients with a variety of medical issues, including those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease who tend to suffer from confusion and wandering.
With an increasing number of mhealth technologies being made available for patients and their families to choose from to help elderly adults age at home instead of in assisted living or nursing homes, it is crucial for the cellular networks that host the connectivity for these devices to be secure, reliable and have expansive, seamless coverage to ensure a constant connection. Without a reliable cellular connection, proper care may not be available, leading to serious health concerns and little peace of mind for caregivers and families. The need for a strong cellular network and reliable technologies to monitor and properly care for an elderly patient are points that were evident at the conference, which was a great snapshot into how healthcare is evolving and what is needed to continue that forward progress. The KORE network is ready and able to support these mHealth devices and provide the necessary security and connectivity to keep patients happy and healthy.