The graying of the population and healthcare's ever-increasing costs are two drivers of an initiative sometimes called "Connected Health". The goal is to expand healthcare so that quality care can be delivered outside of traditional medical settings. Remote care and disease management are two faces of these technology-enabled care programs that we saw at CES.
We have been covering the application of broadband and wireless technologies to home healthcare for four years. Technology to address "Healthcare Unbound" keeps getting more capable and less expensive. Groups such as the Continua Health Alliance are fostering development of health care standards, system interoperability, and device connectivity. But technology is not the limiting factor in Healthcare Unbound -- business models and reimbursement are. Changing these is proving to be slow and painful.
You've heard it before: the healthcare system worldwide is facing a crisis. At a symposium in Boston on "The Accelerating Use of Communication Technology in Healthcare" there were two pieces of good news. A committed core of thought leaders from the medical community, corporations and governments is starting to act as a catalyst for experimentation and change. And the health care impacts and after-effects of Hurricane Katrina may act as a rallying cry to speed attention to this critical problem, at least in the US.
We heard from one of our readers in Italy this month about his company's work on healthcare solutions.
Transforming Disease Care Into Health Care: Can Broadband Help? (BBHR 8/15/2004)
What's next in networking after WANs, MANs, LANs and PANs? At the recent Healthcare Unbound conference we learned about body area networks: BANs. The theme of this conference was the growing need to fix the "broken" US healthcare system. Technologists and healthcare professionals agreed that current and new technologies can help. But they are disruptive to current structures and incentives and therefore face an uphill battle to gain widespread adoption.
What effect can we and our companies have on our own future well-being and that of our loved ones? AAHSA and CAST are focused on answering that question by bringing together technology companies, researchers, facility administrators and government representatives to impact how technology will be successfully used to provide services for the aging. We report on the "Future of Aging Services Conference" in Washington, where we saw lots of promising ideas, and much work yet to be done.
During our June visit to Spain, Telefónica showed us their "Hogar Digital" and their trial of home-based health services in operation today with actual patients. This guest article provides an overview of the project’s goals and its conclusions to date.
Repurposing Broadband: Home Health Technologies for the Worldwide Age Wave - A Guest Article by Eric Dishman (BBHR 7/15/2003)
While Intel was studying broadband early adopters and their uses of digital entertainment, they found many participants who wanted Intel to address a different and more troubling problem: the pressures of dealing with health problems of their spouses and parents kept bubbling to the surface. Eric Dishman reports on Intel's progress in understanding what needs home health innovations should address and their experience in prototyping “smart home” systems to help address them. In early 2004, these systems will move from the lab and into the lives of real elders and their caregivers.