With the recent "electronic" pill bottle announcement by AT&T and Vitality, health care technology is destined to move into the home - maybe right into your medicine cabinet!!!
With all the innovations being announced, one of the best ways to educate consumers about the state of health care technology is by offering enhanced services that can be used on a daily basis.
Realistically, it may be some time before anyone uses a pill bottle that notifies people when it's time to take medications by sending reminder calls, but it's this bold innovation that will ultimately contribute to the future health care system in our country. And it could be something that impacts how health care is offered in the not-to-distant future.
Home health care is a perfect area for innovation. While larger companies, including Qualcomm, IBM, GE and others focus on the big picture, and set the pace for advanced technical health care solutions, smaller companies are beginning to offer more immediate solutions for in-home care.
For example, family members would have the peace-of-mind knowing their loved ones in need of caregiving are at home instead of in hospitals, rehab centers or long-term elder care facilities.
Homecare is not only good for the family, but for the people requiring the caregiving. More often than not, the ability to receive caregiver service in the home allows them to continue interacting in their social circles - for youngsters, this would be the equivalent of social networking -- keeping their minds active and their lives independent.
Companies such as Grandcare, Healthwise and Independa, offer caregivers the ability to keep a virtual eye on elderly parents or homebound patients.
In varying degrees, these companies offer remote services that can monitor the condition of a parents' home and health status at a glance, communicate with in-home caregivers to alert them that the patient did not take their medication, or that they may have missed a doctor's appointment. Some even can remind people about local community services and activities.
As the New Year begins, health care reform continues to elude government. Many solutions for decreasing costs and enhancing services are already available, and with a glimpse of the impact technology could have, like the pill bottle, the potential future of health care could become a shining example of what can be done if we take advantage of the tools available to all of us.
Have a safe and healthy week.
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