There are few things more gut wrenching than having to leave a loved one alone while they struggle with health challenges. Life doesn’t come with a pause button. If you’re struggling with the agonizing pangs of guilt when at work, away from your elderly love one’s side, there’s an app for that. All kidding aside, there is new healthcare technology that helps seniors live more independently, while putting their loved ones’ minds at ease. Virtual healthcare, telemedicine and IoT devices are empowering seniors with better access to healthcare resources from home. And it’s allowing caretakers to better manage their loved one’s health.
IoT Technology in Healthcare
The Internet of Things is a broad category of devices that connect to the internet – ranging from the Ring doorbell to a refrigerator that automatically orders a new water filter before the current one expires. In healthcare, IoT devices have been around forever. Everyone is familiar with the MedicAlert TV ads. This connected device helps seniors access help in case of an emergency. With the recent explosion in IoT devices, there are plenty of competing senior monitoring and alert systems entering the market – many of which use both home WiFi and mobile broadband connections to keep seniors connected to help at the press of a button. We’re also seeing the introduction of wearable devices that can help physicians monitor their patients remotely. This means unusual medical events can be detected early, potentially saving lives. And elderly patients can more reliably be monitored for appropriate medication dosage and timing.
Telemedicine Could Mean Seniors Spend Less Time in Doctor Waiting Rooms
One of the more frustrating aspects of getting old and dealing with a long list of medical issues is the time it takes to travel to the doctor’s office, wait for your appointment and then be seen by the physician. And then there’s the anxiety that many patients feel when visiting their doctor, commonly referred to as White Coat Syndrome. Telemedicine allows for physicians to see their patients where they’re most comfortable – at home. And it doesn’t require the physician to spend countless hours traveling from patient to patient. Instead, a patient opens an app on their iPad or smartphone of choice. Then they are securely connected with their physician – similar to the way facetime and skype allow us to videoconference one another on-demand. The difference is that modern telemedicine apps are HIPPA compliant, and are designed to help ensure doctors are compensated for their visit by health insurance providers.
Virtual Healthcare is Made Possible Thanks to EMRs
Accessing medical care from home is a powerful step forward for seniors; some of which are disabled and have difficulty traveling to a doctor’s office. While some medical concerns will require an in-person visit, many minor issues or standard check-ups can be taken care of virtually. This is especially true when you factor in all of the data that wearables can send physicians. Whether in-person or virtual, healthcare relies on accurate record keeping. Physicians are able to effortlessly store electronic medical records (EMRs) in the cloud. Again, modern cloud-computing and storage can be HIPPA compliant – a critical factor for physicians worried about legal liability. From the same tablet that patients use for virtual healthcare checkups, they can view their medical charts. For loved ones, this means that it’s easier than ever to check on the health of an elderly parent. Between health monitoring, telemedicine and EMRs, seniors have a better standard of accessible healthcare than ever before. And these benefits extend far beyond seniors – every patient that comes into contact with the healthcare system benefits from technology that allows physicians and patients to better team-up and tackled health challenges together. And with increased coverage for telemedicine services from Medicare and Medicaid, the sky is the limit for the future of virtual healthcare for seniors.