mHealthNews Looks at the Intersection of Digital Health Technology and Aging at Home
August 25, 2014 08:53 AM
mHealthNews, a prominent news website for the mobile health community, recently ran an article that looks at the synergy of aging at home and the rise of digital health technology. Entitled, Aging at home: A necessary synergy with digital health technology, the article looks at how to address the influx of Baby Boomers who would prefer to age in their own homes, and the rise of digital technologies that could make that goal possible.
The article mentions the Fostering Independence through Technology (FITT) Act, which NAHC’s affiliate Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) worked to draft and get introduced in the Senate, as one step to help make digital technology more readily available to help an aging population get the care they need in their homes.
Excerpts for the article are included below:
“Healthcare will be generally focused in the home. The National Institute on Aging's website suggests ways in which the elderly can be helped at home. Unfortunately, it is designed for those who can afford total care, whether it be medical or non-medical aid. The site states that “some might be covered by Medicare,” but neglects to say that almost none if it is. Medicare resources need to be shifted from fee-for-service for high hospital reimbursements to reimbursement for total care, which includes (and should be heavily weighted towards) home care. Most of all, it should be patient-specific (and should include older persons who are the ‘walking well’), not diagnosis-driven.
Aging at home should include technologies aimed at preventive medicine efforts hopefully minimizing readmissions as well as non-medical support for both patients and caregivers. These issues were elegantly addressed by the European Union’s "Quality Care for Quality Aging" project.
Technologies that can aid the elderly and sick at home should be reimbursed, independent of an event such as a recent hospitalization. The technology should meet some minimal requirements…
It is sad that red tape, lack of regulatory and budget flexibility and reliance on traditional reimbursement models impede the rapid adoption of even proven technologies. The FDA has a process of ‘fast tracking' drug approval. The CMS must develop some way of fast tracking approval for reimbursement of digital technologies without necessarily incorporating them into large-scale overhauls of the healthcare system like the HITECH Act or the "Fostering Independence Through Technology Act."…
Most developed countries have much more extensive assistance available for people to be treated, recover and live at home than the U.S. This reflects cultural views on aging. New care models must be developed, and the infrastructure that assists caregivers as well as the technology to support them must be provided. The technologies already exist and are used on national scales. The Center for Technology and Aging’s 2014 report on The New Era of Connected Aging provides many examples of these available technologies.
As Baby Boomers are now realizing the limitations of current healthcare models that encourage institutionalization of healthcare and aging, they will be the ones to champion new ones. Let us realize that change can and must happen, and let technology fit into the new paradigm of shifting healthcare from the institution to the home where most of us would desire it for ourselves.”
For more on NAHC’s affiliate Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA), please click here.
For more on the FITT Act, please click here.