More older adults are embracing technology. According to a Pew Research Center report, 58% of seniors 65 years and above use the internet today. Technology enables seniors to combat loneliness and improve physical and mental health. It also allows them to live independently while keeping in touch with their long-distance loved ones. Read on for five essential tech tools for older adults’ everyday use.
1. Wearable fitness devices
Fitness monitors like FitBit enable you to lead a healthy life. They track your day-to-day activities and sleep to ascertain that you engage in enough exercise. This helps you combat medical conditions such as heart diseases and diabetes.
You could wear your fitness device on your wrist like a lifeline pendant or a watch to monitor your heart rate, daily steps, sleeping schedule, and pattern, and the number of calories burned every day. This gives you the motivation to reach your fitness goals fast. Consider setting up a challenge with family or friends in your senior independent living facility to determine who can get their fitness target first.
2. Medication monitors
Senior adults fill nine to 13 medication prescriptions annually. These prescriptions can be challenging to manage, especially when you opt to stay at home instead of moving into an assisted living facility, so you should consider investing in medication monitors. A medication reminder system enables you to track your prescription schedule. It will alert you when it is time to take your dose and repeat the alarm if you fail to take medicine within a specified time frame.
If more time passes without taking your medication, the device will even contact your primary caregiver. Some medication systems are equipped with medical alert systems that leverage mobile phone technology, enabling them to call your family member or friend first, then an emergency response team in case of medication errors.
Technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in almost all industries, but it’s not hard to see just how much has changed in nursing. Previously labor-intensive tasks like lifting patients and administering medication are now made much easier by using technology and innovative practices. If it has been some time since you stepped foot in a hospital, you might be amazed by the following incredible changes.
Online Nursing Programs
In the past, the only way to become a nurse was by attending a nursing school in person. You might have had to move to a new location and change your entire life just to partake in the program. Now, you can enroll in a nurse program online, and nothing else in your life has to change.
As long as you have a computer, an internet connection, and your chosen provider’s classroom software, you can study to become a nurse. Nursing programs are available for secondary school graduates and nurses looking to upskill. All classes, assignments, and grades are accessible anywhere in the world from the cloud.
Diagnosing illnesses has always been challenging, especially when a wide range of symptoms can indicate an equally wide range of ailments. However, diagnostic equipment has advanced significantly, and it’s now no longer as challenging as it used to be. For example, nurses can use handheld biosensors that require a body specimen and receive definitive answers. They can also utilize ultrasound machines for the best chance of success while placing an IV.
The healthcare sector has witnessed many transformations and investments over the years, and you can only expect this trend to continue, especially after the difficult lessons from the coronavirus pandemic. Amid the global health crises, the healthcare sector responded by adopting various techniques both in practice and technology. If these encouraging signs are anything to go by, 2022 may usher the American healthcare sector into a new era of healthcare. That said, here are some key trends that are currently transforming the healthcare sector in 2022 and beyond.
One of the first trends you can expect to see more of is the use of artificial technology (AI) in healthcare delivery and general medical practice. While the use of AI isn’t necessarily a novelty in the healthcare sector, you can expect to see it take more center stage in the way healthcare is delivered. One of the main results of AI’s impact on healthcare is the availability of various mobile apps and websites that help people to self-diagnose right in their homes.
AI is now also being used in the form of augmented intelligence to enhance the intelligence of clinicians and improve the quality of service they deliver. AI also plays a crucial role in the use of medical technology like hearing aids. For example, it’s used in a hearing aid evaluation to help predict the best possible hearing or sound settings based on data obtained from the user.
Another huge trend taking the US healthcare sector by storm is telehealth services. You probably already know how popular video calling apps have become since the pandemic. Now the healthcare sector is taking advantage of telehealth to deliver healthcare services remotely. Patients who cannot visit their hospitals physically can now see their doctors literally while at home.
By Angela Kennedy, director of strategic operations, medical specialty societies, IQVIA.
In 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) resulted in new regulations that fundamentally changed the way deidentified patient data is accessed and utilized. However, data quality and interoperability between the various healthcare stakeholders has been a major hurdle.
When it comes to implementing the Cures Act, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) each must administer the law’s requirements. Therefore, each agency has released a final rule over their respective jurisdiction.
Information blocking is a primary focus of the ONC final rule, which also requires that developers certified by the ONC Health IT Certification Program must have standardized Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and implement Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) technology, enabling individuals to access structured electronic health information securely and easily.
These advancements will only make information sharing easier. The CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule also focuses on API interoperability, requiring federal payers to make provider directory information publicly available. Specifically, it encourages interoperability and patient access to health information.
In a major step to ensure open sharing of information, the ONC introduced the US Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI). Since ONC is the certifying body for EHRs, providers must be prepared to transition to a new “Cures Edition” version of its software before the end of 2022.
What is USCDI?
USCDI encompasses a standard for data creation, a set of defined data classes and elements that Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendors must be able to provide. This creates an expectation for open and free access to healthcare data by industry stakeholders, including physicians, insurers, labs, registries, and the patients themselves. CMS requires that payers share the USCDI data they maintain with patients via the Patient Access API and with other payers via the Payer-to-Payer Data Exchange.
While some organizations have used APIs to aid the exchange of data, experts in the healthcare industry have been aware that for a truly free and open data exchange to work, modern technology and standards need to be put in place. This is where FHIR comes in.
What is FHIR?
FHIR is based on a new iteration of Representational State Transfer (REST) designs, which uses HTTP to enable the exchange of information between applications. That means if two applications adhere to the standards outlined for REST technologies, it makes it easier for two applications to exchange and manage healthcare data regardless of how it is stored. Not only do these applications now speak the same language, but FHIR has also created categories for certain healthcare interactions to further refine the data exchange by making it easily identifiable within each system.
Throughout history, there has always been a sort of reverent mysticism surrounding healthcare providers. Oftentimes, the patient would turn to their doctor – a person who, curiously enough, might not have had extensive healthcare knowledge working with live individuals – with their chief complaint in tow. Then, following their appointment and the revelation of their concerns, they would blindly follow the recommendations offered by the medical professional, without questioning it.
These days, however, the dynamic between the patient and the doctor has largely shifted. In turn, this allows for both remarkably enhanced communication and considerably superior treatment outcomes, especially when compared to just a mere decade or so ago. While there are a vast myriad of reasons that can be attributed to this change, it’s fair to attest that technology has been a driving catalyst for these emerging developments.
Gone are the days when patients lacked the resources to cross-reference any healthcare advice, and with doctors focusing on bolstering their own training and understanding through continued education (CE) coursework, we’re starting to see a marked improvement in this interaction. And no doubt, as this change continues to proliferate and spread across a wide range of healthcare fields, we can hope to see satisfactory outcomes across the board.
A Focus On Communication
In many ways, the methods that different social groups employ to interact among one another can be traced back to the application of their own unique languages. The healthcare sector is no different. While most doctors in the Western world do speak English with proficiency – albeit with a hearty dose of Latin sprinkled throughout it – it can still come out as a foreign, jumbled mess when the words meet the patient’s ear.
Even when the healthcare provider themself is sincerely trying to speak slowly and enunciate in the exam room, it’s far too easy for the message to become convoluted in their discourse. Technology, however, is striving to change this gap in interpersonal linguistics. For instance, if a diagnosis is uploaded to a patient’s portal, they can peruse it at their own leisure and even research it extensively during their downtime.
Electronic health records (EHR) are also making it easier for patients to follow up on any prescribed treatment options, affording them the ability to break down acronyms and lofty language into layperson’s speech. From there, the patient is then able to touch base with their provider and receive clarification on any questions that may have arisen following their appointment, and the doctor can just as easily respond to them.
Hearing loss has long been one of the most common health issues of all. At the very least, it is one of those conditions that will affect the majority of people in their later years. This has long been the case, and remains unchanged. But there are a lot of changes in hearing loss around the world, and charting these proves quite insightful and informative.
As it happens, hearing loss across the globe is on the increase, and as we are about to see, there are a few possible reasons for this being the case. Let’s dive into it in a bit more detail.
Hearing Loss Is Rising
In general, the world is seeing a sharp increase in hearing loss in all demographics and more or less every nation on Earth. Why this might be is hard to say, but part of the problem might be something to do with the use of devices alongside earbuds and headphones.
With these becoming more and more prevalent, and with there being a known correlation between their use and hearing loss, it’s hardly surprising that there is quite so much hearing loss these days, and that it is happening pretty much everywhere around the world.
Chronic pain is often a result of an injury or accident, but it can also be a persistent and ongoing condition unrelated to an accident or injury. In cases like these, the pain can become chronic or persist for years in some cases. Many people who deal with chronic pain often feel isolated and alone, and they do not know what to do to relieve their pain. It is not as simple as it may seem and can be a challenge to manage when it comes to chronic pain.
To manage chronic pain, compassion, support, and understanding are needed. Patients can often experience other issues compounded or exacerbated by their chronic pain or even have chronic pain related to the original ailments. But knowing the best approach for your patients suffering from chronic pain and taking the time to understand their situation can help you get the best treatment for them while supporting them when they need it.
Understanding a patient’s reaction to their chronic pain
It’s not always easy to understand why someone is experiencing pain, and it’s even harder to know what to do about it. It’s important to note that pain is subjective, and every person experiences it differently. There is no one “right” way to feel about or respond to pain, and this is why it is so important to be patient and compassionate with each person you meet with. There are a few things medical professionals can do to help patients understand why their pain is happening and help them find ways to cope with it.
Seniors, until relatively recently, might not have considered the possibility of aging in place, meaning they stay in their homes. Instead, there was often the automatic assumption that older people would move in with family or they would go to an assisted living community or nursing home.
This isn’t inherently true anymore. More seniors and their families are seeing the benefits of aging in place.
There are still programs where people can receive home care and services, but they remain in an environment that’s familiar and comfortable for them.
Technology has made a lot of this possible even though just a decade ago, it might not have been.
If you’re a senior and you hope to age in your home and remain independent, or you’re helping a loved one plan for their future, understanding the available technology can help you figure out the best strategy.
The Benefits of Aging in Place
There’s a reason staying in your home is becoming the preferred option for so many Americans.
First, you can stay in a place that’s comfortable and familiar for you. Moving can be physically and mentally stressful. For older people, it can cause more confusion, and it can also lead to mental health symptoms like depression.
When you’re in your home, even if you need some help along the way, you can also retain your sense of independence and empowerment. That’s important, and it’s key for aging with dignity and continuing to enjoy a good quality of life.
Financially, it can also make more sense. Assisted living and nursing facilities can be incredibly expensive. There are programs that can cover some of the costs of in-home care, which is almost always going to be less expensive than out-of-the-home options.
If you have grandchildren and family members who come visit you often, you might also want them to have a home where they come to and make memories rather than visiting you in an impersonal place.
An unexpected side effect of the pandemic is how the health industry quickly realized the extraordinary advantages stemming from the rapid adoption of advanced, end-to-end telehealth solutions.
In 2020, when doctors’ offices, hospitals, and other nonessential places were closed, physicians and their patients began to use telehealth solutions at a pace never seen before and not only discovered their ease and convenience, but the impact it had on their overall bottom lines.
To illustrate this point, and according to Healthcare IT News, adopting Digital health services has the potential to save $46 billion a year in health spending. Furthermore, a recent survey from the COVID-19 Health Care Coalition Telehealth Workgroup revealed that 67% of patients saw lower costs with their telehealth visits compared to in-person visits. In addition, 78% of patients believed their telehealth visit addressed their health concerns. Innovative telehealth solutions can save patients, providers, and hospitals time and money.
Now, as the pandemic hopefully continues to subside—decreased cases and providers’ offices open to in-person visits—patients will have greater freedom on doctor visits and medical care. They can schedule an appointment through traditional avenues, delve into the time-consuming check-in process via paperwork, forms, and waiting rooms, or streamline the process from familiar home surroundings with the ease and convenience of telehealth services.
Telehealth digital front doors provide patients with a seamless health journey via an array of enhanced services such as asynchronous or synchronous visits, automated symptom checkers, search tools, and even intelligent chatbots that can assist a patient in determining the best source of care based on simple question and answer surveys. Doctors can then respond by using the same platforms, creating and beginning a treatment plan for the patient.
By using a digital front door, logistics can be streamlined and made efficient by linking patients, their providers, payers, hospital systems, and electronic health records into a single connected ecosystem.
In addition, telehealth maximizes provider logistics and care to patients during moments of crisis and emergency.
Medical care marketing can be challenging. Most people try to put medical appointments out of their minds until the day of — it’s not something they aim to engage with daily.
When marketing your ophthalmology practice, connecting with and engaging potential patients is the key. Here are some powerful marketing tips to help reach your target audience and connect in an impactful way: