As the cost of health care rises with the aging of America, necessity may become the mother of medical invention. The FT reports on some emerging technologies that help make eldercare cheaper and more efficient. Take Lively, a U.S. company that puts sensors on household objects like medicine and food, sending alerts to either a family member’s phone or a health care provider if the elderly person misses a treatment or displays some other notable “abnormality”:
Lively is being used by some care companies as a “last mile solution”, charging $40-$45 a week to wrap services and monitoring around the system, on top of the $25 a month Lively costs, he said.“It is about a tenth of the price of full home care,” Mr Fanlo said. “Care providers can look after many many more families than they did before by using technology. It is a smart and intelligent way to use human resources.”
Lively, as well as the other companies mentioned in the FT piece, may or may not succeed, but they are the kind of service delivery innovation that the U.S. health care system will need to bend the cost curve, especially as the population ages. Missed medication, for example, creates financial waste in the system, and can lead to costly re-hospitalization. More of this please, and faster.