Technology and Senior Care

Technological innovation has already made waves in senior care through the use smart-sensor systems that can observe residents’ motions, nearly removing the need for a room-by-room check in the morning. Eight in ten assisted living residents need help handling their medicine, according to the National Center for Assisted Living, and medicine management is placed to be the next focus for time saving performance through a new technology coming to market: digital pills. But that is not all they can do. Imagine a regular day in a senior care setting. Care providers visit the bedrooms of all citizens who get medicine. They provide the medicines and then wait around several minutes for each resident to take them, one by one, guaranteeing the amounts are not neglected or lost.

technology_and_senior_careBut what if the care provider simply left the daily amount and move along to the next resident, not having to worry about awaiting each individual to take each pill? Enter: digital pills. The development was released by Proteus Digital Health and obtained U.S. Food and Drug Administration acceptance last July 2012. The technologies are now being promoted for at-home use in Britain and will be getting in U.S. medical centers later this year, which could have wide significances for senior care. “Our electronic health reviews program is designed to help individuals better handle their care each and every day,” says David O’Reilly, primary product official. “Whether it nudges to help individuals keep on track with their schedule or better advised caregivers and physicians, the program will provide significant benefit to those who are suffering from way of life changes as a result of getting older.”

The digital pill works as part of a system to monitor and observe a person’s consumption of medicine as well as vital symptoms and activity. On standard, seniors use five to six prescriptions, according to a 2007 study released in the Journal of Internal Medicine. The digital pill has the ability of being integrated into medicine themselves, or being taken as a placebo pill along with medicine. Once digestive function starts, the pill, which contains an electronic indicator about the size of a grain of sand, goes to work. It sends data through a wearable patch, via Bluetooth straight to a family member’s or caregiver’s mobile phone or computer, allowing that individual to know the medicine has been taken, whether the individual is up and about, and even health alerts.