Aging & Personal Connected Health Technology: Moving the Needle Forward
By Vera Rulon, Senior Advisor, PCHAlliance task force strategy
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world's population over the age of 60 will nearly double, from 12% to 22%. More imminent, by 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years.
In a recent issue of The Gerontologist, Technology & Aging: An Evolving Partnership, two trends were identified as responsible for the growth of research in the use of technology in our aging population: 1) the unsustainable cost of providing care for older people with disabilities and chronic diseases, and 2) the rapid pace of technological advances in health care.
That’s why the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance), a HIMSS Innovation Company, and our member thought leaders, have made the topic of Aging and Technology a priority. While there have been technologies created to support an aging population, there is an understanding that adoption of technologies lags in older populations. Additionally, the question remains as to whether these technologies have been effective in extending independence in older adults - something that aging adults find extremely important.
For Nancy Green of Verizon and co-chair of PCHAlliance’s Aging & Technology task force, it’s personal. Green’s mother is thriving at 92 but hasn’t bought into technology. “The key is finding technology that is seamless into her life,” she says. “As an active older adult and living alone, we need to find technology that supports her lifestyle, not something disruptive and difficult to adopt."
Fran Ayalasomayajula MPH, MSMIS, PMP, of HP and co-chair of the Aging & Technology task force, agrees. “Most people want to live independently as long as possible. Technology lends the ability to give a choice to live at home longer. This technology must be accessible and useable,” she adds. Let’s face it, people perform and respond better in familiar surroundings.
PCHAlliance’s Aging & Technology task force has discerned that there are three areas of focus where personal connected health can have a lasting impact, and where perspective from our experts can make the most difference, including Extending Independence, Healthy Communities and Caregiving.
Moving forward, the task force will be leveraging research, use cases for successes and challenges, and will share content to help draw attention to and find actionable solutions to help prepare for what some are referring to as the silver tsunami and support healthy aging for all.