Innovations and the Future of the Connected Health Market - Insights from Medical Guardian

by Parks Associates | Aug. 20, 2018

Prior to the 5th-annual Connected Health Summit, hosted by Parks Associates, Geoff Gross, Founder & CEO, Medical Guardian, sat down with the firm's analyst team to discuss new cutting-edge innovations in the connected health market.

Geoff will participate on the expert panel, Trackers, Wearables, and Smart Watches: Next Stage in Health Tech, during the pre-conference research workshop: Independent Living and Wellness: A Growing Opportunity on Wednesday, August 28, at 4:15 PM. Additonal panelists who will join him on this session include:

Rob Flippo, CEO, MobileHelp

What’s new in 2018 that keeps you optimistic about the connected health market?
The connected health market has drastically expanded over the years—expanding and benefiting a wider range of demographics including the aging (65+ year old) population. Through connected health devices including digital health tools, remote monitoring systems, telemedicine, health and wellness apps, and medical alert device wearables, quality of healthcare is increased, as connected health devices promote healthier lifestyles and offer greater levels of day-to-day value to the end-user. The connected health market is mainstreaming on-demand technologies that are both user-friendly and comprehensive for both older adults, and caregivers, to obtain and want to use.

Medical alert technology has been slow to advance far beyond the basics to exceed day-to-day senior needs until recently with wearable technology. The new release of the first-of-its-kind wearable medical alert smartwatch, Medical Guardian’s Freedom Guardian, speaks to a larger shift towards the connected health space—offering more than just Emergency/SOS functionality. Freedom Guardian helps aging adults keep their healthy aging on track, while staying connected to those who matter most, daily, through built-in features like text-to-speech messaging, calendar reminders and alerts, advanced location tracking, and more.

Many aging adults don’t want their age to hold them back from living the life they love and connected health devices offer the opportunity to do just this. By combining multiple elements of personal safety and monitoring, aging adults are much safer in the place where they most want to be—in their own home. This is just the beginning, as the demand for wearable medical devices and remote patient monitoring systems is anticipated to increase alongside this growing demographic.

What independent living solutions will help keep people in their homes longer?
Rather than moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home, there are more products, services and technologies today than ever before that are helping older adults safely age in place, as well as enabling smarter caregiving. By providing independent in-home living solutions and having life-saving resources at the tips of your fingertips, care is brought directly to you.

Advanced monitoring and sensor systems, medication alarms and dispensers, and home-based tech tools with voice activation, are just a few examples of how technology is helping older adults age in place. Additionally, large retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and Costco all offer same day home delivery, providing older adults everything they need—right to their door. With easy transportation applications, such as Uber and Lyft, an older adult can get to their doctor’s appointment or social gathering directly through an app. All these services and products assist with some of today’s top aging challenges—mobility, falls, loneliness, and financial security.

Providing round-the-clock protection, medical alert systems are another great, cost-effective resource to help older adults age in place. While medical alert devices can’t prevent falls from happening, they can reduce the severity of injuries sustained and the risk of fatal injury—which is directly related to the probability of returning home following a fall. In fact, after a fall, 90% of older adults who get help within one hour (the “Golden Hour”) of falling will be able to return home.

These systems can include the latest innovation with advanced location tracking, two-way voice communication, and even fall detection should the wearer be unable to press their help button. The majority of these innovative products can also be tracked and monitored by the user’s loved ones, virtually and remotely, to both ensure the safety of the wearer, and provide peace of mind to the family. This type of inclusive monitoring results in less “check-in” phone calls, as loved ones are always in-the-know—benefiting everyone in the long-run. By combining medical alert and remote patient monitoring devices, aging adults can feel more confident and comfortable in their ability to live alone—as they will always have a quick and easy access to assistance, anywhere and at any time.

How will innovations in connectivity, such as the emergence of 5G, impact the health market?
Innovations in connectivity will transform the healthcare market in ways previously unimaginable—enabling people to live healthier and longer lives and increasing the likelihood of aging Americans to age in place. With the ability to transmit data faster than ever before, low power consumption and reduced bandwidth strain, innovations in connectivity including IoT, telemedicine, 5G, AI, and wearables, will increase efficiency and pave the way for personalized 1:1 healthcare between someone in need of immediate healthcare assistance and a healthcare provider. Telemedicine will be able to share remote diagnosis, new medical insights, and provide reliable and predictive health monitoring—outside of healthcare facilities—with the ability to predict one’s risk of an accident or illness. Fifth-generation (5G) is the next generation of wireless technology—with a high-bandwidth, low-latency network—set to revolutionize telehealth and how IoT and wireless products interact with one another. Whether that be through lightning fast response time, virtual reality or video streaming, IoT can enhance effective communication—providing help wherever and whenever someone needs (healthcare) assistance. Advancement in connectivity will give individuals better access to higher-quality healthcare treatment, doctors and an overall experience.

What’s the most effective strategy/approach you have seen that engages consumers for health behavioral changes?
The most effective strategy is incentivizing healthy behaviors—whether that be through gamification of healthcare or having a goal that can be easily tracked through day-to-day data. People spark change through rewards, positive reinforcements and friendly competition, both internally and with their network. The first wave of development with gamification was focused on lifestyle and fitness wearables that tracked the user’s progress and connected with other user’s comparable stats. This type of technology was designed specifically to track health metrics, give challenges and provide rewards to those who reached and exceeded their daily goals. Incentivizing healthy behaviors assists in self-improved health and engages consumers in behavioral changes because it is simple to understand, keeps users in-check, and fun to achieve—make a healthy choice, get rewarded.

How is Al in health helping to improve the care experience?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not only going to improve the care experience; it’s going to transform the entire healthcare industry through analyzed data and intelligent solutions. As a self-running growth engine, AI can monitor, manage and communicate using unique insights and real-time alerts. This technology can reduce the margin for error, create more intuitive interfaces, recommend treatments, and much more. It can ultimately improve patient care, efficiency and overall quality of life through computer intelligence—driving better medical outcomes at a lower cost, saving the U.S. healthcare industry upwards of billions of dollars.

With the current caregiver crisis happening in the U.S. of nursing aides struggling to keep up with the ever-growing senior demographic, AI is working to address this crisis through elderly care robotics or social robotics. An AI-programmed robot can promote healthy aging through battling loneliness, communicating medication reminders, or even arranging transportation services to help with mobility. At Medical Guardian, AI fits into our future product and services roadmap as we’ve created a platform to enable future AI-based integrations to better support and protect our customers through health trend analysis, biometric sensors, concierge services, telemedicine, and more. AI can help caregivers check on the patient’s daily activities and monitor their activity, without being present. The future of AI is exciting and life-changing, benefiting both the patient and provider.

For more information on Connected Health Summit, visit:  

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