America’s aging population is fitter and living longer. New healthcare technologies are being developed to keep pace with seniors desire to live at home as long as possible. Several healthcare technology providers are testing new products to help them achieve this goal.
Aetna Better Health of Illinois has a pilot program in which home health aides will be issued smartphones. The phones give the aides immediate contact with the home care office. Special apps will enable certain medical observations to be made and transferred.
Along with Aetna, Addus Home Care is administering Illinois’ Integrated Care Program which is directed at older adults and those adults with disabilities who qualify for Medicaid. The Integrated Care Program has been set up to coordinate services to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations. The program is also used to manage the health care of those with chronic conditions.
What has been learned so far is that the home healthcare visits are reducing overall nursing home admissions as well as lowering the long-term care spending of the state of Illinois. The ability to communicate real life situations alerts healthcare managers with early detection of problems, as well as needed intervention for its patients.
Mark Heaney, the president and CEO of Addus said in a prepared statement, “Through the mobile device, we can really put the home care aide on the healthcare team.” Aetna and Addus plan to use home and community-based services in emergency and acute-care situations throughout this next year, hopefully with similar results.
If the pilot programs prove to be efficient and cost effective, individual family practitioners may wish to use healthcare technologies like this to monitor their own patients in a similar manner, thus eliminating the need for an office visit under difficult circumstances.