First Published in Yahoo Finance
Elderly care providers assisted living facilities, and nursing homes who are making the shift from antiquated and often manual systems to a fully digital platform powered by AI is not only necessary to improve the quality of care, but it will save lives.
The healthcare industry and more specifically the elderly care industry has received a lot of backlashes as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in early 2020. Resulting in over 500,000 infections and 27,000 fatalities, with fatality rates in the 60+ age bracket estimated at over 20%. Not only did it widely expose the gaps in the healthcare system worldwide, but it also divulged the serious deficiencies in the elderly care system. Today there are close to 50 million people who are over the age of 65. By 2060, this number will exceed 98 million – nearly a fourth of the population!
Healthcare Is in Desperate Need of a Digital Revolution
The world of healthcare is in dire need of a digital revolution. One that promises to transform the way care is delivered and consumed across the entire spectrum of services. Innovative cloud-based technologies, digital interfaces, and patient-friendly digital tools powered by advancements in artificial intelligence are making it easier for providers of all kinds to provide cutting edge, patient-centered care.
Elderly care is the fastest-growing segment of the global healthcare market. Yet, technology adoption in many elderly care organizations continues to lag far behind the norm. Many elderly care facilities resort to investing in a substantial amount of manpower for supervising residents’ daily activities as a quick-fix solution. This is an imprudent allocation of budget. The high cost of labor is unjustified and does not yield compelling or proven advancements in care quality or business efficacy. With the growing threat and risk of current and future pandemics, I think we can agree that this is not going to be a safe and sustainable long-term option.
Providers today are increasingly challenged, because of severe caregiver shortage in the market. The inability to hire and staff their facilities to meet the needs of eldercare often requires them to operate at low occupancy rates which inevitably hurts business. For these reasons, nursing home assisted living facilities and other types of services for elders need to rapidly adapt and reap the benefits of digital transformation.
An often-overlooked fact is that any technology implementation is a quest for change management. Change is hard. It is underscored with fear and uncertainties. It demands organizational behavior change, cultural transformation, alterations in operating principles, and modifications of policies and procedures. Additionally, Technology implementations also have to factor in the organization’s ability to learn and adapt to new technology. Unless the right approach to change management is applied and the appropriate stakeholders are involved, it will be an uphill battle to success.
Shifting from a “legacy system” that includes monolithic computer systems and time-consuming manual routines to an integrated, cloud-based digital platform can make it easier, safer, and time-efficient to offer coordinated, patient-centered care in a variety of settings. Many existing facilities aren’t prepared to integrate new technologies into their daily procedures, which limits their ability to meet the demand for high-quality services. Ultimately, this makes it harder for elderly care providers to compete with more advanced care models.
This new digital world has profound implications for elderly care providers. Cloud-based data management allows doctors and caregivers to access patient information in seconds. Telemedicine portals and wearable devices let patients manage many aspects of their own care and share information with their provider team, track progress around the clock, and provide on the spot recommendations. Artificial intelligence can deliver preemptive care and with the power of data, predict, prescribe, and aid in proactive management of care or the business of care.
As technology evolves and gets smarter, DIY management of health will become mainstream and will advocate an environment where fast access to needed information from any place, at any time becomes essential and connected care ubiquitous.
This is how AI-powered application Zemplee was born
Zemplee is a revolutionary technology that was designed with your elders in mind, founded by a leading expert in Artificial Intelligence, Aparna Pujar. Zemplee uses sensors placed strategically in homes or independent living units which track daily living activities so you can monitor their wellbeing from a distance.
“As we stand at this juncture weighing in how the world would change after Coronavirus, we are excited for the opportunity to bring highly impactful solutions to elderly care” – says Aparna. “Our customers really like the fact that there is nothing to wear on their person, which is something, we are dogmatically obsessed about and we hope to continue to respect that paradigm. Once installed, Zemplee passively works in the background and our elderly clients go about their day to day activities, with no reminders needed to carry or charge a gadget.”
Unlike a video or voice-based monitoring system, there is no compromise on privacy with Zemplee’s sensor-based system. AI-powered applications intelligently distinguish between normal, routine behavior and distress scenarios and keep family members notified. A companion mobile app gives you access to real-time status about dining habits, medication intake, activity level, sleep patterns, and other important details.
The facilities who adapt and leverage the power of technology such as Zemplee will be in a better position to drastically improve the quality of care and reduce risk, especially during pandemics. The eldercare industry must collaborate and coordinate services with many other healthcare entities including hospitals, primary care physicians, and direct care staff, and most importantly the families; the most important stakeholders. Connecting these dots is extremely crucial to scaling the quality of care and delivering the highest level of love, care, and comfort for our elderly, as they live through their twilight years.