A major segment of the U.S. population is aging quickly. The Census Bureau calculates that by the end of the decade, Americans over 65 will comprise more than one-fifth of the population. This means the senior care market is ripe for change and innovation.
Progress has been slow because technology is often viewed as displacing people, but what technology often does in healthcare is supplant and help people to deliver better care.
To dive into how companies in Medical Alley are combining the best of people and technology, we invited three leaders to join us for a webinar titled “Tech + People: The Senior Care Evolution.”
Joining us was Jason Wenell, Chief Technology Officer at Lifesprk, Julie Ament Gran, Chief Growth Officer at Grandpad, and Karl Ulfers, Chief Executive Officer at Duos.
Lifesprk is a senior care organization that is striving to create a new model of care delivery for patients and focuses on pre- and post-acute care. Grandpad is a purpose-built tablet for people over 75 that connects seniors with their friends, family, and caregivers. Duos helps ease caregiver dilemmas by providing the people and technology to coordinate care.
As each of these organizations implement technology into a traditionally people-focused field, the first question of this event was on the technological challenges in senior care.
For Grandpad, Ament Gran noted that although telehealth has become normalized over the last year and a half, many older adults lack the tools or skills to participate. Solving this challenge requires viewing technology as an “and” in the options of care, not an “or.”
The main hurdle for Wenell and Lifesprk is integration of care across a patient’s continuum of care.
“It is not just technology that needs to be interoperable but services across multiple organizations. The combination of people and technology over a more value-based longitudinal path is a challenge and one we are right at the forefront of trying to solve,” Wenell said.
This holistic view of care and the role technology can play became a central topic of the panel.
Each panelist agreed that it’s important to understand what a patient’s needs and goals are. Technology can then step in and help solve these care problems, whether that is through a “care manager” at Lifesprk who helps bring in multiple services, a Duos who helps line up care for a patient, or a purpose-built tablet that helps seniors reconnect.
Each of these organizations are poised to bridge the gap between technology and people in the senior care market. Their innovative offerings are already changing the landscape but along the way there are always snags. Capping off the panel’s discussion was an exploration of barriers that stand in the way.
Ulfers and Ament Gran expressed that the challenge is awareness. They both see the tremendous difference that their companies can make in the lives of individuals but getting into their homes is the first step. Ulfers notes that nine out of 10 adults want to stay in their home and Duos can provide the services to let them do that.
As technology rapidly evolves and the senior population grows, companies such as Lifesprk, GrandPad, and Duos are at the forefront of combining the best of technology and people to help care for this group. The Medical Alley Association is grateful to convene innovative companies to share their thoughts, and for the sponsorship of Diversified Plastics and a COUPLE of GURUS.