Smartphones have revolutionized many aspects of our society, creating an always-on culture where communication, work, and entertainment are blending together. So, it’s not surprising that mobile technology would also be changing how we access and use health resources.
As a senior living care provider, it’s helpful to stay on top of the latest trends when it comes to what your residents and staff may be accessing via mobile health (also called mHealth). There are also some apps that you can use to get ahead of health issues that might affect your operations. Here are some mHealth apps worth downloading:
Available from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), this app gives up-to-date influenza activity across the United States. Because the information is compiled from state health departments and other sources, you’re likely to get very current data on whether the flu is an issue in your location. This is vital, because the CDC has noted that people age 65 and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared to younger adults. Knowing the level of flu activity around your senior living organization can help you take action faster, and prevent illness among your residents.
Medication management is likely a major part of your senior living operation. AARP estimates that nearly 90 percent of people over age 60 take at least one prescription drug, and 30 percent take five or more. Making sure that residents stay on top of medication schedules can be tricky, but apps like PillJogger are working to make it easier. By issuing a simple reminder during a predetermined time, the app helps users to stay on top of their prescriptions. Similar apps include Medisafe and MedCoach.
Many hospitals and clinics are trying to connect more directly with patients, and MyChart is a popular app that offers patients a chance to collect test results, medical records, and appointment reminders in one place. Much like a fitness app, this will also allow users to keep track of weight, blood pressure, steps walked, and other health information. In advising your residents and their loved ones about apps, you may want to find out what type of mHealth options are available at local healthcare facilities. If they’re not using MyChart, find out if there are other mobile apps available that can help your residents have a higher level of healthcare access.
Although the previous apps are geared for mobile use, not all applications are meant for smartphone utilization. For example, some are more robust and have more functionality than a simple app. A good example of this is Keystore Care. Using sensor technology, the application tracks movement and gait, and assesses what’s “normal” for a particular resident on an ongoing basis. If movement deviates from what’s been established, care providers and family members receive a text alert so they can take action. At senior living centers, falls are a constant concern because they can affect seniors’ independence and cause long-term repercussions. With technology that delivers rapid alerts, you can achieve a higher level of prevention and care.
As mHealth apps and telehealth services become more mainstream, demand is likely to grow quickly. Seniors and their caregivers will turn to these technologies in order to stay on top of issues like medication adherence, preventative medicine, and healthcare access.
Stay at the forefront of the trend by considering now what components you’ll need for a larger, more expandable technology mix. Then, you can begin to develop a technology roadmap that can accommodate mHealth and telehealth services into your senior living operation.