What is Passive Health Monitoring?

For a long time, senior housing communities have relied on traditional nurse call systems because these generally represented the best technology available. Now, that technology has been superseded. Finding themselves in need of urgent-alert notification systems, senior housing operators for many years have turned to buttons and pull cords as an effective, if rudimentary, solution. Although workable to some extent, these systems have routinely fallen short in a number of key areas, including timeliness, capability, and productivity.

Today, there’s an alternative available that is smarter, more efficient and ultimately more effective than a traditional nurse call system. As featured in Provider Magazine, passive health monitoring is a system of interlocking technologies that provides more timely response to crises. Passive health monitoring helps ensure seniors’ dignity and sense of independence and allows operators to more effectively manage staffing—one of the biggest cost centers in any housing operation.

Passive health monitoring pulls together sophisticated hardware, software, and infrared images to achieve ongoing oversight of a range of key functions. Such systems include sensors designed to read various aspects of motion, along with heart rate, respiratory rate, and other key indicators. These measures are then processed using sophisticated artificial intelligence software—a form of computer “learning” that can track and interpret a resident’s normal patterns and recognize potentially dangerous deviations.

A sub-field of computer science, artificial intelligence, or AI, is concerned with the possibility of making computers act more like humans. Artificial intelligence takes on a task we would normally think of as “human” – for instance, the analysis of health information – and automates it with great precision. In effect, the software learns over time by taking in new health stats and processing them to create a dynamic and predictive picture of resident wellness.

In passive health monitoring, AI is employed to gather and analyze information on a range of health indicators. Data emerges from motion, pressure, and depth-detecting sensors that are automatic and ubiquitous. Residents need not activate the systems, nor even be aware that the systems are running quietly in the background in order for them to work. Moreover, staff can be entirely hands-off until an alert is registered. Just as information is collected automatically, AI software uses it to continuously create a dynamic picture of a resident’s vital information, analyzing data over time in order to learn the patterns indicative of wellness and those that may signify potential danger.

This is a far different arrangement than we saw in the old nurse call systems. Simply from a technological point of view, passive monitoring via environmentally embedded sensors takes the notion of resident care, safety, and caregiver alerts to a whole new level. As in so many other fields, automating what was once a manual task drives not just greater efficiencies, but also markedly better outcomes.

To learn more about the technology that powers passive health monitoring and the impact it is already having in the lives of seniors, read the Provider Magazine article, Technology Comes of Age in the LTC World, and don’t forget to download the Keystone Technologies E-Book, AI-Powered Passive Health Monitoring: Going Beyond Nurse Call Systems In Senior Living.

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