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David E. Williams – Healthcare Innovations For Older Adults

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H. Brown
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David E. Williams - Healthcare Innovations For Older Adults
David E. Williams – Healthcare Innovations For Older Adults

As the population of older adults grows, so does the number of seniors living alone and in need of help that they can’t always get.

Many people want to age in place, but don’t have a way to do so safely. This is especially true for individuals who live alone or with caregivers who are not available 24/7. It’s easy for things like health issues and accidents to go unnoticed until it’s too late.

Using healthcare technology allows you to monitor your loved one from afar without being intrusive or overbearing. By using devices such as motion sensors, cameras, and smart home systems, you can keep an eye on them while still allowing them their independence. You’ll be able to see when something has gone wrong before it becomes a major issue – whether that means someone falls out of bed at night or doesn’t take their medicine during the day. With this kind of monitoring system in place, there will always be someone watching.
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Timestamps:

[00:00] Introduction to the channel
[01:14] Introduction to David E. Williams
[02:46] Share with us a little bit about yourself on a personal level?
[03:28] What do you see are some of the newest advances in healthcare technology for older adults?
[05:22] What’s the biggest challenge you think in technology adoption among older adults?
[07:57] Do you think older adults are interested in using technology designed for them? Or do you think some were just not interested?
[10:03] What do you think are some of the misconceptions about healthcare technology for older adults?
[12:04] Which specific areas do you think technology could help seniors age in place?
[18:02] What future improvements or changes in life can we expect from healthcare for older adults?
[22:34] What do you think is the best use of technology for people with dementia?
[25:16] With all the technologies that you mentioned can our society afford this kind of healthcare technology for seniors?
[28:28] How can we keep our elderly loved ones safe in terms of their wellbeing and privacy, and all-around safety while using cutting-edge medical and technological resources?
[34:34] How can let’s say high tech and low tech work together to benefit seniors? Let’s say those living independently with or living with their caregivers?
[40:12] Why do you think new innovations in tech are not being created exclusively for the aging population?
[43:25] Do you have anything else that you would like to share?
[43:49] How can people reach out to you?
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Bio:

Passionate believer in the power of technology to transform healthcare, David E. Williams has dedicated his career to ensuring that its benefits reach patients and providers. The next major wave of innovation is going to come from digital health–the convergence of medical devices, diagnostics, patient engagement tools, and data analytics for monitoring acute episodes, chronic disease management, and care coordination.

As a healthcare strategy consultant, entrepreneur, board member and blogger on the Health Business Blog He has written thousands of posts about digital health transformation in healthcare over the past decade as well as recorded hundreds of podcasts.

You can find out more about David Williams on these platforms:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davideugenewilliams/
Health Business Blog: https://healthbusinessgroup.com/blog/
Health Business Group: https://healthbusinessgroup.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HealthBizBlog

Transcript:

Hanh:
Hi, I’m Hanh Brown. And thank you for tuning in. This conversation is live streaming on all the various social media platforms. We are all about older adults. It’s time to bring on the wisdom and perspective of those who have mastered life. So please check us out at our newly named YouTube channel Aging Media Show. This is where I put all of my video podcast recordings from Boomer Living and all of my live events, such as this. Also, I will share topics on digital health, senior housing, senior living, and aging in place to help you understand what is happening in our world as we age. So we will also be talking about strategies for caring for older adults and tips and how to live a healthy life. So on this platform, I will feature guests appearances by experts to share how technology is changing our lives and what it means for society and how long-term memory loss affects everybody, our parents and grandparents. So visit us on our newly named YouTube channel Aging Media Show.

MUSIC:

Hanh:
So today, my guest is David Williams. David is a board member and president of the Health Business Group. He has helped clients in life sciences, technology enabled healthcare services, and private equity development, and also innovative business strategies. He’s been an entrepreneur over 20 years and he loves working with disruptive technologies to help older adults live healthier lives. As the baby boomers roll into their golden years, families and caregivers are looking for ways to ensure that their loved ones are safe and well cared for. For some folks that will mean regular monitoring for chronic health conditions. For others, it may mean help getting to doctor visits or with daily activities. So technologies that allow individuals to age in place can help to ease the transition to the later years by avoid avoiding unnecessary visits to the emergency room or costly nursing home stays and improving the overall quality of life. So David is here to share his thoughts on healthcare innovations, help seniors live healthier lives. So David, welcome to the show.

David:
Hanh, it’s a pleasure to be here. And I really love the cool, I got really psyched up by that, the cool, like video that starts everything off. So it’s it’s a lot of fun.

Hanh:
Thank you. Thank you. All right. So other than your professional profile, can you share with us a little bit about yourself on a personal level?

David:
Sure. So I have all sorts of stuff I do for fun, but the most thing that takes most of my time as I have, I have four kids, we were getting ready to become empty nesters. My wife and I, because I had one that was in the workforce, one that was in college and when the pandemic started, everybody started to, to come back. I’ve had a great time this year with my, with my kids and probably the highlight was doing weightlifting with my 18 year old. We set up a home gym and got in shape and got to share perspectives, but I’m ready now ready for him to go out into the world. So that’s what my personal life has been like over the last year in any case.

Hanh:
Great. Great. Well, hey, thank you so much for being here. So technology for seniors has been advancing rapidly and there are some great options out there that can really make a difference. So what do you see are the, some of the newest advances in healthcare technology for older adults?

David:
Well, Hanh I think about a technology as being the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. And I actually think if you look at it that way, you have to consider the number one technological innovation recently is actually the COVID vaccine. Because if you think about what kind of practical impact that has had of using mRNA which is a new technology it’s allowed the world to open up for people to be able to have visits with their kids and to go out and about. So that one, I just wanted to put it out there because I actually think that’s probably the most direct answer to your question. Along those same lines. And, and of course the COVID vaccine, isn’t just for older adults, that’s for it’s for everybody, at least down to 12 year olds now, and maybe below that there are a lot of other technologies that are not specifically for older adults, but can have the biggest impact on them. So some other ones I would think about in the last year or two are things like video conferencing using zoom and other technologies, smartphones. I think that some things that you might think about as being more on the youth side, like self-driving cars actually are gonna have the most applicability for older adults, even if they might not be the initial target or the initial adopter of it. If you move a little bit more on the healthcare side and a little bit more for the older ones. Some things that are more like the consumer oriented hearing devices. So hearing aids that are, that are less expensive and that work better those would be, those would be a fit. And then I think a lot of the technologies like remote patient monitoring the 5g that’s coming out, enabling new sorts of sensors, AI, and we can go on and on. So I try not to get too unfocused, but the first big one is really the COVID vaccine.

Hanh:
True. True. Now some older adults are more cautious when it comes to adapting new technology. So what’s the biggest challenge you think in technology adoption among older adults?

David:
So I think that older people tend to be more cautious. It’s it also is just a function of having wisdom. that’s been gained. There’s a lot of technologies that have come and gone, in the day of people. And we talk about older adults, let’s say people up to a hundred years old, there’s a heck of a lot of things that have happened. And, that people have witnessed over the past century is just unbelievable. So it’s older adults have seen all sorts of technologies. I think one of the challenges is whether people see the technology as necessary. Somebody who’s older and maybe a little bit set in their ways. And they say, you know what? We already have a works fine. I don’t need a new technology. just for the sake of it. At the same time you have that wisdom. But also with age, sometimes it takes a little longer to learn a new thing. So the adoption is going to take a little bit longer. And so it has to be something that’s really worthwhile in order to justify that time. And as part of that, I think older people don’t want to come off as seeming ignorant or stupid or talked down to by somebody who’s younger and maybe more tech savvy. And I also think there’s a kind of a lack of empathy or understanding for older adults by those who are developing technology. And so the barrier is, you didn’t give me something that was useful for me. So therefore I’m not gonna, I’m not going to use it. And all, also, I think sometimes the finally that marketers, aren’t wanting to emphasize the use of technology for the young. They don’t necessarily want to show that their technology is being used by older people. So I guess you asked the biggest challenge I gave you few.

Hanh:
Oh, no, those are great. I echo that. I think sometimes we need to be technology worthy, right. Because there’s abundance out there and you’re right. Older adults come with wisdom and familiarity that perhaps, Hey, this is working. I don’t need to try something new and you didn’t ask for my opinion, what I need to, if I need something new for improvement. You just handed this to me and expect me to read the manual to figure this out. So I’m with you. I have siblings who are seventies plus my mom is in her mid eighties. So I see the, I don’t want to say hesitation, but when something worked. Why mess that up?

David:
Yeah, exactly.

Hanh:
So now, do you think older adults are interested in using technology designed for them? Or do you think some were just not interested?

David:
Clearly there’s all sorts of everybody’s an individual, so it’s going to vary, but I do think it makes sense to talk a little bit about some of the age cohorts. So if we look at older adults so if you look at AARP and you can be a member when you’re, when you’re 50 I’m in that category like you, I have parents in their mid eighties as well, and then there’s kind of a baby boomer generation in between. I guess I’m not part of that. And there’s people older than my parents as well. So I think if you talk about people like me who are in their fifties, the answer is that we are interested in technologies that are specifically designed for our age group. So actually, kinda techno files. I’d be actually interested in trying something that’s that’s new and different and realizing that it isn’t just for youth culture. I mentioned before about self-driving cars. I have a self-driving car and I actually think it’s makes it easier for me to drive at night, even if I’m not using the full self-driving mode. If I think about people who are in their eighties or their nineties, they probably are not looking. They’re probably not thinking about, oh, technology. I want a technology that’s designed specifically for me. Having said that there are exceptions. So there’s people who may be engineers or inter interested in technology. And they may actually be interested in that. I do think that people in general are not going to care so much older people about technology for the sake of technology, but is it something that gives me a practical, some practical advantage? Does it make my life simpler? Better? Cheaper? Those are my thoughts.

Hanh:
Very true. Again, I think we have to prove that it is worthy, right? Worthy of their effort. And I think technology is intimidating and overwhelming especially, let’s say when you’re 65 plus. And often we want to change by making healthcare technology easier to use for seniors. So what do you think are some of the misconceptions about healthcare technology for older adults?

David:
Well I think that there’s, first of all, there’s one thing that there’s just a misconception. Maybe the technology for an older person is totally different than something for a younger person. It’s still a lot of the same technologies are there. There is a misconception. I think that if somebody doesn’t want the technology, it’s because they’re stupid or they don’t understand it, or they’re too lazy to they’re too lazy to look at it. A lot of that misconception is about whether, is this actually serving a need? Is it actually there? Or did somebody put it in place because they actually don’t want to deal with someone on a personal level. So I think we’ve all had the experience at any age when you call and you want to talk to somebody let’s say in customer service or at a healthcare facility, you called probably because you want to talk to somebody. Now, if I’m managing it from the other side and I have all these expensive people on the line, I’m thinking, how can I reduce the amount of contact? How can I get somebody off the line faster? Or have it handled by a computer? That’s even more true now during the pandemic when there are labor shortages. And so, it’s not that the older person is afraid of technology or who doesn’t like it. It’s just that I called to talk to a person. Now you’re trying to prevent that from happening. So I think that’s one thing that an older person actually understands the value of that personal connection. And they want to sustain it and they don’t want to have it necessarily replaced by technology, although sometimes they do. And maybe we’ll talk about that later.

Hanh:
Yeah, no, I agree that one-on-one face to face voice to voice. That’s still huge. So I think on a personal level, I’ve seen that it’s not because older adults are uninterested in technology. I still think they’re traditional conventional ways to communicate, right?

MUSIC:

Hanh:
Now aging in place is very important for many people. But it can be hard to do, especially when you have limited mobility or memory loss. So, which specific areas do you think technology could help seniors age in place?

David:
I do think that during the pandemic we have seen the important, the ability to do things remotely. They couldn’t be done so much before. So certainly physician visits where you’ve got the video and then you can do other things beyond just a zoom meeting to have a lot more connection, a lot more data that’s being passed back and forth, but even more broadly, just the idea of convenience, to be able to stay at home. Why do I have to go out to go shopping? Or why did I have to have every visit in person? If I can have things that come to me, then I can use what energy I have to be able to do things I want to do as opposed to having to do things that are a hassle. So I think just the ability as, as everyone’s doing the work from home, the ability to stay at home, if you want, I think is something that technology can enable generally. There’s another area which is very central to people, especially as they age and their medical conditions get more complicated and interrelated. And that has to do with medication management. So we know that there are a lot of new, great new medications that are coming out. And a lot of these medications are actually ones that are infused or injected and they traditionally have required going into the hospital or going into a clinic or a physician office. Now there’s much more of an ability to do those at home. So you’ll see that maybe somebody has an infusion once or twice. In the hospital or the clinic, but after that, then they could have it done at home. So you have the ability to have that complex medication management. Now, certainly for some illnesses like cancer, where people are extremely fatigued. Again, that convenience of being able to be at home is very important. There’s also technologies related to being able to stay on your medication. So adherence is the term that’s used and having some technology and reminders that enable you to do that, I think are helpful. I have a lot of other ideas for specific areas too, but I thought I’d share those to start off on.

Hanh:
No, those are great. I actually seen that used by family members. Very useful. So thank you. Go ahead.

David:
I was going to say also there’s a, there’s a few more since there are a lot of really interesting things. So I think. The idea of augmented reality. So you see these things in video games and on your glasses. So this is be about as opposed to a virtual reality. Augmented reality is where you can add something into the environment. So I might be looking. let’s say I might have some glasses. I’m looking at you and it’s also gonna remind me of your name, maybe your birthday, be what you like to eat for breakfast or lunch or whatever. This can be helpful to somebody who’s in the home as well. So somebody who has a movement disorder like Parkinson’s might be able to display in front of them, kind of a virtual grid that makes it easier for them to plan their steps and to be able to walk. Somebody who may be experiencing, memory loss. You can actually put some reminders instead of a sticky note. It could be a virtual sticky note that can help them with certain tasks. It’s certainly also possible to have, is adult kids are often worried about older people that may be in the home and trying to get them to move somewhere else. And the parents may say, ah leave me alone. But there can be some sorts of things I might characterize as surveillance that you can do to, okay, mom, that’s fine. You can do that, but I want you to, I want to have a sensor that knows if you’ve, opened the fridge or if you have gotten out of bed, and so on. But I think one of the areas that you see and this relates to the, the barriers to adoption as well, is that a lot of technology has complicated interfaces. And also what you see on the web. Is that since it’s easy to make updates all the time, you might go back to a website or an app. And all of a sudden they changed the look and they probably had a team of engineers working on it and they’ve got 10 reasons why it’s better, but you already learned how to use the other way. So this can be an issue that so, wow. Somebody has this new improve, they just sprung it on me. So just give me one interface that I can work with. That’s easy. That does what I want. And then I’ll be happy.

Hanh:
That’s very true. The user interface is huge. And once they start learning and getting familiar, feel like they get command over the, the, the software or the app, suddenly they got to change. And to be honest, I get frustrated with that too, because like the service that we’re using right now for this live streaming, every time they have an update almost guarantee there’s something wrong with the audio or the visual?

David:
Yeah.

Hanh:
Yeah.

David:
So this sort of so like the Facebook kind of move fast and break things, or just trying things in constant beta, like Google, there are some advantages to that approach, but there’s also some real disadvantages when it comes to the user experience and any user notices that, but it’s particularly important if you want to make an impact with older people. And especially if you’re dealing with healthcare, which is after all not a game. It’s very serious. So, I think sort of slowing that down, simplifying the interface having fewer functions and as part of that, also maybe making it more reliable because sometimes when an older person is saying, gee, I can’t, I can’t figure this out. I can’t make it work. Well, sometimes it’s because there’s an inherent bug or a flaw that nobody could work. So those are a few ideas.

Hanh:
I’m with you because there has been days when I’m trying to figure out what is wrong with the visual, the audio of this app that we’re using. And it turned out, it wasn’t even my fault. It wasn’t something that the, the user’s fault, right? Because they had an update and it kind of messed things up. But I’m with you. That’s a great point. So now, what future improvements or changes in life can we expect from healthcare for older adults?

David:
So, I mean, there’s been, I think if you to go back to my comment before, if you think about what changes have occurred over the last hundred years, and the idea that the pace of change is ever increasing, I mean, it’s hard to imagine it’s kinda mind boggling. I’ll, I’ll throw out a few ideas and maybe we can talk about them. So one area that I hadn’t mentioned before upfront, when you were asking about the new innovations would be in the area of robotics. This is a big area. Now, one way we think about that is a robot replacing somebody like a nurse. And that the robot will be able to do some things that a nurse can do, maybe everything they can do, but there’s also some areas that people don’t think about robotics so much. And that could be for areas, for example, rehabilitation after stroke. So, one of the things that we found is that when you work with a physical therapist, people enjoy that. But what really is helpful for stroke, someone who’s recovering from a stroke is to do something repeatedly because you’re you’re training, you’re retraining. And so, where you might have a therapist that helps you make a motion 15 or 20 times in a session, a robot will work forever on that. And, if it happens that doing it hundreds or thousands of times is better, a robot is really, is really great for that. So I think what we’re going to see are, you’re going to have the combination of robotics and, and some other technologies. So I’m aware of a, of a company that is working on these rehabilitation robots, and then they are bringing in a Peloton type of experience. So that you also have kind of a leaderboard and you’re in a sense competing with other people and getting encouragement in order to keep at it because it’s hard enough to keep at your exercise regimen it’s even harder if you are trying to come back from a stroke and need encouragement. Now, some of the technologies will allow you to do things like to make kind of like the equivalent of a golf handicap, where somebody may be more, they maybe they didn’t have such a severe stroke or they’re further along. And if you can make an adjustment, then you can play against them fairly. So I think that’s an, that’s an important area that you’re going to see a big change in the next 10, 20 years. if you will. Another area that you’re going to see is that because of COVID. There’s a lot of people that have had to take early retirement, right? We’re seeing the new, unfortunately, no new waves now. And so people that were made have been on the verge of retirement who thought maybe another five or 10 years are finding, maybe it’s not safe for me to actually go into the, into the workforce and to go into the workplace now and take early retirement. So you’re going to see that older people are dropping out of the workforce. And if we look ahead, and it’s just going to be a big percentage of the, of the population. And so the people are going to be in retirement for, for longer. If we look out a little bit further ahead on the 20 year part, I do think that things like the bionic man or woman is coming and that’s a real possibility over 10, 20 years. So for example, if you look at enhancements. So we all know that vision tends to degrade and hearing tends to deviate as we, as we get older and you can make some corrections for that to bring it back toward what it was like as a younger person. But there’s no particular reason that that original 2020 vision has to be where you stop. And the technology can take you beyond that. And people can have perhaps supervision, including older people can have that. And you could think about that as well, for things like hearing, which is extremely important faculty and one that people often lose. And when you do lose it, it actually accelerates your cognitive decline and also your isolation. You can have hearing restored and maybe you’re going to be able to have hearing that’s even much better than you could hear when you were 20 years old and the same thing for strength and the same thing for balance. And I think beyond there’s, there’s many more possibilities beyond that, but I think about it in those ways that it could be very dramatic in terms of what happens. And we may all be cyborgs at some point.

Hanh:
I agree with you. My mom, who’s 95, who has the later stage of dementia, but her vision is better than mine, much better than mine. Yup.

MUSIC:

Hanh:
So now, what do you think is the best use of technology for people with dementia?

David:
So, I think you have to look at it from different phases and there’s, if you look all the way back and just talk about kind of just typical memory loss that would be associated with aging, even with somebody that has no dementia. There are little tricks and techniques that people develop on their own. Just like writing things down keeping a list. And so on, that can be helpful. And then you kind of go from there. So as I mentioned before, I think the augmented reality, you know, is an, is an interesting one. I think that there are a number of things that you want to focus on in the relatively early stages and mid-level stages that are about keeping people safe. So part of that can relate to technology that helps you take your medication and not just remember to take your medication, but also not get nixed up and take the wrong one or take the wrong dose. That’s one thing. Then also related to other kinds of tracking. So if somebody doesn’t want to be confined to the, to the home, but they want to be able to get around, but you’re worried they may forget where they are get lost or whatever. GPS related technologies and other communications and sensors, I think can be useful for that. And then in the later stages often people sometimes people get quite agitated if they have dementia, not just in the later stages, but often that’s the case as well. And having technology that can soothe people, or even just be able to listen to somebody who has no short-term memory. Will keep telling the same story or asking about the weather and just have the patience with them and not, not snap at them, I think can be helpful as well. Obviously we have a huge huge increase that we’ll see in dementia it’s been coming, has to do with aging and environmental factors and behavioral factors as well. And there unlike the COVID-19 vaccine, which really works great. The medications that you have available for cognitive impairment and for dementia are really not very good. And I don’t even want to predict where they’re going to go even in 10 or 20 years. And so the role of other kinds of technologies besides drugs, I think will be will be very important.

Hanh:
Yeah, I agree. I think you mentioned the GPS that becomes very important when they start wandering off. So with all the technologies that you mentioned can our society afford this kind of healthcare technologies for seniors?

David:
Yeah. Well, it depends. Yeah, I’m in, I’m in healthcare. So you figure what’s the maximum it could be. I mean, healthcare can be a hundred percent of the economy. At some point I think it’s a matter of prioritization. One of the things that we see in healthcare now is how, how are we actually gonna, they gonna pay for everything. And when you look at the overall budget and the budget deficit, a lot of it is driven by healthcare. A lot of it’s driven by Medicare, Medicare age aged people. And so the Medicare age has been around 65 for, for a long time. Typically people will live another five or 10 years. If they’re going to live instead of five or 10 years, 50 years, or maybe a hundred years, beyond when they’re Medicare eligible, we have to rethink the whole, the whole thing. One way to do that in the near term is with what we call value-based care. So we’ve had Fee For Service means you just, you, you go, you have whatever treatment, and you get charged for it. The government gets charged for it. And in the case of Medicare and the bill just goes up and up, as we’ve seen. In the Value Based arrangement, you’re more paying for quality or for, or for outcomes. And you’re trying to simultaneously improve health, increase access, and keep costs down. I think that those kinds of payment models are actually going to be very important. Now, when you do that kind of a thing, then you may find somebody is on a medication, that could keep them out of the hospital. If that’s going to be less if that’s going to be the less expensive approach. You could also find that somebody, for example, might get a kidney transplant instead of being on dialysis for a long period of time. And if you think about it with the patient in mind, then you can get the higher value and maybe we’ll be able to afford it. I don’t think that there’s we’ll have to afford it in one way or the other. I would say if you look at other countries where you’ve already got an, an older population and they may have, the healthcare system might be somewhat more under control, they still don’t necessarily do a great job. They’re also worried about affordability and they also don’t necessarily do a great job with their seniors. I believe that this is an area that will really require radical change. There’s a few things that are going to need a really radical attention in the coming two years. I would put this kind of affordability issue for the healthcare system at the same level as climate change, which I take extremely seriously, but we’re just in a, in a spot where if we allow the trends to continue, eventually they just have to stop and it won’t work and we don’t want to get there. So, no, we can’t afford it now, but yes, we’re going to have to find a way to make it happen.

Hanh:
Right I like, I liked what you said. We’re going to have to, because there’s like 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day for the next several decades. So we must make it affordable. Yeah. So now, how can we keep our elderly loved ones safe in terms of, let’s say their wellbeing and privacy and I guess all around safety while using cutting edge medical and technological resources?

David:
Safety, I think really is central. I was speaking recently with an executive of a healthcare system and asking about their priorities and safety is number one. I mentioned before medication safety album and bring that one back as well. When we think about the hospital environment. Hospitals can do amazing things and the technologies that they have there and the approaches to care are just, are just unbelievable, but you also have a fairly high chance of having a medication error occur when you’re in the hospital and somewhat of the chance of that being quite harmful or even fatal. Many people that die from medication error and just in the hospital. Then there’s the issue of the hospital discharge and the transitions of care. So going into the hospital is dangerous because whatever medications you were taking at home, they now have to reconcile with whatever you’re having in the hospital. And then when you come out, they have to do the same thing. And then you’re moving into these other environments, like like a skilled nursing nursing facility, rehab center or into the home, and it gets to be very, a very complicated and confusing. So when I think about safety, I do think about medication safety as being very important and there are roles of technology there. So yeah, there’s a company I know in Israel called MetAware and this company that uses artificial intelligence to identify anomalies. So they say this medication, there’s something doesn’t seem right about it. There’s an outlier that’s what what the artificial intelligence is doing. And sometimes it just turns out there was a typo, one drug got confused for another or somebody was on a drug and they were off it and then somebody started it again. Or it may be that the drug is okay at the time that it was prescribed. But then something changes like a laboratory value or something changes with your EKG, and he find out now this needs to be this needs to be adjusted. So I think a lot of the safety issues actually, if we focus on medication safety and the technologies for that, that will go a long way. There are certainly other kinds of things we talked about before, like the GPS based watches, the ability to check in on somebody. Those are, those are important. Another area this a big factor is actually cybersecurity and scams that are targeting the elderly. I mean, if you think about some of the worst things that someone can do is to prey on an older person, it happens all the time and will happen more and more. And when we have technology and say, well, it’s great that grandma’s on Facebook and that she could check her email and going a Zoom. It also means that they’re more prone to a scam and these things have become more and more sophisticated. So I actually think that cybersecurity is another area that is a big deal. You used to worry about and still do about is somebody gonna come into the house and steal, somebody’s watch or jewelry or get their name on their bank account. They have to worry about that, but the cyber, the cyber issues have taken it to a whole nother level. So those are some things maybe a little bit different than what others talk about, about how to keep the elder’s safe.

Hanh:
Now, absolutely. That’s that’s happened. That’s happened to my in-laws and it’s something as simple as using a phone, pretending to be somebody else asking for credit card. And that just way too often.

David:
You know, Hanh, what happens too is that th this is an issue, not just for older people, but especially, so it’s embarrassing. If you have fall for a phishing scheme or a cyber, and, and it’s happened to me and I must, I’m actually very knowledgeable about cybersecurity and I had been scammed a couple of times. And so for, and it’s hard for people to admit it. It’s one reason I’m admitting it is because just to take some of the stigma away from it. Now think about that from an older person. Okay. So there’s somebody that’s 85 years old, very capable in their home, but the kids will get nervous as, as they will kids being in their fifties or whatever. And now if mom says, you know what, somebody just stole $10,000 from me. I sent it to them. Then what is the kid going to think? And so they’re going to say, oh, mom’s not ready. She has dementia, she needed, she can’t live on her own anymore. And so there’s even more stigma and even more of a concern about sharing these kinds of issues with other people. So what I would say is if you’re one of those younger people, whatever, that, whatever that means, make it so that someone can tell you about getting scammed because it’s very stressful and can be very injurious to them from a psychic standpoint, but also financially and just realize, hey, it could happen to to anybody. We really need to watch watch out for it as it relates to seniors. Cause they’re specifically targeted.

Hanh:
I agree. And you know what? They certainly don’t want to fall into the stereotype that’s been imposed on them. So they don’t want to talk about it. That’s great. Yeah, but I think it’s very important that children your loved ones need to make, make sure that it’s a safe environment for them to share some of these scams online, offline, so that they can take a role in preventing that and reporting it.

David:
Absolutely. And there will be other things. The sort of things that you do for safety anyway, still apply. So if you’re in an older person’s home and you see, they have all these little rugs around that you can trip on or they have a frayed electrical cord or the roof is leaking. I mean, these are all things you still have to worry about. But now the, the realms have expanded due to what’s happening in the cyber world and with all these new complicated and great medications, but that can be very harmful. So it’s more rather than less that we have to worry about.

MUSIC:

Hanh:
Now, how can, let’s say high tech and low tech work together to benefit seniors? Let’s say those living independently with or living with their caregivers?

David:
So I think I have to consider technology as an enabler of routine and things. That’s what I want in my life. I want to be able to be able to do things that I want to do anyway more easily, and not necessarily as a replacement. So to go back to what we were talking about before, if I want to call and talk to the pharmacist, I want to talk to the pharmacist. I want to hear that they, they found a way a computer could do something for me. But if I have technology that actually organizes my medications and makes it easy for me to take it and to have a reminder of it and have a voice memo that I that I send off to to my kids or whatever, that’s wonderful. So I think we consider tech to be as an enabler that’s really good. And it, and if the tech can give you more time to do things that you want to do and reduce frustration then it can be really wonderful. And I do think also that we talk about, on the one hand, an older person might be a little slower to adopt a new technology because it may take them longer to learn it, but it’s awfully, it’s also very healthy for the mind if you’re learning something. And so we shouldn’t, although I mostly, I don’t want to completely contradict myself, but I said, younger people are sometimes interested in technology for the sake of technology. Well, sometimes older people are too, and they might have actually more time to explore it and see if something’s interesting. So I think the technology can also be useful. It’s fun, a new, a new game. Doesn’t have to be necessarily to improve your mind, but just the fact of trying something novel it can keep things fresh and can keep things fun. Also a big issue with older people and especially in the time of the pandemic is isolation. And so if people can be less socially isolated, either they’re connecting with people their own age or younger people, or even older, then that can be a good way also for tech to help people to live independently and to work with their caregivers. The caregiver also there’s the role of the caregiver as it relates to communicating with others. So if it’s a family caregiver and sister and the aunt and the grandchild, they all want to talk about it. If there’s ways that the caregiver can be more efficient in their communications and technology can help with that. So they’re providing information to the whole family at once, but doing it again in a secure manner that’s great. So those are good technologies. Remote Patient Monitoring is another one, so that you’re concerned about something, but you know, it’s being monitored on a routine basis. by your physician with the use of technology and then the physician or care or care coordinator intervention as needed. That’s another great way that a caregiver can work with technology with an older person and with the medical community to make life better using technology.

Hanh:
Great point. And I have to tell you when we all talk about the term “Older Adults”, I got to tell you the challenges that they face. I face the same challenges. So in my mind, personally, when we say “Older Adults”, I’m thinking that’s me. I’m having same problems. I’m in my mid fifties. And let me tell you, sometimes I’m not as readily in adopting some new technologies, if it isn’t worthy of something to explore. So. I’m in that demographic.

David:
Absolutely. I mean, we’re all getting older, right? Even, even in the course of this live stream, we’re getting a little bit older.

Hanh:
Right, right.

David:
And no one’s going, no one’s going back. When you talked about technologies, I don’t have anything. That’s going to wind us back further to the fountain of youth, but there may be some, there may be some slow. But that’s right. We, we’re all in the same category. And I think partly one of the things I’ve noticed, among people say in their twenties, or, or their teens, is there’s actually more of an interest in intergenerational exchange and even being with older people. Speaking for myself as I did before, when I said I’d been a cyber scammed. When I was a teenager in my twenties, I didn’t really want anything to do with older people. And I think that was maybe fairly typical. Yeah, my grandmother and all that, but I didn’t seek that out. I wanted to be with people my own age and I actually had been surprised because maybe I assumed that younger people would be like that now, but I’ve actually been surprised at not just the openness and tolerance of older people, but actually the interest in the embrace of them. So, I don’t know if that’s just me or if that’s something that’s happening culturally, but I think we’re all in this together.

Hanh:
Absolutely. If you, I see that more. And it needs to be dialed up even further to, to put out the notion that aging is bad or age-ism and so forth, right? Because I think that starts with everybody. Every individual has the opportunity and responsibility to shift that, to be a part of that paradigm shift, that aging is a natural progression and it is a gift. And, again, that’s another topic, but I think it’s really important to bring it out because it’s all starts from the attitude towards aging in yourself and society.

David:
That’s a great point.

Hanh:
I know we didn’t cover that, but that’s, that’s a topic too be covered.

David:
Yeah, maybe maybe next time. See, that’s the problem with the live stream. We didn’t have a chance to really rehearse it and say, well, we should, we write the whole show, but that’s a great.

Hanh:
Yeah. Yeah. So now, why do you think new innovations in tech are not being created exclusively for the aging population?

David:
I think there’s a few reasons for that. I mean, one of the reasons certainly is that the people that are dreaming up these new innovations tend to be younger and they may not have the knowledge or understanding of the market. And maybe it’s just not as exciting and sexy as a place to to go choose that. That’s one way. Another reason, I think on the, the kind of the receiving end or the older people, there’s certainly plenty of older people that have a lot of income and a lot of wealth, but a lot of older people do tend to be more income constrained thinking about living on it on a fixed budget and so on. And so there’s more of an interest in things that can reduce their costs, penny pinching, you know, everyday costs and that being a focus as opposed to what’s this great new thing I can do? But maybe there’s more of an interest in doing things less expensively or doing and just saving money in general. That’s less exciting for people that are coming up with innovations. Although of course, innovations can include things that make things better while making them cheaper. There’s another part too. And this goes back in a sense to what you were asking before about, can we afford everything? And that’s that if you’re looking at technologies that relate to healthcare, these are going to tend to be reimbursed by the government, by Medicare. And it’s hard. if you’re an innovator to come up with some great new innovation, knowing that, okay, now it’s going to have to pass through the Medicare reimbursement process. So it inherently slows things down, if you have to be worried about reimbursement. Now there’s a good side of that too, which is that as a taxpayer you don’t want just Medicare just covering every every little last thing that’s, that’s occurring any new innovation that’s out there, but it is a constraint in terms of innovation. Now, this is also a place where value based care that I talked about before comes in. So rather than having to have a, kind of a centralized decision-making process and say Medicare needs to decide if they’ll reimburse it or not. If a provider organization like, like your physician is being given a certain amount of dollars, say a thousand dollars a month to take care of you. Now they may decide, Hey, there’s this technology like Remote Patient Monitoring or some kind of a sensor or some kind of a new tool that I’m going to use because it’s going to help you stay healthier, and it’s going to save money then where I’m going to get more patients from, from doing this then they may be more in the driver’s seat and the innovation becomes adoption becomes more decentralized. So anyway, that’s what I think is happening with the aging population. It’s not set up that well. To be recipient of new of new technological innovations, it’s easier to do it for younger folks and for a non reimbursed market, but that is changing and it can change more.

Hanh:
Obviously, there are challenges, but I see the opportunities are just exponentially growing. So, well, thank you. Thank you so much for being a part of this conversation to give insight on healthcare and how that benefits the older adults. Do you have anything else that you would like to share?

David:
Well, not now. I just want to share that it’s been really wonderful to be here on the show with you and to do this this live stream. And I hope it’s been helpful for people that are listening in.

Hanh:
Great. Great. And for people that are listening, this will be shared on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, and so forth. So you can watch it there as well. Now, how can people reach out to you?

David:
Well, the easiest way is via email. My email is just dwilliams@HealthBusinessGroup.com. So check out our website site HealthBusinessGroup.com or subscribe to the Health Biz Podcast with David Williams, which is available on YouTube and all the audio podcast services like apple podcast, Spotify, et cetera.

Hanh:
Well, thank you so much. And until next time.

David:
Thank you.

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Episode 126

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