Wednesday, July 6, 2011

mHealth for Older Adults

The mHealth technologies market will approach $5 billion by 2014 and more than double by 2020, driven in part by adults’ rapidly accepting and using technology in their lives. In a recently published report, “mHealth technologies: Applications to Benefit Older Adults,” the Center for Technology and Aging discusses how cell phones, smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and other mobile-enabled devices are now able to help millions of older Americans, as well as their physicians and caregivers.

Technology is particularly useful in managing chronic disease, using medications properly, avoiding safety risks, accessing online health information, and staying well. The report discusses what it takes for mobile health technologies to catch on in terms of technology viability, population applicability, health and economic outcomes, workforce relief, stakeholder readiness, and discusses both policy and reimbursement issues.

The report highlights:

• Chronic disease management technologies to provide a range of messaging, monitoring, and interactive communications functions to support interactive care processes, reduce unnecessary resource utilization, and improve care outcomes

• Medication adherence technologies have been rapidly expanding and can assist patients and caregivers with proper medication information, patient education, medication organization, dispensing, dose reminders, and notification when does are missed

• Safety monitoring developers are focusing their attention on mHealth technologies that detect and ultimately prevent falls and wandering by monitoring patients in terms of their location, balance, and gait

• Health education technologies promote better communication between older adults, caregivers, and providers through personal health records, online social networks, and access to general health information via the internet

• Wellness technologies include SMS behavior modification programs, smartphone and tablet apps that track nutrition and calorie intake, support activities, calculate body mass index and disease risk, plus mobile-enabled monitoring devices for activity level tracking

In conjunction with the study, The Center initiated the mHealth Diffusion Grants Program. Six one-year grants totaling $500,000 will be announced in July.
Go to to view the study.