How to take care of my aging parents by Novel Technology

Our generation has had the privilege of growing up up with various revolutionary digital and electronic technologies – from smart phones to laptops. Various solutions to everyday problems have surfaced from these technologies. Questions solved quickly through the internet, using phones to create multi-dimensional security, interactive digital assistants like Siri which respond to your requests, to break assistance in cars to reduce avoidable crashes from lapses in concentration. However we see a lack in digital solutions which effectively tackle the enormous problem of chronic disease. More than 50% of people aged 50-74 years in Europe and United States have one or more chronic diseases [1]. A large challenge for this cohort of elderly people is to effectively maintain positive health and medication management practices. The problem has been tackled in various ways previously, however some to limited success with plenty of room for further development and optimisation. Medication adherence is a multi-faceted problem which is more complex than forgetfulness for a large proportion of the population. There are two subcategories of technological solutions available to help members of the public who want to stay on top of their medications.

Automated medication dispensing systems:

There is a growing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices are being developed that are internet connected home dispensing systems that ensure your parents take the appropriate dose at the right time. IoT devices are very promising; however, the technological complexity and costs associated provide some challenges. These devices are generally not portable to assist active elderly people who regularly travel or visit friends/family. Once adapted to the physical hardware, it can be difficult to deal with taking the appropriate measures to monitor your own medication if the hardware fails or requires maintenance.

Digital Reminder Apps:

There are various medication reminder smart phone apps. They require manual input of medication regime by user and simply remind them at the time of their medications. Most platforms on the market are not bi- or multi-lingual. Most platforms currently provided to the public are stock standard and do not offer much flexibility surrounding personalisation and adaptable interfaces tailored to the user still remains a large unexplored space to improve user experience. Most importantly, simplicity and user interface is seemingly the biggest barrier amongst the elderly population who may not be technically inclined to interact appropriately or to the full potential within digital solutions.

Different reminder systems have advantages and disadvantages, and require personalisation to provide the best outcome for the patient [2]. Many adherence issues are central to the users barriers, beliefs and behaviours [3]. A fully personalised digital solution is required to provide an engaging, educational and scientifically proven solutions at lower costs for chronic disease patients and their families. The aging population and increase in number of home based care calls for an action and our team at MediRoo is tackling this issue to provide an ultimate solution for your parents. MediRoo is striving to make medication adherence and health management a subconscious part of your daily life. We are looking to hear about your stories, needs and concerns.

Please email and share your thoughts on how we can get closer to this vision.

[1] National Institutes of Health. “Global health and aging.” National Institutes of Health Publication 11 (2011): 7737.
[2] McLean, Sionnadh, et al. “Targeting the Use of Reminders and Notifications for Uptake by Populations (TURNUP): a systematic review and evidence synthesis.” Health Services and Delivery Research 2.34 (2014): 1-184.
[3] Peyrot, M., et al. “Insulin adherence behaviours and barriers in the multinational Global Attitudes of Patients and Physicians in Insulin Therapy study.” Diabetic Medicine 29.5 (2012): 682-689.

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