eHealth and improvement of health literacy in older adults – best practices and obstacles

eHealth and improvement of health literacy in senior citizens – best practices and obstacles

03.12.2015By: Ioannis Koutelidas

The implementation of the IROHLA pilot programmes showed positive attitudes of senior citizens towards the use of e-health applications (transfer of health resources and healthcare by electronic means) and m-health applications (delivery of healthcare services via mobile communication devices) for improving and managing their health.

Modern information and communication technology (ICT) can help senior citizens overcome difficulties related to distance from health centres and support them to understand their health issues, improve their communication with care givers and service providers, and enhance informed decision making. Additionally, ICT facilitates more targeted public health and medical interventions, as well as remote diagnosis and monitoring. In general, technology offers tools necessary for families, communities, healthcare professionals and the healthcare system to assist older people to age healthily. ICT creates innovative solutions, such as interventions through the internet, mobile phones, tablets, and video games that can improve the health of older people.

IROHLA’s work on e-health and m-health

The IROHLA project examined several promising practices among different groups of participants, including older adults with low health literacy, using different kinds of technical equipment. Some of these were applications that aimed to increase physical activity and track weight loss, while others supported behavioural change and sleep quality, or were games designed to improve cognitive skills.

One of the pilot projects designed by Prolepsis Institute aimed to improve participants’ knowledge about physical activity and healthy nutrition as well as related behaviours, while exploring attitudes towards ICT-based health applications. The content was based on the Greek National Dietary Guidelines for older people developed by the Prolepsis Institute. This tool enabled participants to set their own dietary and physical activity goals and assess them at the end of a specific period (normally one week) regardless of whether they achieved them or not. The system generated personalised messages based on the assessment of goals.

Research conducted during the implementation of the IROHLA project brought to the surface important learning points and obstacles that need to be carefully examined when developing similar interventions. One of the main conclusions was the need for active and continuous collaboration between application developers, healthcare professionals and researchers. Other matters that should be taken into consideration when designing such applications include simplification of the content and use of the application, and the ability to set short-term, personalised goals.

The importance of considering socio-economic status

In an era of technological innovations, a false perception dominates that all people are familiar with computers, smart phones and tablets. But this is not always true, especially when referring to the older generation. In addition, socio-economic status plays an important role in determining understanding of new technologies and the messages it delivers. That is why these factors should not be ignored when designing e-health and m-health applications that aim to contribute to the reduction of both inequalities between different social groups.

Source: news

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Hour-long naps may boost mental ability for older adults

Hour-long naps may boost mental ability for older adults

Moderate nappers also had better cognitive performance than short nappers and extended nappers. On average, reductions in mental abilities of non-nappers, short nappers, and extended nappers were around four to six times greater than those of moderate nappers.

Read the full article here:  Hour-long naps may boost mental ability for older adults

Six truths for successful startups addressing adult care opportunities

Six truths for successful startups tackling the older adult care opportunity

Here are six top things for an entrepreneur to consider to create a successful business when building an older adult care product, service or experience.

Read the full article here:  Six truths for successful startups tackling the older adult care opportunity

Remote Support for Aged People Project

The RemoAge project will tackle the challenge of supporting people with dementia and other frail older people to age at home in remote and sparsely populated areas of the northern periphery of Europe. Long distances and limited resources are two challenges to overcome.

Tested and evaluated service packages will meet this challenge. The service packages will include methods to support the elderly with health and social care needs, flexibility to individual needs and an increased level of remote support.

Expected results are improved access to personalized services in direct support in daily life, support to family carers and health personnel, but also increased involvement of the community.

Target groups:

– Frail older people, including people with dementia, in remote communities

– Family carers and family members of the frail older people

– Community members

– Health and social care professionals

The target groups will be involved throughout the project in a participatory process from the identification of needs, the adaptation of services and the evaluation of services. A main focus of the project is to develop and implement person centred services that are by definition services adapted to the individual needs of the frail older person and their family.

Source: Project

Independent living in an ageing society through innovative ICT solutions

Independent living in an ageing society through innovative ICT solutions

Europe is facing a major societal challenge in the fact of a rapidly increasing ageing population. A key challenge is to find real solutions to ensure that our older citizens are able to live healthy, fulfilling and independent lives whilst keeping health and care systems sustainable. Exciting and groundbreaking EU research and innovation efforts look set to deliver these solutions.
Independent living in an ageing society through innovative ICT solutions

With each passing year, Europeans are living longer. Although this is to be applauded, there will be increasing demands for health, social and informal care services over the coming decades. This will have real effects on how we live, work and shape our external and domestic environments – home, communities, cities and towns. Questions over who is (or who should be) responsible for health and social care will be at the top of political agendas and concrete answers must be provided. At the same time, the changing age structure of our society can also open up new opportunities for innovation in the digital economy and society.
Read more at:  http://cordis.europa.eu/article/id/400060-independent-living-in-an-ageing-society-through-ict_en.html

9 Connected Health Recommendations to Help Seniors Aging in Place

PCAST’s connected care recommendations aimed to help America’s aging in place

Telehealth, mHealth, broadband adoption and remote monitoring technology figure prominently in a new report from a White House advisory council.

A White House advisory council is calling on the federal government to support connected health technologies and platforms for America’s aging population.

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), in an 80-page report issued this week, makes a number of recommendations that would support telehealth expansion and reimbursement, broadband access for seniors, remote patient monitoring, mHealth innovation and even more sophisticated wheelchairs.

Source: 9 Connected Health Recommendations to Help Seniors Aging in Place

Age May Be Just A Number, But Which One?

Should you keep quiet about your age, or wear it with pride? The importance we attach to age is relatively recent.

Age can be measured in more ways than one, say both sociologists and biologists. There is of course chronological age, but there is also cellular and social aging. The search for new definitions of old — and young!

Source: Age May Be Just A Number, But Which One?

It’s interesting to note that the threshold for old has changed dramatically over time. In the 17th and 18th centuries, at least in the West, 40 was the magic number. In the 19th century, that limit was pushed to 50. Nowadays, several studies show that people consider old age to begin at 69, on average. People under 25 believe it begins at 61, while those over 65 say it’s 77. And 8% of people say old begins at 80.

 

Secrets Of The Very Old And Healthy — Start When You’re Young

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes for a robust old age because my dad just turned 95. On his birthday, he pruned trees in the yard, took a walk, played a little online solitaire and had dinner with the family. We stayed up late and laughed a lot. Last week he did his taxes — the old-fashioned way, with a pencil, a calculator and a stack of IRS forms.
Read the full (short) article from NPR here

Digital Health Care Design: Coursework for Innovative Solutions for Aging Populations

I am participating in an massive online open course (MOOC) from the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Business School on the topic of Innovating Solutions for Aging Populations.

The free course is offered through Coursera; it started June 6th and runs until July 17th. You can read more about the course and sign up for future offerings at: https://www.coursera.org/learn/health-care-innovation

Week 5:  Digital Health Care Design

In this final module you will be introduced to digital design methods and how to explore the solution and the problem during the innovation process. You will learn how to frame the design problem through field studies and collaboration, and how to apply prototypes in your work.

This week’s lectures focused on digital design and how it plays a role in the innovation process. How to identify a (design) problem, how to explore the problem through studying and collaborating with others (including stakeholders), and analyze and reframe design problems into a useful product or service.

If we look at the My Day case example from Steno Diabetes Center, the overall purpose is to develop an e-health solution that supports people with diabetes in maintaining a diet that is healthy for their condition by mobilizing Steno’s specialist knowledge within the field. At first, the problem may appear as very clear. People with diabetes need help with managing their diet. But once you start looking into it, the roots of the problem are more complex. Why is it that many people with diabetes struggle with their diet? Is it because they don’t know what is healthy for them? Is it because they get tempted? Or forget about healthy diets when they eat? Or there is something completely different at stake. 

Participatory design (involving stakeholders in the design process), ethnographic studies (how will the innovation be perceived, used, and beneficial to populations), and re-framing the design problem are useful tools for innovating health care technology design.

There are also different design techniques which can be used to develop and test the eHealth prototype. First, a paper mock-up is used to outline and describe the eHealth innovation. Second, a fully functional software prototype is developed where the interface (how the user interacts with the technology) is made to look and feel like the final product. These allow for sketching out the initial design and consulting with others, usually leading to some changes in the design and improving the initial idea. The functional prototype allows for demonstrations and testing – where users can interact with the product/service and provide feedback on various aspects (usability, look and feel, functionality, etc.). These two types of prototyping are tools used to create the design and to test the design.

Quiz

Q1. Different types of prototypes can be distinguished by their resolution (the level of detail by which they represent the final design) and their technical fidelity (how closely the prototype technically resembles the final product). In relation to this framework, what is a mock-up prototype and what is the purpose?

 A1. A simple (low resolution and low fidelity) prototype made out of e.g. paper and cardboard to visualize a concept and facilitate discussion between users and designers

Q2. Different types of prototypes are typically used at different stages in a digital project to serve different purposes. When and why is a high resolution and high fidelity prototype typically used?

A2. Towards the end of the project to evaluate the outcome of the design process, e.g. through a field study or a usability test

Q3. What is a wireframe prototype?

A3. A visual model, for instance developed using an IT tool, mainly used to communicate, but also to run initial tests of a design

Q4. Why is problematization important in a digital design process?

A4. To ensure that the project solves a relevant problem and to ensure sustained interest among the stakeholders of the project

Q5. When does problematization ideally take place in digital design?

A5. Mainly in the early phases but in principle throughout the project, to ensure that new insights into the problem produced by the project will be taken into account

Q6. Which method is particularly useful in a problematization process?

A6. Ethnographic studies of the actual problem settings to observe how the problems unfold in practice, and workshops, where the problems are discussed thoroughly with stakeholders of the project

The Business Case: Coursework for Innovative Solutions for Aging Populations

I am participating in an massive online open course (MOOC) from the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Business School on the topic of Innovating Solutions for Aging Populations.

The free course is offered through Coursera; it started June 6th and runs until July 17th. You can read more about the course and sign up for future offerings at: https://www.coursera.org/learn/health-care-innovation

Week 4:  The Business Case

Continue reading

Diabetes: Coursework for Innovative Solutions for Aging Populations

I am participating in an massive online open course (MOOC) from the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Business School on the topic of Innovating Solutions for Aging Populations.

The free course is offered through Coursera; it started June 6th and runs until July 17th. You can read more about the course and sign up for future offerings at: https://www.coursera.org/learn/health-care-innovation

Week 1 included short introduction videos covering the growth in life expectancy, reductions in childhood mortality rates, and the shift from healthcare focusing on infectious diseases to focusing on chronic and noncommunicable diseases.

Week 2:  Diabetes

In this module you will be presented with the physiology, complications, prevention and treatment of diabetes. Also, you will be introduced to self-management tools designed to help people with diabetes choose healthy meal plans.

Lecture 1:  Diabetes/metabolism

This week’s video lectures focused on a brief introduction to diabetes (what it is, how many people have it, what can cause it, and tools to manage and treat diabetes), and a strong focus on using diet as a self-management tool. They report that a healthy lifestyle (including exercise and healthy eating with at least 30% of meals consisting of vegetables) has a higher success rate than using medications alone. They also reported that cancer medications and diabetes medications are the two most sold drugs worldwide (big pharma makes BIG money!!)

highest selling drugs worldwide

Quiz

Q1. Which physiological mechanism is impaired when insulin sensitivity is reduced in type 2 diabetes? 

A1. The insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, primarily by muscle cells

Q2. Based on the lecture, which of these persons have the highest risk of developing insulin resistance?

A2. Both John’s parents have type 2 diabetes, John is obese and doesn’t exercise much

Q3. How should type 2 diabetes be prevented?

A3. By early identification and by changing lifestyle

 

Lecture 2:  Diet self-management

The lectures also talked about tools (two apps for smart phones) called My Plate and My Day. These seem to still be under development, but focus on helping people to track their daily habits, especially around eating and nutrition and living an active lifestyle.

Quiz

Q1. What is hard for Eva in relation to her treatment?

A1. Accepting her diabetes

Q2. What does self-management mean in relation to diabetes?

A2. Taking responsibility for managing the treatment

Q3. What is the purpose of the “plate models”?

A3. The T-shaped plate model to loose weight. The Y-shaped plate to maintain weight

Q4. Which macronutrients provide humans with energy?

A4. Carbohydrates, fat, protein and alcohol

Q5. What affect does fat have on blood glucose levels?

A5. High fat foods can delay a rise in blood glucose level

Q6. What macronutrient have highest impact on blood glucose?

A6. Carbohydrate

Tech dramatically improves medication adherence

Connected technology solutions dramatically improve medication adherence, according to new study from Philips

Over the span of one year, user data from more than 1,300 patients in the Netherlands was analyzed, showing 96% of patients using Philips Medido, a connected medication dispensing solution, were adherent to their medication schedule. Data from the study also showed that patients using Medido stayed adherent to long-term therapy over time, showing little or no change in adherence over the course of the year.

Read the full article here:  http://www.finanznachrichten.de/nachrichten-2016-06/37561300-connected-technology-solutions-dramatically-improve-medication-adherence-according-to-new-study-from-philips-008.htm

Exercise and wearable fitness tech for older adults

Chronological age has no impact on health and well-being – per this study.  Apparently, blood pressure and cholesterol readings aren’t the whole story.  What matters more are sensory function, mental health, mobility and health behaviors. This is according to a summary of an abstract of research at the University of Chicago.  But it re-enforces other research about the correlation between exercise and warding off dementia.  And for those who never got around to exercise but have a fear of falling in their 80s and beyond, exercise like Tai Chi can restore balance in an 85-year-old, building confidence and reduce fall risk and fear of falling.

Exercise motivation – what gets older adults moving?  As the Tai Chi photograph shows, group exercise provides feedback and makes it fun for the participants.  SilverSneakers, an exercise program that originated in Arizona in 1992, morphed through multiple company shapes and sizes, and now is part of Healthways, which makes it available via Medicare insurance programs and fitness centers.  Okay, that was convoluted – but the net result is that Medicare Advantage plans like Humana and United Healthcare offer free gym memberships through their SilverSneakers partnerships – enabling and encouraging seniors to come to the gym, participate in social group classes, typically doing some exercise, including water aerobics classes in the pool at their level of comfort and widely variable level of fitness.

Exercise tech – what keeps older adults moving? Read more at:  Chronological age, exercise and wearable fitness tech for older adults