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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Thanks to AI, Computers Can Now See Your Health Problems

A similar tool could help with early detection of America’s sixth leading cause of death: Alzheimer’s disease. Often, doctors don’t recognize physical symptoms in time to try any of the disease’s few existing interventions. But machine learning hears what doctor’s can’t: Signs of cognitive impairment in speech. This is how Toronto-based Winterlight Labs is developing a tool to pick out hints of dementia in its very early stages. Co-founder Frank Rudzicz calls these clues “jitters,” and “shimmers:” high frequency wavelets only computers, not humans, can hear.

Read the full article by clicking on the title, below.

Thanks to AI, Computers Can Now See Your Health Problems

Where to turn for reliable health information

If you are like the majority of people, you use the internet to search for health information. In fact, during my PhD studies, I found that care partners with someone with dementia look up health information more than the general public. While it is great that there is so much information out there and that people are sharing experiences and research, it can also be overwhelming. Especially if you don’t know how to tell if the information you are getting is accurate and reliable.

Luckily, there is the NGO (non-governmental organization) Health On the Net. They strive to ensure that the public gets safe, quality health information and have trusted sources to go to.

Some 7’300 sites are now formal HONcode subscribers, that is, they have a unique ID number and are indexed by us. About 80 per cent of these are US sites, but the proportion of European and other non-US sites is growing. The HONcode now exists in 34 language versions, in addition to English (see, for example, http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/Chinese/).

They suggest searching on websites belonging to hospitals, universities and government agencies. There are also websites that have obtained HONcode certification, including:

Some other tips:

Look for the HONcode seal, often on the bottom of the webpage.  hon-code

Add the term HONcode to a Google search.

Use Khresmoi, a search engine bringing together certified sites.

Search directly on HON.

Click on the link to check out their infographic for more tips and information:

hon-depliant-patient_en

Danish model of eHealth

As a follow-up to my previous post on eHealth in Denmark, this shorter, downloadable document (also in English) gives and oversight and real-life examples of the Danish model of eHealth and how eHealth is used in Denmark.

Click on the link below to access it – happy and healthy reading!

The Danish model – Denmark and eHealth

eHealth in Denmark

eHealth in Denmark – eHealth as a part of a coherent Danish health care system

Are you interested in knowing more about eHealth and how it is used in one of the leading countries in eHealth development and use? Click on the link below to access the easy-to-read ENGLISH document from the Danish Ministry of Health (2012).

http://medcom.dk/media/1211/ehealth-in-denmark-ehealth-as-a-part-of-a-coherent-danish-health-care-system.pdf

Mobile Health: Apps for Every Age and Ouch

The apps, sensors and seemingly unlimited data at our fingertips put people — not providers — in charge of their own health. Medical procedures that once cost thousands of dollars can be reduced to pennies in the form of an app.

This cool, interactive infographic gives examples and real-life experiences of people using mHealth apps for better health and well-being. Click on the link below to read more!

Explore how the recent explosion in mobile health and medical apps can impact every stage of a person’s life. And potentially, our health care costs.

Mobile Health: Apps for Every Age and Ouch

From innovation to implementation – eHealth in the WHO European Region (2016)

It’s finally here!

from-innovation-ehealth

Please have a read of the World Health Organization European eHealth report and share it with those who would be interested. In particular, you may find the case example on page 71 interesting, where big data for dementia research and treatment is discussed. Or the case example on page 36 about eHealth supporting aged care and carers.

If you like it, please share it 🙂

Happy reading!

Source: From innovation to implementation – eHealth in the WHO European Region (2016)

Internship on Age-Friendly Cities Initiative

Internship with the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities

In January, 2013, I started a 3-month internship with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. I will be working on how to incorporate eHealth in the Age-friendly cities initiative. I will be posting some updates here on how the internship is going and how gerontechnology will be playing a role in Age-friendly cities.

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8 companies that are changing aging

This article comes from CNBC, and is a topic I am particularly interested in as I also like studying and being an entrepreneur in the gerontology and gerontechnology field! Aging2.0 is a GREAT program that is helping to launch many innovative and socially-beneficial companies, all focused on making life more enjoyable for aging adults! I had the pleasure of meeting with Stephen Johnston, the other co-founder of Aging2.0, when working on launching a start-up focused on making it easier to find a helpful and useful Assistive Technology. You can read more about that on my page on Adventures in Entrepreneurship in Dementia Care.

Tapping into the longevity economy

—By Julie Halpert, special to CNBC.com
Posted 08 April 2015

The longevity economy, representing all economic activity serving the needs of Americans over 50, is expected to top $13.5 trillion by 2032, according to Oxford Economics. This opportunity isn’t lost on savvy entrepreneurs.

Out of a total 290 entrepreneurs who attended the annual Boomer Summit last month in Chicago, 40 percent were entrepreneurs hoping to pitch their products to potential investors and get ideas on how to best appeal to this demographic. That was twice the amount as the previous year, and for the first time, they came from many different countries.

Katy Fike, co-founder of Aging2.0, a start-up accelerator program, and founding partner of Generator Ventures, a venture fund focused on aging and long-term care, said the industry is attracting graduates from top-tier business schools. Some entrepreneurs have already developed particularly successful products geared toward the demographic shift. Many of these ideas sprung from a personal experience and a desire to solve a problem endured by a loved one.

Here are 8 business owners who have already found millions in the longevity economy.

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Telehealth terms defined

Glossary of telehealth terms

I drafted this glossary as part of my internship with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. There, I was working on the topics of eHealth and the Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities (and trying to bridge the two). Much of this material, I first gathered when I was teaching a Master’s Engineering course on Telemedicine Techniques and Aspects for Aalborg University Department of Electronic Systems in 2010.

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A Brief History of Telemedicine

A Brief History of Telemedicine

I compiled this with my internship report for the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, as a part of my work on eHealth and the Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities. Much of this material, I first gathered when I was teaching a Master’s Engineering course on Telemedicine Techniques and Aspects for Aalborg University Department of Electronic Systems in 2010.

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