Exclusive technology from Ōmcare aims to offer an unbroken chain of communication between patients, providers, and family caregivers.

By Lisa Lavin, founder and CEO, Ōmcare

The sandwich generation

The United States population is aging and, in the process, they will require more in the way of long-term care support and services. The senior community will more than triple before 2050, with half of these individuals expected to need long-term care, which will come from either skilled nursing facilities or adult children or family members.[1]

Adults who are part of the sandwich generation—that is, those who have a living parent age 65 or older are pulled in many directions. Thirty-five million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in 2015. The vast majority (85 percent) were caregivers for a relative, primarily an aging parent.[2]

Caregiving for family members takes many forms. Nearly half of family caregivers travel to care for someone, while an additional 35 percent are sharing a home with the loved one they’re caring for. Some are caring for a spouse or partner, many for a parent — all working to help that person stay at home for as long and as comfortable as possible.[3]

Technology’s integration with health care

Amidst rising costs and changing demographic needs, telemedicine has emerged as a viable solution for doctors, patients, employers, and insurance providers to cut costs and save money.

It’s no surprise then that the utilization of telemedicine is growing. According to Deloitte, physicians conducted about 100 million telemedicine appointments globally in 2014, which generated potential savings of more than $5 billion when compared to the cost of in-person doctor visits. And from 2014 to 2018, the use of non-hospital-based provider-to-patient telehealth grew 1,393%.

Another recent report from FAIR Health showed that the use of telehealth services is growing faster than usage at retail clinics, urgent care centers, and emergency departments. The most recent FAIR Health findings show that overall telehealth claims are expected to increase 624% from 2014 to 2018.[4]

By increasing access to physicians and specialists, telehealth helps ensure patients receive the right care, at the right place, at the right time. Currently, 76 percent of U.S. hospitals connect with patients and consulting practitioners at a distance through the use of video and other technology.[5]

New telehealth and remote monitoring technologies are fundamentally changing the way people interact with the health care delivery system.

Connect caregivers with the right technology

From tracking vital signs with remote monitoring devices to communicating quickly with a nurse through a web portal to receiving on-the-spot care from a doctor via video chat, telehealth aims to make life easier.[6]

An AARP study on technology’s impact on caregiving revealed that 68% of caregivers would routinely use technology to manage critical information about patient health, vitals, and document medications. [7] 

The right technology can give health care providers and caregivers a means of communication that is essential to improving patient outcomes. For example, patient monitoring programs that allow virtual check-ins enable patients to extend the duration between doctor’s visits or unplanned hospital stays. Meanwhile, a KLAS Research report surveying 25 healthcare organizations found that 38% of healthcare organizations using remote patient monitoring programs for chronic disease management reported reduced admissions, while 17% cited cost reductions.[8]

Technology can facilitate this change by tracking and alerting family and medical caregivers in the event of identified house safety problems-fireplace safety, water safety, walking, etc. It can also mitigate environmental variables at home-noise, lighting, temperature-thereby decreasing the likelihood of trouble and resulting habits in people with dementia.

Technology can also play a direct care role in providing voice assistance to the person with dementia for repetitive questions, while delivering helpful input for both the elderly individual and caregivers from trusted circles— family, friends, neighbors, and other caregivers.[9]

Remote patient monitoring benefits patients and care networks

Remote patient monitoring is a digital health solution that captures and records patient physiologic data outside of a traditional health care environment. As providers increasingly turn to remote patient monitoring technology to improve patient outcomes, limit costs and cut down on using more expensive services, healthcare industry newcomers and legacy players alike are vying for a piece of this growing market.

With data collected over time, care team members can manage and treat chronic conditions in a way that is effective, timely, and realistic to the patient and caregiver’s lifestyles. The data generated through this approach can help facilitate conversations between patients and physicians and facilitate opportunities to intervene quickly to avoid complications. Using technology, a patient managing a chronic condition can connect more frequently with their care team from home, and spend less time going to the doctor’s office.

In addition to providing care teams with better, more actionable information earlier, remote patient monitoring has been praised for engaging patients in their care by providing them access to their personal data so they can better understand the impact of their treatment and advocate for their medical needs.

Older adults with long-term care needs should be able to live independently and age while minimizing stress on family caregivers. Telehealth strategies can support this process by improving access to care and ensuring its quality, while reducing the strain put on caregivers that comes from time constraints and managing logistics, added mental and emotional stress, and financial burdens of providing long-term care to an aging loved one. The right technology can address these issues and allow for loved ones to age gracefully and in their best health.

About Ōmcare

Ōmcare is a health technology company aspiring to extend the reach of the caregiver, increase medication adherence, and to improve treatment outcomes by harnessing the power of remote care. We aim to achieve this through our proprietary interactive technologies – promising right pill, right time, right person. By partnering with pharmacies, payers, providers, and family caregivers, our vision is to help people live healthier, more vibrant, independent lives.

[1]Aging Cost In America.” Modern Health Talk. N. p., 2018. Web.

[2]The Sandwich Generation | Pew Research Center.” 30 Jan. 2013

[3] “Caregiving Guides For Families Providing Care At Home”. AARP, 2019, Guide to Providing In-Home Care for a Loved One

[4]Telehealth Use Increasing Most Among Non Hospital-Based Providers.” Healthcare Dive.

[5] Fact Sheet: Telehealth – aha.org. Fact Sheet: Telehealth PDF

[6] Telehealth and Seniors | Updated for 2019 | AgingInPlace.org.

[7] Winifred V. Quinn, A., Ellen O’Brien, C. and Greg Springan, M. (2019). Using Telehealth to Improve Home-Based Care for Older Adults and Family Caregivers

[8]Hospitals Are Finding ROI In Remote Patient Monitoring Programs.” mHealthIntelligence. N. p., 2018.

[9]Telehealth Can Give Caregivers Much-Needed Support, Peace Of Mind.” mHealthIntelligence. N. p., 2018.

Image: “Telemedicine & Telehealth Services Covered By Medicare | Medicarefaq.” MedicareFAQ. N. p., 2019.