ORANGE, Calif. – Mary Pat Hinton, CEO and co-founder of Emmetros Limited, thinks seniors want more—not less—digital health care. Emmetros Limited makes MemorySparx One, a memory, communication and planning tool that is the first in a suite of products to address the needs of people living at home with memory loss and their caregivers. Hinton shared her thoughts on seniors and home health technology.
HHTN: Do you think seniors are resistant to using technology for home health care?
HINTON:We know that today’s seniors are more digitally connected than ever. According to PEW research in 2016, four out of 10 seniors own smartphones; and roughly 32% of seniors say they own tablet computers, which is double the reported tablet ownership in 2013. More than half of people over 70 are on Facebook, and these numbers are rising quickly. Given seniors’ growing usage of technology, and their general desire to go on living full and vibrant lives in their own homes for as long as possible, it makes sense that they would embrace the efficiencies that technology would bring to home health care.
HHTN:What are some of the challenges to getting seniors digitally connected for home health care?
HINTON:For home health care technology to be relevant and helpful, it needs to be made with the primary user, the patient, in mind. Too often, technology is developed to address a system-level requirement and loses sight of the intended benefits to the person who needs to use it. The person who has to use the technology should be part of the design and development process to ensure that the technology solution will actually address their needs.
It is also a challenge to develop technology that is easy to use. The design process should take the user’s needs, abilities and expectations into consideration. Our product development team has a mantra that we stick to: “Just because we can add extra features or the coolest new functionality does not mean we should.”
HHTN:How is technology impacting the way home health care is delivered now and in the future?
HINTON:The right technology will be able to empower seniors to transition from being passive participants in their home health care to that of active participants. Seniors can take advantage of technology that is available on already owned technology platforms like smartphones and iPads to record, recall and share important details of their health needs with their family, their caregivers and their extended health care team.