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March 9, 2022 Readers Write No Comments

Reimagining Healthcare in 2022 with Personal Emergency Response Services
By Janet Dillione

Janet Dillione is CEO of Connect America of Bala Cynwyd, PA.


One of the most critical moments in healthcare is the 60 minutes after a catastrophic event, such as a sudden fall, when a person has the greatest chance of recovery if they receive immediate medical care.

Among older adult patients, falls are one of the biggest worries, and for good reason. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among older adults. Additionally, one-fourth of US adults aged 65+ fall each year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When stakeholders consider reimagining healthcare to address the challenges facing patients, they often think that innovation must be manufactured out of thin air. But increasingly, leaders recognize that it is usually the most tried and true technologies, like personal emergency response services (PERS), that deliver the most effective results for patients and drive innovation forward.

Given the lingering effects of COVID-19 on healthcare, including the growing preference among senior patients to utilize telehealth and other virtual care services from the comfort of their own homes rather than in a medical facility,these patients will need more than a sensor or button to keep them safe and healthy.

It’s incumbent upon healthcare organizations to develop connective care and digital health solutions for seniors living at home, to do right by the patients they aim to care for and create fail-safe services and technologies that operate consistently. These stakeholders must build reliable and flawless systems that seamlessly integrate non-intrusive services and technologies for aging individuals remaining at home.

One encouraging note is that the industry has a strong foundation of innovative healthcare services and technologies that allow older patients to safely live at home with dignity.

Look no further than PERS, which keeps patients independent by allowing them to push a button that instantly connects subscribers with highly trained emergency response operators. For these vulnerable patients, it’s a benefit to reach someone who can assess the situation and send help if needed, whether it’s caregivers, family members, emergency services, or neighbors. Some PERS devices can even detect a fall and immediately contact an emergency operator.

While these services are both essential and remarkable, PERS provides so much more for patients in need. Behind the button is a complex network of call centers connected to 911 that make sure emergency medical services (EMS) are dispatched to the home when required. These are significant advantages compared to an ordinary watch.

Despite realistic concerns about consumer health technology, as more technology companies enter the healthcare market space, it’s critical to emphasize that no single solution is enough to deliver optimal services and care to the growing population of older adults and vulnerable aging at home.

Subsequently, there must be a system of integrated technologies and services, including traditional PERS, medication management and adherence solutions, remote patient monitoring (RPM), and a fall detection system that all combine to feed a robust analytics engine delivering actionable insights. These include alerts and risk-scoring to payers, care teams, and caregivers.

Consider PERS as the foundation for a system bringing on an increasing number of essential technologies and services into the home. RPM and hospital-at-home models build on and integrate with PERS by allowing senior adults with chronic conditions, as well as more acute illnesses, to receive care at home. These care models use medical-grade wireless devices to transmit vital health information to a virtual dashboard and a medical professional who is monitoring in case of a need to respond. Simultaneously, RPM allows clinicians to analyze aggregated data from the patient portal and electronic medical records, thereby enabling them to monitor results and accordingly update care plans for data collection and analytics.

Healthcare executives understand the entire value chain: delivering products, care, and technology must work as an integrated service. When this occurs, older and vulnerable adults have the best chance of living safely and independently in their home while avoiding costly and disruptive facility-based care.

Most importantly, healthcare organizations don’t need to create new technology or put their trust in unproven solutions. PERS and its extensive technology, communication, and services have a highly reliable track record that can serve as the platform for additional technologies and services delivering consistent, safe, and proactive care within a patient’s home.

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