Guest Column | September 11, 2019

How AI Can Help Seniors Navigate Care

By Perry Price, Revation Systems

Accenture Survey: Seniors Want Online Access To Digital Health

Whether it’s shopping from a mobile app or having a video visit with a nurse to diagnose a minor illness, technology has certainly enhanced daily interactions, especially in the healthcare industry. In this digital transformation, artificial intelligence (AI) is also taking healthcare by storm.

Innovation For An Aging Population

While many assume that recent advancements in technology primarily impact teenagers or young adults in particular, healthcare’s digital transformation affects patients of all ages. And, as America’s population continues to age, innovations in healthcare technology could not come at a more opportune time. The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) reports that the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise from 16 percent to 23 percent.

With a rapidly growing senior population, innovating patient communications will continue to increase in importance for better care experiences. After all, the goal of any such communication is to improve patient outcomes. For elderly patients, improving care outcomes translates into enabling them to live an independent lifestyle for as long as possible — and empowering their caretakers to support them in doing so.

Today, AI plays a significant role in helping seniors navigate their healthcare. In fact, last year an Intel survey revealed that 54 percent of healthcare professionals expect widespread AI adoption in the next five years.

From remote patient monitoring to virtual visits and tone analysis, AI technology is helping today’s seniors navigate their healthcare while helping to keep them in their homes longer.

AI For Remote Patient Monitoring

The senior population often faces major challenges in caring for chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease. However, advancements in remote patient monitoring technology are completely reshaping the senior population’s healthcare experience. In fact, it is predicted that global remote monitoring systems will reach $46 billion in value by next year.

Wearable devices in particular have been quite useful in gathering raw data that is fed into a database or software application to be analyzed remotely by a healthcare professional. While most patients understand that wearable devices can help track steps, sleep quality, heart rate and fitness level, wearables are capable of so much more. Companies like Apple, Google and Samsung are developing devices that will help diabetics monitor their blood sugar levels, for example.

Earlier this year, the FDA cleared Current Health’s wireless remote patient monitoring (RPM) platform for chronically ill patients. The wearable, palm-sized device is worn on a person’s upper arm and powered by AI to provide ICU-level accuracy in tracking more vital signs than any other all-in-one wearable in the marketplace today. Current’s RPM and telehealth platform provides patients with a tablet that contains a chatbot as a resource for questions, medication reminders and educational content.

Automating Virtual Visits

Artificial intelligence is now being used to automate the experience of virtual visits and streamlining patient care — and as digital healthcare progresses, the use of AI for virtual visits is growing in capability and popularity. For example, a company called Akos introduced an AI-driven medical station last year that guides patients by augmented reality (AR) through self-administered steps to collect data such as weight, temperature, blood pressure and blood oxygen content. The station utilizes AI to ask questions to determine an initial diagnosis. Then, through a virtual visit with a live provider, the patient can verify the information and discuss a treatment plan. Akos’ AI technology automates every step of the process from documenting the data into a patient’s electronic medical record to completing the billing process and administering follow-up engagements with the patient. This type of AI technology provides seniors with better access to care from the comfort of their homes.

AI Powering Real-Time Tone Analysis

In addition to enhancing remote patient monitoring devices and streamlining virtual visits, tone analysis is making waves in the healthcare industry as many medical contact centers today use unified communications (UC) to simplify the patient experience. UC technology has recently introduced an innovation that allows vocal tone, mood and sentiment to be detected in both the contact center agent and patient’s tone of voice. This real-time feedback can help contact center agents provide an elevated level of service and an enhanced patient experience. This type of AI technology also can strengthen the provider-patient relationship for seniors navigating their healthcare and extending their independence.

As healthcare becomes more digitalized and the current transformation continues to ripple throughout the industry, AI technology will, in turn, grow in importance as an enabler of better senior care.

About The Author

Perry Price is CEO/president of Revation Systems. In this role, Price builds and grows the customer base, recruits qualified talent, and streamlines internal operations. Price utilizes his deep domain expertise in IP networking and communication applications, including telephony, unified communications, call-center technologies, and messaging.