Posted on 13/02/2017 by Danica Pagsisihan
With the rise of life expectancy and silver tsunami (population aging) in many developed countries in the APAC, the demand for elder care expenditure is increasing tremendously. Hospitals everywhere face a bed crunch, the demand for healthcare is increasing much faster than the rate in which it is expanding.
In Singapore for example, the government has looked at introducing the Smart Stepdown Healthcare scheme back in 2009. It included community hospitals, nursing homes, home care and other forms of ‘slow healthcare’ for the elderly who may require more dedicated long-term care. This is when Smart Healthcare meets Smart Homes, with the elderly’s homes being equipped with things like general home care and sensors. This then becomes a win-win situation that frees the hospitals to deal with what they do best, the emergencies and critical cases and more specialised services for our elderly.
Like a double edged sword, difficulties arise from these great initiatives too. Some of the difficulties include lack of technological advancements and knowledge among the elderly community, in order for such ‘Smart Healthcare’ initiatives to work. Issues such as high speed broadband and connectivity are to be considered and the Singapore government is taking measures to customise special studio apartments for the elderly to combat this.
Also, there comes the issue of the privacy with these technological advancements for elderly healthcare as cameras and sensors are involved. As such, several Personal Data Protections laws are being passed by the Singapore government. One such initiative by the Singapore government is the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) system. The NEHR is a patient data exchange system whereby clinicians and healthcare professionals have access to your healthcare history across the national healthcare network. Introduction of such moves then benefit the people, especially the elderly as well for the future.
So, this concludes the final chapter of the Healthcare Tech series - you can also see below my first two chapters:
Thanks for reading!