National poll measuring public perception of aging reveals the majority of people believe technology will help them stay healthy
BOSTON, OCTOBER 25, 2017 — In his latest book, The New Mobile Age: How Technology Will Extend the Healthspan and Optimize the Lifespan, connected health visionary Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, explores the critical steps needed to help us lead more active, healthier and more fulfilling lives as we get older, and the connected health solutions urgently needed to accommodate the aging population.
“We’ve added 25 years to our lifespan in the last century through various public health innovations, but we haven’t provided tools to help us use those additional years in the most productive, fulfilling way. Instead, at retirement age individuals are considered ‘old,’ and perceived as no longer adding value or, even worse, become a burden to their ‘sandwich generation’ adult children,” said Kvedar, Vice President, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare. “Now that we’ve extended the lifespan, our first priority should be to enhance the healthspan, by giving people the tools needed to improve their health and inspire them to maintain healthy lifestyle choices through their later years. And of course, connected health is an important part of the solution.”
But Kvedar cautions, “It has to be the right technology, designed for an aging population, not just what technologists and app developers think people want.” Social robots, artificial intelligence (AI), vocal biomarkers and facial decoding will analyze emotion, anticipate health problems, improve quality of life and enable better relationships with healthcare providers. Data can be used to better understand the ‘soft science’ of wellbeing and address the neglected crisis of caregiving. Digital technologies can also address issues such as loneliness and isolation.
In the book Foreword, Charlotte S. Yeh, MD, Chief Medical Officer, AARP Services, Inc., redefines ‘old.’ “It’s not really about whether or not we should be embracing technology, but whether or not technology is embracing us, whatever our age. If we can use technology to keep our minds active as we age, bring social connectedness that is meaningful and results in creating purpose each and every day, we will have done much to transform aging and enhance longevity.”
In The New Mobile Age, Dr. Kvedar outlines strategies to extend the healthspan and enhance the lifespan:
- Consider aging as an opportunity rather than a burden. The aging population represents more than 100 million people and is growing, flooding Medicare and social services, accelerating the shortage of healthcare providers and rising healthcare costs — important market opportunities.
- Rethink predictors of longevity to include: sense of purpose, social connections and physical activity, and the role connected health can play.
- Create one-to-many care delivery models to manage chronic illness via more user-friendly personal health technologies; update reimbursement models, provider attitudes and workflows to support this new approach to providing care.
In a national poll measuring public perception of aging and technology, conducted this month by The Bernett Group on behalf of Partners Connected Health, respondents (1,003 adults, 18+ years old) revealed:
- 72% believe today’s society does not show proper respect to older adults, and does not make them feel valued or that they have a sense of purpose
- 86% reported they would use personal health technologies to get or stay healthy at home, and 90% think patient-generated health data can help their doctor treat medical conditions or help patients maintain health
- 72% over the age of 50 feel confident in their ability to use personal health technologies, versus 83% of the total survey population
- 73% said they would purchase a personal health tracker if it was prescribed by their doctor
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2020, the number of people aged 65 plus will outnumber children younger than five years old for the first time in history. By 2050, the number of people 65 plus is expected to triple to 1.5 billion, representing 16% of the world’s population. And, although they comprise less than 15% of the population, people over age 65 account for about 34% of total healthcare expenditures in the U.S.
Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Vice President, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare
Dr. Kvedar is creating a new model of health care delivery, moving care from the hospital or doctor’s office into the day-to-day lives of patients, by leveraging personal health technologies to improve care delivery and help providers and patients better manage chronic conditions, maintain health and wellness and improve adherence, engagement and clinical outcomes. He is also the author of The Internet of Healthy Things, describing how everyday objects will capture and use real-time biometric data to ultimately change behavior to improve our health.
Under Dr. Kvedar’s two decades of leadership, Partners Connected Health has launched a number of innovative health tracking programs, mobile health, virtual care initiatives, and clinical research programs for the more than 1.5 million patients served at Partners HealthCare-affiliated hospitals, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, community and specialty hospitals, community health centers, home care and other health-related entities.
Dr. Kvedar, internationally recognized as a pioneer and visionary in the field of connected health, has authored over 1,000 publications on the subject. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of npj Digital Medicine, a Nature Research journal. The popular cHealth Blog provides his insights and vision for connected health. Dr. Kvedar serves as a strategic advisor at Wave Edge Capital, Puretech Ventures and Qualcomm Life, and he is a judge for the Harvard President’s Challenge for Entrepreneurship. Dr. Kvedar is co- chair of the American Medical Association’s Digital Medicine Payment Advisory Group; he is also a member of the Board of Xcertia, a collaboration between AHA, AMA, DHX Group and HIMSS dedicated to improving the quality, safety and effectiveness of mobile health applications (apps).
Based on the technology platform developed at Partners Connected Health, a personalized health tech company was launched and later acquired by a leading insurance company to support healthy behavior and wellness education among employee populations. In 2013, Dr. Kvedar launched Wellocracy, a leading source of impartial, easy-to-understand information on new personal “self-health” technologies like activity trackers, wireless devices and mobile apps to empower people to get and stay healthy.
Partners Connected Health
Partners Connected Health, at Partners HealthCare, is leveraging information technology – mobile phones, tablets, wearables, sensors and remote health monitoring tools – to deliver quality patient care outside of traditional medical settings. Partners Connected Health programs are also helping providers and patients better manage chronic conditions, maintain health and wellness and improve adherence, engagement and clinical outcomes. The Connected Health team creates and deploys mobile technologies in a number of patient populations and care settings, and is conducting innovative research studies to test the effectiveness of mobile health technologies in various clinical applications, including medication adherence, care coordination, chronic disease management, prevention and wellness.
Partners HealthCare, an integrated health system founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, includes two academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, a managed care organization, community health centers, a physician network, home health and long-term care services, and other health care entities. Partners HealthCare is committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community. Partners is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
EDITOR’S NOTE: To receive a complimentary review copy of The New Mobile Age, members of the media can contact Gina Cella (firstname.lastname@example.org).