Technology has become ubiquitous in everyday life, and it’s having a major impact on many industries, including health care. Here are four ways home health care workers can take advantage of mobile technologies to make care easier for them and better for their patients.
One of the biggest leaps forward in mobile health care technology is the collection of vital signs. One app set to launch in the near future, will be able to measure a patient’s respiration rate, heart rate, and blood oxygen saturation with the use of a smartphone’s camera lens.
Wearable sensors and fitness gear such as the Metria Wearable Sensor or FitBit can be used to track a number of different factors such as heart rate, blood pressure, and sleep patterns. Sensors can also be synced with home monitoring systems and GPS devices to track a person’s movements. This allows the patients’ caregivers to see if they have slipped and fallen.
All of these monitoring devices allow home health workers to check up on their patients from practically anywhere and respond more quickly if there is a problem.
Collecting and Syncing Data
Data is extremely important when diagnosing and assessing changes in a patient. Mobile apps can collect that data — symptoms, pain levels, and vitals — in real time. This means that there is less chance of care decisions being made according to fuzzy recollection of events.
The data can then be sent immediately to health care providers so they can diagnose any new symptoms, check on the progress of their patients, or suggest new courses of treatment (adjustments in medications, changes in diet, etc.).
Since most tablets, smartphones, and some home monitoring systems have cameras, caregivers can also have face-to-face conversations with patients, providing the caregivers with information that the raw data might not show.
Saving Time and Money
Mobile apps save time and money for both home health agencies and the patients they serve, while also giving the patients a higher standard of living by allowing them to age at home. Being able to monitor vitals, and collect and receive data more easily, enables home health care providers to cut down on travel time by allowing them to do more of their work remotely. This means fewer travel expenses and fewer unnecessary duties for the caregivers.
Making Patients Happier
Mobile technology also allows seniors greater independence. Most older adults prefer to age at home, and since technology is helping them to do that, they can live happier lives. In-home care workers will experience greater numbers of happier patients because those patients will be able to keep some of their independence.
Mobile technology will not replace home health care workers. In fact, with the number of Baby Boomers entering retirement, there will be many more jobs to fill. But technology will make it easier for caregivers to take care of that growing number of patients, and allow the patients to be happier throughout their retirement years.