Healthcare steps into the digital age

April 3, 2015

The healthcare industry is beginning to embrace technologies that can support patients and streamline the standard duties of doctors and scientists. By combining smart innovations with real-life scenarios, healthcare is stepping into a new era of assistance.

A fresh approach to senior healthcare
An impressive group of tech entrepreneurs and investors from across the U.S. are backing Honor, a company that is aiming to modernize healthcare for senior citizens, according to Forbes.

The investors include former Senator Bob Kerrey, Apple stores founder Ron Johnson, Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer, Paypal co-founder Max Levchin and Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman.

The baby boomer generation is aging, and the need for extensive healthcare solutions has never been greater. The population of Americans over 65 is projected to nearly double between now and 2050.

The majority of these seniors would like to stay in their homes as long as they can. A retirement home, for example, is often more expensive and less comfortable. Honor wants to help keep them in their homes by using an online market for skilled, qualified caretakers and mobile touchscreen devices for on-demand support.

“It’s a really big problem on both sides,” Marc Andreessen, a tech entrepreneur and another investor in Honor, told the publication. “There is a fundamental challenge of how do we care for a much larger percentage of older people in a way that is as respectful and human and positive as possible. Today, this is not a job where they feel respected, where there is a reward for performance. This is a hard job.”

However, by professionalizing senior healthcare and creating better salaries, the respect will come with it.

A sector-wide shift to tech
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently noted for the first time that digital tools can help patients prevent type 2 diabetes, BuzzFeed News reported.

One example is Omada Health, a San Francisco-based startup that allows users to join online communities of people trying to lose weight. Another is Noom, an app development company that offers feedback and tips on nutrition and exercise.

“It could be these electronic programs are going to be more attractive than group programs in person, or one-on-one programs in person,” Dr. Suneil Koliwad, a diabetes expert at the University of California, San Francisco, told the news outlet. “If that’s the case, we’ve found a real gem for patient care. But we’re going to have to see how that unfolds over time.”