I often get excited talking about self-care and chronic disease management enabled by some of technology trends we are seeing with smart-phones and other connected devices, but almost always meet the objection around the argument that chronic diseases are for the elderly, and the elderly don’t use smart-phones, hence, this would never work for a variety of reasons.
Call me an optimist, and, I see we only a few years away, if not sooner, before everyone will have smart-phones that will be connected always to the Internet either by 3G/4G, and if not everywhere in the world, but at least in Singapore. If it isn’t a smart-phone, it be a smart-TV that will keep out citizens / patients connected. In a place like Singapore, over the past 6 months, I hear over 50% of all phone sold were smart-phone.
Looking at the concern holistically, the part that often get missed out in the debate is the care givers especially in the asian context. In Asia, the average age of the population is still relatively young and households still have access to those who are relatively technology savvy with relatively high degree of adoption of smart-phones. who also happen to form part of the overall caregiver support structure of Asian homes. Often less understood, is that they this segment is the market is far more demanding high levels of efficiency and technology led innovation.
I am further encouraged by how smart phones and devices have become far more intuitive since the start of iPhone. Usability and form-factors have really come a long-way and the barriers to using technology is becoming less and less of an issue. Once again, worst case, there’s often a Caregiver that can be trained.
So then, when I speak to the nay-sayers around Caregivers, I am surrounded by all the reasons why Caregivers could not be given any empowerment of information patient with the exception of the patient through some remote manner.
I should hope Caregivers and Patients combined could play a more active role in creating awareness and demand among the regulators and care providers to act more maturely and think through the innovation that’s already taking place right now as we speak.
Best regards Callum