Insights: Better Digital Health for Aging

A Case Study & Practical Tips for Entrepreneurs, Designers & Innovators

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According to HealthXL​ ​US healthcare costs dedicated for the ​over 65’s is ​34% of total ​spend ​​but over the last 2.5 years the investment in digital health ​for this same group ​is ​only 2.6% of ​the total​.

How can this be? Are innovators maybe looking elsewhere? Or is it that the apps they are developing are not getting enough traction for big investment?

Dr Leslie Kernisan writes a blog on technology for improving geriatric care and has recently written a book​ which gives us some pointers​​. ​Arguing that ageing adults should be the biggest market for digital health she devotes an entire chapter to why digital health tools are not working for the elderly. ​One key underlying theme is that it is enough to focus on the patient alone since the elderly require the assistance of caregivers and ​health ​professionals. Each of these has different needs and interests, all of which need to be brought together to make an app successful.

One of our products at Intelesant is a connected COPD app so I read Dr Kernisan’s comments on this disease particularly carefully.​ She makes a strong case for apps that can cover multiple long term conditions rather than expecting patients and carers to use one for each.

I​ know at first hand how difficult it is to build apps for the elderly and Dr Kernisan’s book is essential reading for anyone working in this field.