By Bill Anderson
Circus tightrope walkers worry about three things when they are performing. The first is the knots that hold their rope firmly above ground and keep it taunt. The second is the balance bar they use to steady their walk when things get unstable. Finally, they rely on the knowledge that the net below them is strong enough to catch them in the event of a fall. Faults in any of these three things can mean life or death for the circus performers.
Older adults aging in place similarly walk a health tightrope every day. Chronic conditions, multiple medications, many different providers, and even the risk of provider shortages make it difficult for this population to maintain independence in the home. The goal of any supportive technology, therefore, should be to serve as the knots, balance bar, and safety net for older adults who want to effectively manage their chronic health conditions and stay out of an institutional setting.
At Senscio Systems, we are excited about using technology for just this purpose and our Ibis solution is perfectly suited for the challenge. With the CarePortal and CareStation technologies, Ibis creates a technical “knot” holding together the patient, their providers, and those responsible for helping to manage and maintain the patient’s health and well-being. Ibis provides a balance bar through a constant set of reminders for the patient and a back-end dashboard for the caregivers that ensure that missteps in medication or daily activities can be course corrected before the older adult falls off of the tightrope and into an acute episode. Finally, our Ibis system provides a clinical safety net made up of care navigators and nurses focused on enabling people who use Ibis to live independently and healthier, longer. The Ibis system is a constant companion, ensuring that older adults with complex or chronic health conditions have the best technology to support their independence and well-being.
Senscio has chosen to focus its first efforts in complex and chronic health management in South Dakota and Maine, and one thing we’ve come to realize from working in these areas is that for many older adults, the walk and supportive “gear” accompanying them are thinner or less reliable in places than they are for others. These two states in particular have a history of healthcare worker shortages, rapidly greying populations, and high incidence rates of chronic health conditions such as hypertension, pulmonary and heart disease, and diabetes. Why, then, have we chosen to start here?
The core of our choice is simple: we believe that people in rural and remote areas deserve to have the best technology available to help them age in place. We also believe that people in these areas, despite their geographic remoteness, should not be isolated from clinical professionals who, when needed, can guide them toward better management of their chronic health conditions and overall better health and well-being. Finally, we believe that any technology built to be a safety net for older adults with chronic conditions should be engineered—built, supported, and tested—in the most challenging environments. The rurality and remoteness, shortage of providers, and pervasiveness of chronic health conditions in our Maine and South Dakota home bases are ideal proving grounds that show our commitment to making our technology robust and scalable, regardless of geography or connectivity.
At a deeper level, we also recognize that technology is just a start. In building operations in Maine and South Dakota, we’ve committing to making the difficult health balancing-act for older adults with chronic conditions wishing to age in place easier, better, and safer. We believe that with good knots (a great foundational technology, Ibis); the right balance bar (daily reminders and ongoing dashboard monitoring by trained professionals); and a strong net (our care navigators connecting to patients and between patients and providers), we are positioned to revolutionize how people with multiple chronic health conditions age in place and live independently for years to come. For more about the challenges that aging patients in rural and remote areas face and why Senscio Systems is focused in these areas, read this recent WSJ piece about aging in Maine.