Cambridge, UK: There are over 30 million people in the US providing care for members of their family, most of whom are elderly. Providing this hidden army of care workers with better tools to do their job would make a significant contribution to reducing the spiralling cost of healthcare. In the UK it is estimated that the 20% of adults looking after elderly parents are providing care worth Ðˆ39 billion per annum. Cambridge, UK based Wireless Healthcare, who develop new concepts in healthcare delivery, have created a demonstration website, www.alphadaughters.com to illustrate how a range of ehealth applications and care services could be brought together and accessed via a mobile device.
Peter Kruger, analyst with Wireless Healthcare, points out: "Much of the time ‘alpha daughters' spend caring for their parents is taken up with basic organisational tasks such as arranging transport, scheduling visits from domiciliary care workers and shopping for goods and services. The next generation of family care workers, who will be looking after the ageing baby boomers of their families, are unlikely to spend their time thumbing through the phone directory looking for care and support services. As they have grown up with mobile technology, these carers will expect services to be one click away on their mobile phones."
Alphadaughters.com also shows how a shared calendar and a medication reminder application could coordinate the care provided by the patient's GP with that provided by family members. "New SMS text messaging applications will enable healthcare providers to build on the success of electronic patient reminders and open up a communication channel with family carers. This will be important for healthcare providers who are struggling to implement nationwide patient administration platforms," Kruger comments. In an earlier study on the use of wireless communication with outpatients, Wireless Healthcare identified SMS messaging as a potential platform for a number of basic mobile health services such as medication planning and treatment compliance monitoring.
Wireless Healthcare's demonstration service also illustrates how a mobile device, with access to a collection of basic care services, could provide a platform for a range of wireless medical devices. The drivers for these devices could be ‘plugged into' the alpha daughters service as and when the patient's condition required. "This flexibility would give mobile health device companies access to a large and ready made market and allow them to achieve scale much faster than if they relied on marketing a stand-alone service," explains Kruger
The Alphadaughters.com demonstration service can be found at www.alphadaughters.com
About Wireless Healthcare
Wireless Healthcare specialises in developing new concepts in healthcare delivery focused on mobile and wireless technology.