Help Aging Parents: Wireless Medicine–A Boon for Aging Parents, Caregivers, and Us

Wireless medicine. What lies ahead is a win-win.
“If my 90-year-old father is released from the hospital could this technology
monitor his progress at home?”

Using an iPhone and apps, Dr. Eric Topol, foremost expert in the field of wireless medicine, was on an NBC segment in Jan. 2013  (You Tube: iDoctor Could a smart phone be the future of medicine) explaining the every day potential of wireless technology. It can save us, parents, grandparents, and caregivers–time, money, and doctor’s office visits and give instantaneous information. I’m wondering if anyone’s physician is using this technology yet. Here’s the part that immediately made me think about a typical aging parent situation.

Towards the end of the segment correspondent, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC New’s Chief Medical Editor asks “If my 90-year-old father is released from the hospital could this technology monitor his progress at home?”

I know  you can guess the answer; you just didn’t know the seeming simplicity of getting the information from a smart phone, using apps and sensors. In the You Tube TV clip you’ll see a modified iPhone produce a cardiogram for a patient; a tiny senor used for glucose monitoring; and understand how the iPhone can become a “lab on a chip” (for  doing blood tests etc.). Wireless technology can predict a heart attack about 2 weeks before it happens by monitoring one’s blood.

While this sounds like–and is– wonderful news medically, it saves so much time thus can be wonderful news in a different way for us–the caregivers, chauffeurs and devoted adult children. For example,  I’m wondering how many, like me, are on fast forward and can get a bit cranky waiting for aging parents to get ready to go to a doctor’s appointment, not to mention time spent waiting in a waiting room for the doctor. And  then think of the time it takes to get test results and lab reports. Wireless medicine  changes that.

Meanwhile wireless technology is being used. In the last year Dr. Topol was a passenger on board a plane and answered the call for a doctor. Using wireless technology, he ensured timely care for passengers on two different flights, the last being reported in the San Diego on-line paper March 2013 (see below). I’m not certain if that means we want to be on a plane with him (he’s in San Diego area) just in case…….?

In our quest to help parents age well, wireless technology will–if we’re lucky– no doubt play a part in our parents’– as well as our own–health care in the near future.

Related: Dr. Topol helps an airplane passenger  March 2013
2009 TED talk by Dr. Topol

Of Interest: 1/16/14 Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s life as a caregiver http://dailynightly.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/16/22326997-dr-nancy-snyderman-my-life-as-a-caregiver?lite

3/26/14 Help! Aging Parents has been nominated for 2014 “Best Blogs by Individuals” recognition and we would appreciate your vote by 4/28 if you’re on Facebook. We were honored to be judged part of a 3-way tie for first runner-up last year thanks to your votes which took us to the judging round. Click top badge at right to view a universe of helpful aging blogs and resources, even if you can’t vote on Facebook.

Changing often: “Of Current Interest” (right sidebar). Timely links to research and information from top universities, plus some fun stuff to help parents age well.

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