The world is getting older. As a species, we are living longer than ever before. Many of us now have grandparents who are still alive well into our own adulthood, the want ads for nurses who specialize in geriatric care can take up a whole page in the local paper, and Willard Scott needs more time every morning on The Today Show to honor those celebrating the century birthday. With this comes the need for technology that will meet the needs of an older population. And, the target audience may not be what you imagine.
In the recent article, “Gray matters–preparing for a geriatric planet,” the Healthcare IT News website shares the estimate that this planet will hold seven billion people by the year 2050 and two billion of them will be over the age of 60. These seniors won’t be the stereotypical grannies who we tease for not knowing how to turn on a computer or send a text message. Instead, these are men and women currently in their twenties and thirties who are constantly checking their Smartphones, plugged into iPods, and navigate through new cities using GPS. Our world is going to have a tech-savvy elderly population in forty years. For the forward thinker, now is the time to develop some IT systems that will meet their health needs.
If you live in the United States, the opportunity to develop new ideas in this field are endless. In the same article already mentioned, Eric Dishman, director of health innovation and policy for Intel’s Digital Health Group, said that the United States is lagging behind most of the rest of the world, including Australia, China, and many places in Europe, in preparing for the geriatric age to come. This means that the technology used to help our future seniors manage their health care will be managed by entrepreneurs in another country.
Are you looking for a way to make your mark in health IT? Start thinking about how our digital age can make the transition into the geriatric age as smooth one. What are some of your ideas for using health IT to help Seniors manage their health better?