April 08, 2015 Are Baby Boomers Driving the Change in Healthcare? Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age at a rate of almost 3 million per year, taxing an already overtaxed medical system. Tom Clemens MentorMate Alumnus When it comes to managing the healthcare of our aging population, the paradigms are shifting towards a system that includes homecare, wireless medical devices, wearable gadgets, mobile medical apps and the like. According to Rich Able, the founder and CMO of X2bio, a company that manufactures sensors for monitoring head injuries, “75 million baby boomers taxing on the healthcare system will make treatment in the home using wireless and wearable technologies imperative.” In fact, we can already see how more and more brands, including big names like Nike, Apple, Fitbit, and Jawbone are investing in medical devices and apps. The market is filled with devices that record our calories expended, steps taken, heart rate, sleep quality and blood pressure. One question that is often asked is: what is the driving factor that’s pushing the adoption of such technology into the home care setting? Sean MacLeod, president of an incubator of healthcare technology called Stratos, has pointed out, “It’s a realization that the cost structures of today will ultimately bankrupt us as families, or us as a community, or us as a country.” The rising costs of medical care have indeed become a major issue for many. In fact, the double digit rise in healthcare costs has already made it challenging for a number of Americans to undergo quality medical care, especially after the economic recessions. As mentioned, baby boomers are a major force driving changes in healthcare. This generation is rapidly reaching retirement age, at a rate of almost 3 million per year. Also, the life expectancy of boomers is longer than previous generations. However, 80 percent of this older population suffer from at least one chronic health condition, while 70 percent of them have heart disease and another 20 percent are living with diabetes. As a result, it is becoming more and more challenging for healthcare providers to accommodate these aging boomers. More baby boomers are also becoming eligible for government-funded healthcare, which might give rise to issues related to funding, coverage and reimbursement. Now, baby boomers generally are pretty receptive to the latest trends in technology, and this, along with the challenges facing in the healthcare landscape, has seen the boomer generation exploring new options in form of wearable digital health care technology. These medical devices will help patients attain high-quality healthcare at the hands of skilled nurses even when the doctor-to-patient ratio shrinks. According to a report from HRI, 42 percent of physicians trust at-home test results for prescribing medication. In addition, 28 percent of consumers agreed to use a healthcare or medical app to deal with chronic diseases as well as to enhance wellness. And it’s not only Boomers and their physicians who are open to adopting wearable technology for medical purposes. Healthcare companies, insurers and other healthcare stakeholders are exploring and encouraging the adoption and development of such technologies to better serve patients suffering from chronic illness. It is gradually becoming a fundamental factor for delivering high-quality healthcare. Do you agree that the aging Boomer population is taxing an already overtaxed system? Will advances in digital healthcare help? We would love to hear your thoughts. If you would like to learn more about this and other digital health topics register for MobCon today. Photo Credit: ladestramassacarrara via Compfight cc Tags CultureIoT Share Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Sign up for our monthly newsletter. Sign up for our monthly newsletter.