I have fallen behind on blogging over the last few months. When I started the cHealth Blog, in 2008, I posted every other week, but over the years, the frequency has fluctuated somewhat. My main excuse is that I’ve had the opportunity to publish in other places, such as NEJM Catalyst, Harvard Business Review, and Nature Biotechnology. This is gratifying personally, but also brings in new audience members and broadens the discussion about connected health.
Given the warm reception The Internet of Healthy Things received, I have also been working on a new book which we’ll release this fall at the Connected Health Conference. This time around, with the same coauthors, Carol Colman and Gina Cella, we’ve taken a long, hard look at the role technology will play in helping us live longer, healthier, more productive lives. At this point, the manuscript is almost complete and The New Mobile Age will soon be in the hands of the printers. This has been an exciting endeavor for me, as we’ve managed to get many of the top minds in aging to lend us their thoughts. Those insights, combined with my own twist, should make for informative, fun reading about this very important topic. It is no coincidence that the theme of the book marries well with an important initiative that our friends at Personal Connected Health Alliance are leading on Healthy Longevity.
Here’s a quick preview of The New Mobile Age: In the 20th century, we added 25 years to our lifespan. In the 21st century, the challenge is to employ new tools and strategies to enable us to live healthier during those years–adding to our healthspan. We have already crossed the threshold where the demand for healthcare services is outstripping the supply of providers. And, by 2050, there will be more older adults needing care than younger individuals to provide care for them.
Aging Baby Boomers want control of their health and want to grow old on their own terms. Digital technologies are creating a new kind of old, enabling individuals to remain vital, engaged and independent through their later years. But it has to be the right technology, designed for an aging population, not just what technologists and app developers think people want. Social robots, artificial intelligence, vocal biomarkers and facial decoding will analyze emotion, anticipate health problems, improve quality of life and enable better relationships with healthcare providers. It’s also about using data to better understand the ‘soft science’ of wellbeing and address the neglected crisis of caregiving. It’s a business model but, more so, it’s a new way of life.
The New Mobile Age will explore what needs to be done to bring the healthspan into line with the ever-increasing lifespan. At a time when digital and connected health solutions are needed more than ever to stem this ‘Silver Tsunami,’ health tech innovations will not just improve healthcare for older adults, but will create a better and more responsive healthcare system for everyone.
The time is now to galvanize our efforts on this important topic. If we continue to insist that the only way to receive healthcare services is one-to-one in a physical location, we will drown in service demand. Technology, properly designed and implemented, can allow us to live a long, healthy life.