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Use Smart Watches to Send Alerts to their Doctor After a Fall

By providing seniors with smart watches that send information about falls to their doctors, a real conversation about falls can occur.

Photo of Graham
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it enable older adults to live their best possible life by preventing falls?

My idea is designed for all seniors. Through Medicaid or their insurance provider, seniors can be provided a smart watch that will send alerts to their doctors about any recent fall they had. A report mentioned that only 50% of seniors told their doctors, family or caregivers about a fall. If the smart watch could provide that information directly, an intelligent conversation could be had to help prevent further, more dangerous falls.

I am trying to solve the issue of seniors having falls in their home, and not reporting it to their doctors or caregivers, which results in more falls that could have been prevented through action. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 50% of falls are reported to doctors or caregivers. (http://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/future-planning/prevent-falls-at-home.aspx). 

There are many ways to help prevent future falls, and seniors speaking with a doctor can figure out what changes can be made for each individual (http://www.interimhealthcare.com/education-center/fall-prevention/visiting-the-doctor). Falls can be prevented through better lighting, better organization of items used around the house, extra railings on stairs, pet safety and more. But the discussion needs to be had with a professional to figure out what is right for each individual. 

A cheap, functional smart watch could be provided to all seniors, or at least those who have had a fall or may be considered at risk for a fall, and the accelerometer can link up to a system that would notify the doctor or caregiver of the fall. Then, the doctor or caregiver could call the senior and make an appointment to discuss prevention techniques for each individual’s home situation.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

This could easily be tested through one doctor or one doctor’s office in a region with a high concentration of seniors. Over the course of a year (or some other designated time period), the doctors could see whether the number of conversations about falls increased and whether the number of further falls decreased. Ideally, it would be a large enough sample size to get an accurate statistical significance, but it may be hard to get a buy in from enough doctors early on in testing.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

This idea is in its infancy. My background is not in healthcare or healthcare regulations, so understanding if this is even feasible through an insurance company or Medicare/Medicaid would be a first step. There isn’t much out there about this being implemented at a large scale, but I’d love to hear if there are already experiments around this same idea, similar to what I mentioned in my own idea for an early, lightweight experiment around the country or the world.

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Tell us about your work experience:

I am currently a graduate student working towards my MBA in marketing. I have a background as an entrepreneur, most recently cofounding a software technology company in 2013. Prior to that, I worked in the nonprofit technology space.

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Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Graham!

What do you think of this solution - RightMinder.com – Leveraging the Everyday Smartwatch, Heralding New Opportunities for Softening the Stigma around Fall Detection & Aged Care ?

Could this be applied in this instance?

Photo of Graham
Team

Hi Kate!

As long is it integrates with all smartwatches, this would be a great solution. My one concern is the cost of Android phones and many smartwatches, which would be prohibitive to many seniors. But if it works with the low-cost smartwatches, this would be great.

Thanks!

Photo of Drew Steptoe
Team

Thanks Kate!

Hi Graham. We at RightMinder have launched just this. Feel free to pm me if you have any questions! Cheers Drew (drew@connectus.life)