The Problem

In nearly all medical facilities at every level of care medication errors are major concern and source of increasing liability exposure.  For the individual in assisted and non-assisted living medication non-adherence is a growing problem. The problem is well known in the medical profession and its ramifications are well documented in regard to patient care and professional liability.  The consequences are not only costly but potentially deadly. Yet the problem persists and, in fact, is getting worse as a result of our, in no small part, increasingly aging population.  Aging has multiple ramifications medically but in particular more people are being prescribed complex medication regimens for a host of chronic ailments and diseases and more people are being challenged by the natural attributes of aging such as mild cognitive impairments and short-term memory deficits. Unfortunately, when cognitive impairment becomes more than “mild”, or when medication regimens become increasingly complex, full time assistance with instrumental 1st Level Activities of Daily Living(1ADL), including the consumption of medications, becomes essential.

This environment, including the medication non-adherence issue, has been a significant contributor to the rapid growth in senior’s residences and assisted living facilities over the last thirty plus years. Additionally, as residents continue to age, their need for assistance continues to increase. Assistance with 1ADLs are complemented with assistance with 2nd Level Activities of Daily Living (2ADL). Indeed, some facilities “draw the line “ at the differentiation between these two service-levels and require clients to move to higher level care facilities when they require assistance with Activities of Daily Living.

It is worth noting that good medication adherence would certainly delay, if not prevent, the transition from 1ADL to 2ADL assistance.

(1) Instrumental activities of daily living (1ADLs) are the complex skills needed to successfully live independently. These skills include the following: Managing finances, transportation (driving or navigating public transit), shopping and taking medications.

(2) Activities of daily living (2ADL) are routine activities that people do everyday. There are six basic ADLs: eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (walking) and continence.

The QOLPOM Hub

QOLPOM® Hub is a personal medication dispensing and remote monitoring solution that ensures seniors and chronic care patients at home (or elsewhere), take the correct medications on time and notifies caregivers and the patient’s healthcare team if they miss a medication dose or have a medical status report that is outside the limits that their healthcare team has deemed as unhealthy or of potential risk. It can capture (through external sensors), monitor and store vitals along with the electronic patient record for better follow-up by doctors and the health care team. It gives users access to digital health care monitoring and potentially medical interventions via telemedicine.

Alerts and notifications include a series of visual, audible and vibration prompts to the senior and email, SMS and Cloud-based recording for caregivers. Thes new generation devices and online monitoring services feature the latest communications and display technologies (android, touch screen tablet, customs apps, multiple interfaces).

QOLPOM® Hub automates the dispensing of packaged medications though a patented process, with these potential benefits:
 

  • reduces the risk of medication non-compliance; and
  • prolongs an independent quality of life for the client; and
  • provides peace of mind through real time monitoring for the caregiver.
     

It also bonds clients with their service providers and enables a Patient Care Circle that is unprecedented. In addition, the QOLPOM® Hub features a full set of modern communications technologies specifically targeted for seniors, the chronically ill and the temporary or permanently disabled, that enable both voice and “videoconference” communication directly from the device. These same technologies will enable “virtual doctors visits” that will require no travelling, no time-off-work for a family member to accompany the patient or resultant stress from the “sortie”.

Connected Sensors

There is a world-wide interest in “connected health” with major companies such as Philips, Nokia, Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Google all investing heavily in sensors and sensor systems for health care, connectivity and RPM. Traditional telcos like AT&T, Verizon and a host of others are also investing heavily in health care systems and in RPM..

Countless smaller companies around the world are innovating in this sector and are now offering everything from Bluetooth connected toothbrushes and bathroom scales (weight loss or gain is a key indicator of health and disease state) to “wearable’s” that capture everything from body temperature, pulse rates, respiratory rates and blood Pressure monitoring to game-changing technologies such as non-invasive blood glucometers that sample blood sugar level several times per second – continuously – without requiring lancets and the drawing of blood samples. Parallax Health Management’s sister company, Parallax Diagnostics, is in the development stage of acquiring, licensing and developing in-house solutions/products for personalized health monitoring of seniors that will capture a host of vitals. All of these sensor products can be connected to the QOLPOM® Hub so that this bio-feedback information is directly correlated with medication consumption information providing clinicians, pharmacists and physicians with real-time, comprehensive data and information on patient condition.

Medical clinics, on a global scale, are already adopting technologies that allow them to provide better health care to a wider population base.

Government departments of health, in every jurisdiction, are investing as well as they continue to struggle with low budgets, high costs, poor outcomes and population demographics, both from an aging point of view and from a population distribution perspective. One of their major drivers is in serving patients, with quality health care, that are not in urban areas and that do not have ready access to all of the facilities found in the urban environment. Most governments have grant and subsidy programs that offset the costs of technology adoption that lead to better health outcomes.

Insurance companies and HMOs continue to seek the highest quality health care with the highest return on investment by leveraging new technologies to provide better care, to a greater population base, at lower cost.

RPM and dashboards

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM), even within the walls of a single building, offers countless benefits for the overall health management of clients. RPM is a cost effective means of keeping patients out of more intense levels of care. Correlating vitals with medication history and consumption directly informs health care providers as to the real-time status of a patient, at home or in residence. Anomalies can be reported or alerted to those in need, via the cloud. The result is that patients can stay out of the hospital longer and have a better quality of care.

The average medical residence has some 100 clients. Obviously, some have many more and some have less. It is entirely achievable that the average residence, on a single computer screen, could monitor the medication compliance, the health condition, vital signs and any other sensor data including fall detectors and panic buttons for all of their clients. Indeed, there are hosts of health monitoring platforms that exist and many more that are emerging that offer these dashboard monitoring features and many more. Parallax Health Management offers, in addition, extensive education, support, training, and counseling and motivation services along with the health monitoring.

The primary benefit of RPM is that patients can stay out of more intense levels of care for extended periods of time thus resulting in a better quality of care and of life overall marked by increased independence.