With the number of Americans over age 65 set to double by 2050, the use of telehealth will soon be a crucial method for providing care to older patients – at least according to a report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).
Released last month, PCAST’s report, “Independence, Technology, and Connection in Older Age,” asserts that telehealth technology will be instrumental in keeping older Americans in their homes while fostering an improved care continuum, decreased healthcare costs, and a better quality of life.
In particular, the report recommends the expanded use of telehealth in conjunction with wearable sensors and mobile apps to better connect patients with caregivers and provide specialized treatments that otherwise would have to be delivered in-person.
If implemented on a wide-scale, experts predict that these technologies will be effective in solving a number of complex issues specific to older adults, including the monitoring of chronic diseases, care coordination between multiple providers, and a reduction of institutionalization and permanent residency in nursing homes.
The PCAST report concluded:
“The average age of the American population is increasing, and Americans want to continue to have active and productive lives as they age. Technology has played an important role in increasing life expectancy, but it also has an important role to play in increasing the quality of life, by maximizing Americans’ ability to function in their later years.”
As CCM experts, we have witnessed firsthand the benefits that telehealth technology provides to older Americans. As such, we hope the Obama administration will view this PCAST report as an exciting opportunity to create programs that reward providers for using telehealth and, ultimately, help to facilitate the healthy aging of our valued patients during their “Golden Years.”