Provider Launches Smartwatch Pilot to Support Aging in Place

A Minnesota continuing care retirement community (CCRC) will soon reach beyond its walls to help people age in place, with the help of Samsung smartwatches and a new tech partnership in the senior care space.

Founded in 2013, Reemo utilizes smartwatches and sensors to gather a variety of health data about seniors, and provides that in dashboards to caregivers, family members, and the older adults themselves. Now, the company is partnering with Teradata, a major business analytics firm that did $2.5 billion in revenue in 2015 and counts major health systems such as Harvard Pilgrim among its customers. Together, the companies believe they can deliver super-charged analytics and clinical insights about senior populations.

The first provider to test this will be Mission Health, a Florida-based company that manages 32 senior housing properties in six states. The Residence at North Ridge, a CCRC in Minneapolis with 150 total units of assisted living and independent living, will be the site for the Reemo/Teradata pilot.

“We’d been chatting with Reemo and were very excited about the wearables, but it was the analytics piece that captured our attention,” Tina Thomas, senior vice president of operations at Mission Health, told Home Health Care News. “It’s a different platform than what we’ve seen.”

Mission Health also plans to begin offering the tech package to seniors still living in their homes beyond the CCRC walls, she said. They will be able to come into the CCRC on a regular basis for wellness exams. It’s a brand awareness play for Mission Health and marks the first time the CCRC has provided this type of service in the community at large.

“This is new territory for us,” Thomas said. “Someone could come in once a month, and we’d look at her data, and say, you’ve got this many steps, your heart rate is x, we can do some other baseline assessments to help them make some decisions about their physical activity and what they can do to feel better, and to have better conversations with their doctors.”

The Reemo/Teradata platform gathers data through Samsung Gear S2 smartwatches and some in-unit sensors. The devices capture information such as sleep patterns, number of steps, and heart rate. Taking these raw data points and being able to translate them into clinical insights is where Teradata—with its industrial-scale capabilities and previous work with massive amounts of health data—will be able to help Reemo and providers go the next level, according to Randy Lea, vice president of strategic initiatives at Teradata.

For example, a doctor might tell a heart patient to walk a certain number of steps each day. When the doctor must rely on the patient’s self-reporting about his or her activity between visits, it’s difficult to determine the effectiveness of the care plan and the ideal number of steps to prescribe to maximize heart health. Now, with that data gathered and crunched, those ideal care paths can be defined, Lea said.

Mission Health likely will focus on gathering benchmark data for falls, urinary tract infections, sleeping patterns, and steps/exercise, and driving toward improvement in these areas, Thomas said.

Currently, Mission Health is in the early stages of recruiting participants but is seeing interest; the “cool factor” of getting a Samsung S2 is part of the appeal, Reemo co-founder and CEO Al Baker told HHCN.

The hardware dedicated to each resident, including the smartwatch, home sensors and home automation devices, will change slightly depending on needs of a particular user, Baker said. Total cost should remain less than $100 per member per month, and Reemo has partnered with groups such as Best Buy’s Geek Squad to help keep the devices in working order.

Like a gym membership, there may be an introductory rate before the price ramps up with a full commitment to the program, Thomas explained.

Written by Tim Mullaney

Photo Credit: “Samsung” by Dennis Haslam, CC BY 2.0

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