First look: New smart home solution for Australia

A home monitoring system that learns and adapts to a person’s daily routine and sends alerts based on unusual behaviour is among new CDC-friendly solutions to help seniors age in place to be unveiled in Sydney today.

A home monitoring system that learns and adapts to a person’s daily routine and sends alerts based on unusual behaviour is among new CDC-friendly solutions to be unveiled by technology vendor Hills in Sydney today.

Industry decision makers and technology brands in health, aged care, communications, security and surveillance will see the new technology at the Hills technology expo and tradeshow today. Australian Ageing Agenda attended a preview of the expo on Tuesday.

Essence Smart Care’s Care@Home, which will be available in Australia through Hills from 31 March, utilises a range of technology including a central hub to communicate in an emergency and optional peripherals including sensors, cameras, and monitoring apps for families.

Care@Home collects data in the background via sensors in the bedroom, living room, bathroom, toilet and kitchen and on the front door and refrigerator. It takes about a month for the system to learn a person’s daily routine and can then send alerts of varying severity based on any deviations, a Hills representative said.

Hills health solutions
Hills health solutions on display

The personalised solution aims to pick up health-related symptoms or deteriorations in an individual as they develop or can be used to monitor a person with dementia, for example, and is suited to consumer directed care packages in the home, according to Hills.

Care@Home is a step up from Hills’ entry-level home monitoring system Lively, said Peta Jurd, general manager of new healthcare channels and technology for aged care and hospitals at Hills.

New telehealth system being launched

In another development, a leading Canadian tablet-based telehealth solution for chronic disease management, education delivery, video-conferencing and social connectedness will also be available from 31 March.

The TELUS Remote Patient Monitoring, which is widely used in Canada, is being piloted in regional Victoria by Barwon Health for patients with diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to self-manage and prevent emergency presentations and hospitalisation. It also targets early patient discharge and community aged care clients.

It can be configured by the service provider to ask the patient personalised questions and can collect data automatically through Bluetooth-connected devices or manually by the client using standalone equipment, said Andrew Kelly, Hills sales representative.

“We will provide the devices that are Bluetooth if they want them but often people already have a blood pressure monitor, a glucometer, scales, and other devices at home, which they might have been using regularly. They can still use those devices and put the reading in,” he said.

The device also lends itself to medication compliance and workforce efficiency, which is particularly relevant in the context of CDC, said Mr Kelly, a former operations manager with home care provider KinCare.

“Often in rural areas it is hard to find a nurse to employ to start with. They don’t need then to have that nurse sitting there. They could be sitting in an office in Sydney taking those video calls and making sure they are taking their medication,” he said.

“[Clients] are going to have to pay for a nurse to come out of their CDC package. When you look at a nurse going out four or five times a week versus the cost of telehealth, telehealth actually becomes a cheaper option; cheaper for the consumer and less expensive for the provider.”

Innovation: get your idea off the ground

Elsewhere, Hills is calling on innovators in healthcare, security and information technology to put their ideas forward to be part of its pitch day in Adelaide in May.

Hills chief of health, innovation and growth Leica Ison said she encouraged anyone, anywhere with a solid concept to submit an application.

“Hills has the unique ability to bring an idea from concept to production through our Lance Hill Design Centre and D-shop hub. We stay true to the designer’s process of iteration and refinement through the development phase until the design is fit for purpose,” Ms Ison said.

Applications close on 10 April 2015. See the pitch day website for more details.

Don’t miss the forthcoming issue of AAA Technology Review for an in-depth report on what software and programs are available to support providers in delivering CDC.

Tags: ageing-in-place, andrew-kelly, hills, peta-jurd,

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