A new study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research reveals that family and friends who provide in-home care use health information technology. I don’t have the details since I’m not going to spend $22 to download the article, but according to Fierce HealthIT:
The most common purpose for technology was found to be helping the care recipient find health information online; less common was sending emails to healthcare providers, tracking health information, accessing health records and filling medications.
That’s all well and good, and it doesn’t surprise me that people are using technology for such mundane uses in 2013. But imagine in a few years if we could take things a step further and use technology to enable people to provide care remotely. Certainly the telephone and some forms or remote monitoring are already in use for this purpose.
But how about getting into more advanced and physical tasks such as helping a person get in and out of bed or the bath, cooking for them, or helping them change their clothes? Help on some of these tasks could theoretically be provided by a robotic assistant with no outside intervention, but for others there might be an opportunity for remote caregivers to participate.
Of course there’s still plenty of value in in-person visits, but the physical necessity of appearing in-person to help is likely to decline.