Aging 2.0, Functional Fashion, and the Longevity Economy
Recently, QMedic was invited to speak at Aging 2.0, one of the premier venues for discovering impactful innovation and partnerships in the 50+ market. One of the themes of the night was that solutions targeting the aging market should promote lifestyle, not "deathstyle."
There is virtue to this vision of ageless living. Both online and offline, lifestyles of older adults are starting to closely resemble those of younger generations. This is true if you look at trends in car ownership, delayed retirement, online dating/social networking, and the overall shift towards aging in place. And if you caught the most recent episode of the hilarious NBC series Parks and Recreation (Season 5, Episode 4), the show dives into another important, less-talked-about theme in ageless living. To put it euphemistically, the episode underscores the point that the “personal desires” of the aging market aren’t necessarily slowing down either.
What is less clear is how we embed healthcare in this ageless world in a way that improves efficiency, reduces costs, and addresses the thorny problem of patient engagement.
There are 3 areas that QMedic is investing in to address the ageless trend:
Enabling Remote Caregiver Connectivity: Family caregivers are the typical purchasers of home health solutions and the most concerned about managing their loved ones' health. For their loved ones to safely age in place, caregivers need to get actionable information that reduces anxiety/uncertainty and enables efficient prevention and care both in emergency- and non-emergency situations. At a baseline, this is critical to keeping frail older adults in the home vs. more expensive, restrictive care facilities. For QMedic, this is the immediate priority and it is a need that is severely under-served by current solutions.
Balancing Monitoring with Two-way Engagement: If you think about Skype, you’re unlikely to categorize it as a video monitoring platform, and yet the two-way videoconferencing solution can give you a pretty good idea of how the other person is doing. However, in contrast to the traditional surveillance camera, Skype is engaging because it’s reciprocal and social—because it goes both ways, you almost forget that there’s a veiled monitoring component to it.
At QMedic, we are translating the lessons of Skype into home health by contextualizing not only data but content exchange. For example, based on activity data from our wearable sensing device, QMedic is able to personalize content in everyday objects—imagine a digital photo frame that features a scrambled photo of the user’s grandchildren. Now imagine if in order to unscramble the photo, the user would need to stay active.There are literally infinite possibilities for delivering contextualized content/feedback in different objects: picture frames, lamps, mirrors, medicine cabinets, bath mats, and more—enabling feedback to be delivered in this way will play a key role in translating health monitoring into lifestyle engagement. This also has great potential to improve adherence and health outcomes, and thereby keep users safe.
Introducing "Functional Fashion": We love the concept of turning wearables into objects that users not only wear, but adore. Fashion/product design companies like Omhu and Liz & Ett are leading this wave by delivering functionally fashionable solutions to the older adult market—their point is that the ageless consumer is always chic. At QMedic, we believe that wearable monitoring devices can look chic too and we intend to incorporate functional fashion into future versions of the device.
Ultimately, with 75% of healthcare costs accruing from chronic disease care, QMedic is interested in bringing ageless lifestyle solutions not only to frail populations but also to younger populations in need. Embedded healthcare and engagement are critical to the future of Aging 2.0 and the longevity economy, and QMedic intends to be at the center of this transformation.