An app idea that tracks the movement of elderly residents around their home has won a national technology design award.


In line with our information and assistive technologies focus for this issue of Work ‘n’ Care, we are sharing this story with working carers to give you an insight into just how much development is going into designing apps that will ultimately be of benefit to carers, family members, patients and service providers in the very near future.

HISA is just one organisation making this push. They believe the Australian healthcare system needs innovators with an eye for excellent patient outcomes and that in the online world, mobile apps have the potential to transform the future for a wide range of patients of all ages, and their healthcare providers and carers.

HISA holds an annual competition, the HISA Health Apps Challenge, for app designers to showcase their contribution to Australia's digital healthcare system of the future.

The competition does not require app developers to create a working app. Their task is to design a relevant concept based on the challenge categories.

Here is an explanation of the four award categories:

Aged Care
E-health has the potential for many important applications in the aged care sector. Carers, management and clinicians require apps that improve efficiency, productivity and quality of care for residents. Some of the key areas already identified as priorities in aged care IT are e-health; telehealth; mobility solutions; care management; management information; and reporting.

Medication management (sponsored by Sanofi)
Your challenge is to develop a digital medication management solution to help motivate and guide a person with one or more chronic diseases to become an active participant in their own health management. The solution must be able to interface with the patient's care team, HCP network (GP, pharmacist, specialists etc.) and existing data platforms on which they rely.

Quantified Self
One of the newest consumer trends and movements in global health is the use of technology for better self-monitoring, testing and self-sensing. Can you design the concept for an app which can be used to improve your daily functioning by collecting self-tracking data?

Clinician productivity
Clinicians are often time-poor, working in stressful and high-pressured environments. They would benefit from systems to manage information in a cohesive, comprehensible and easy manner. Do you have an idea for an app that would benefit clinician productivity?

This year, HISA’s app of the year was DoseMe by James Bennett, winning the category of ‘medication management’.

Other finalists were: Jennifer Tang and Jarrel Seah with Eyenaemia, in the ‘quantified self’ category and the Northern Sydney Local Health District with Traffic Light Guide, in the ‘clinician productivity’ category.

Also among this year’s winners was a clever app called PROTEGO, designed by Dhruv Verma, which won the ‘aged care’ category.

PROTEGO – PROactive Technology for Elderly on the GO, is an app that supports the concept of ‘aging in place’. It monitors and displays the movements of your elderly family member(s) in their own home.

In his entry, Dhruv said that many elderly people are fiercely independent and want to continue to live alone in their own homes. This can increase their chance of unsupervised accidents, falls and other emergencies at home. Family members would most definitely be concerned about these issues. Dhruv’s solution monitors the targeted person’s movements everywhere in their home and provides clear feedback to family members about their whereabouts.

ADVANTAGES:

- Real time feedback on the location of your elderly/disabled family members

- Visibility of the elderly/disabled family members in different locations (within their own home) on a single screen, with ‘traffic lights’ to give their current status

- Motion tracking of the last ‘x’ minutes around the house.

VALUES:

- Peace of mind

- The ability to provide instantaneous response when they are in strife

- Proactive management to ensure that the elderly/disabled are achieving their daily activity goals; collecting health related data.

Real Time Location System (RTLS) is being used in large established environments (e.g. hospitals), to track expensive equipment and patients. By attaching a sensing tag to the elderly individual, the app can display their location and movement throughout their own home. This is uniquely different to several devices and apps that use GPS technology to give only a broad location.

The app provides a clear and simple view of your registered family members and allows you with one click, to view their current location in their own home. This can be viewed this at any time, from any place, from any device (phone, tablet, PC) with an internet connectivity.