August 1, 2020
The term Artificial Intelligence (AI), or the ability for a machine to imitate intelligent behavior, has been around for more than 70 years, when mathematician Alan Turing first published his idea of a test that could prove machine intelligence. Fast forward 47 years or so to the historic chess victory of an IBM computer over world champion Garry Kasparov, then 23 years later to present day, and we now see instances of AI and machine learning in everything from finance to farming, hospitality to healthcare.
And while the idea of a machine reading your mind seems like the stuff of fantasy, it’s actually rooted in algorithms that process large amounts of data and look for patterns to analyze businesses and behaviors, predict patterns and optimize operations. One industry that has benefited significantly from the use of AI in the last several years is the home care space. From biometric monitoring and diagnostic tools to voice recognition, here are some of the innovations making a difference to those in need of aid.
“Hey Google, turn the lights out.”
Voice recognition has made automating your home with tools like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home as easy as speaking your commands out loud. And for the elderly, less mobile or homebound, being able to activate services in your home without lifting a finger means less moving about (and by extension, less chance for slips and falls). With the ability to do everything from calling contacts if you need help, to regulating temperature in your home and setting reminders, voice recognition goes a long way for those who live independently.
A Helping Set of Hands, Wherever They’re Needed
At CareConnect, we’ve created an app that enables agencies to have the tools to hire homecare workers, train them, assure compliance to regulations and schedule client appointments — and it utilizes AI to help determine not only who is the best person to meet a client’s needs, but also makes scheduling and dispatching them a streamlined process. CareConnect does this by looking at work patterns, applicant patterns, caregiver attributes, etc. and then making recommendations to agencies that are specifically tailored for their needs. “We can say, ‘You have a great caregiver pool for this type of case, maybe try to get more of those types of cases,” says our Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Michael Gelman. “We’re able to ask a home care agency what their most important KPI is, and then make an algorithm that fits them.” And the level of customization we’ve created doesn’t just enable agencies to become more efficient with their workforce and caregivers to cultivate more long term relationships and agency loyalty. It ultimately means better service for clients, and that’s really what the home care industry is all about.
Early Detection For the Win
Research has predicted that by 2021, some 3.1 million monitoring devices will be capturing patient and home care client data, which means anticipating possible issues before they arise just got a huge leg up. Products like EarlySense, which involves a sensor placed under a mattress that captures metrics like temperature and heart rate, can help generate predictions from everything from a worsening respiratory or heart condition, to pressure injuries like bed sores. EarlySense even won the 2019 Med Tech Breakthrough Award, but there are a variety of at-home monitors of varying sophistication and price levels available to those who rely on in-home assistance, and they’re increasingly being covered by insurance.
Ultimately, harnessing the power of machine learning and AI for home care makes sense because it deals with everything from convenience to bio individuality, with the end game serving multiple stakeholders. “It’s about understanding fit better,” says Gelman. “We’re trying to bring together agency, client and feedback, merged with the clinical situation at that location for that person, and make predictions on potential risks.” Cooperating and sharing data amongst all the best-of-breed systems is our goal, because it creates a larger data set that everyone can access to run these tools against. “It just lends to better outcomes, more financially healthy healthcare systems, and ultimately a happier workforce.”