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Smart-Home Gadgetry Paves the Way

Smart-Home Gadgetry Paves the Way

by NEIL JORDAN

In Oslo, Norway, a retired engineer, Mr. Helge Farsund and his wife, Kari, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago, are participating in a pilot project.

The pilot is studying how a smart-home powered by sensors enables people with Alzheimer’s Disease to stay in their home.

The system created by Abilia uses a central memo planner on a tablet connected with wireless sensors around the house to detect motion. If a door is opened or left open, or if the stove is left on, the system alerts patients and caretakers of danger.

The planner also provides spoken reminders about daily tasks, such as when they need to take medicine and events like birthdays as well as enabling caretakers and family members to check in remotely via Skype.

In Norway it cost one million Norwegian krone per year, or about $162,000, to have someone in a home; in contrast the Abilia system costs about $25,000 a year.  Most importantly for Mr. Farsund, the system gives him peace of mind that his wife will not wander into harm’s way while he is sleeping because the sensors will alert him.

With the added pressure to health systems, diminishing budgets, and fewer health professionals to care for everyone, technology is the critical factor to success.

From using remote medicine for rural or house-bound patients, to helping health professionals’ access electronic records easily and securely, technology empowers patients and health professionals while keeping government spending down.

 

Neil Jordan is the general manager of Health for Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector.



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