I love being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry....
Social Innovation: Digital Health is Our Future
Digital health is the hottest growth area in technology and social innovation. According to a study by Pew Research, medical and healthcare was the third-fastest-growing category of Smartphone apps and by 2015 nearly 500 million people are expected to be using mobile healthcare apps. This year's International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) debuted products that address the needs of health-conscious populations, particularly advances in medical science targeted at the world's ageing population. The growth in mobile healthcare devices and applications has also inspired Ford, the automobile manufacturer, to integrate healthcare into its vehicles. As being informed about our health while on the go has become a real need.
The "Doctor in Your Car" keynote social innovation address at CES delivered by Gary Strumolo, Global Manager of Health, Wellness, Interiors and Infotainment for Ford Research and Innovation, shed light on several research projects that Ford is working on. The car maker is developing a series of health and wellness in-car connectivity designed to empower people with self-help information while they drive. Strumolo says, "Ford has been working with leading healthcare industry partners to explore what's possible to help consumers monitor diabetes and asthma symptoms while in the car... showing that managing your well-being doesn't have to stop once you step inside your car".
Leveraging the Ford SYNC connectivity platform and its ability to connect to mobile devices via Bluetooth, and to access cloud-based Internet services and Smartphone apps via voice recognition, Ford's social innovation collaborations have developed the industry-first, voice-controlled health and wellness in-car connectivity solutions. It alerts diabetics to glucose levels through audio alerts; an allergy alert app providing location-based index levels for pollen and health management services while driving.
Another product that stood out at CES was a home-based device called Sonamba specifically targeted for older people. It is home technology, which enables families to share valuable conversations when time is precious. It's an easy to use screen with features similar to Facebook, such as photo-sharing and text messaging. It aims to help busy working families who are concerned about staying connected with their ageing loved ones. However, it is the SonamaPro with its special built-in social innovation health monitoring features such as the motion detectors, sound sensors and optional 24/7 personal emergency response call centre services that make it unique.
The SonambaPro gives carers an insight into their aging loved ones' health through adaptable measurement tools such as blood pressure cuffs, weight scales, glucometers and spirometers. It automatically reminds older people of their medication routines and alerts distant careers via text or email when its motion/sound sensors detect any change in normal activity. Social innovation and technology is playing an increasingly critical role in improving access and affordability in the health system, particularly as the developed world deals with its ageing populations. We will need to find solutions to keep us healthy for longer, as societies globally will struggle to support or care for its ageing populations.
Photo Credit: Sonamba website