Ageing populations are a modern phenomenon, and while there are several reasons for this, it is mainly driven by declining fertility and increasing human longevity. Without significant improvements to control and encourage healthy ageing, chronic conditions, multi-morbidities, and cognitive impairments will become much more common.
According to the UN, two thirds of the global population will be 65 years or older by 2050, while a report by Johnson & Johnson suggests that “people over the age of 65 years, use approximately seven times more health care-related products and services than younger people.” To meet the needs of a rapidly ageing world, technology can help us to do more with less. Digital health tools must focus on the design of efficient, scalable and compassionate care for seniors – and this is a prime opportunity for the medical devices industry.1
As pressure continues to build on global health ecosystems, vital medical technology solutions will rely on creating innovative new products that can improve health data, support remote care, and digitise workflows.2
The sector can also boost efficiencies and sustainability in global healthcare systems – in an industry beset by challenges including finite resources. With greater demand for medtech products from medical professionals and patient-consumers, there is a huge opportunity for investment in the medtech market, particularly in emerging markets.
Bec Johnston, medtech and molecular science consultant at SRF, says that the current market is highly fragmented. “With the opportunity to buy and merge multiple companies and achieve revenue growth through cost synergies, such fragmentation is an attractive proposition for private equity investors. An ageing population means a rise in chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease. This creates an urgent demand for innovations that can improve the diagnosis and treatment of such diseases. By facilitating a drive towards bespoke, personalised care and more targeted treatments, medical technologies, including wearables or smart inhalers are critical to helping people live longer, healthier lives and contribute to an improved quality of life for patients.”
Medtech innovations for seniors
We take a look at three technologies that can assist seniors to live longer, healthier lives and that contribute to an improved quality of life for patients.
The rapid advancement of telehealth administration during COVID-19 has been nothing short of extraordinary and those caring for seniors are pouring resources into purchasing new tech, training staff, and restructuring operations to accommodate sophisticated telehealth programmes. These efforts rapidly brought about a renaissance in how technology can be used to enhance how communities provide quality care on a virtual platform.3
The COVID-19 pandemic was a hard lesson in the impact of isolation on senior health and wellbeing. Seniors were effectively isolated from relatives and the loneliness epidemic among the elderly has been at an all-time high. Medtech companies are starting to develop AI-based devices that provide companionship to seniors when in-person contact with loved ones isn’t possible. These easy-to-use devices make voice assistant caregiving possible, potentially providing senior living residents with light conversation, reminders, suggestions, and activities to keep them engaged throughout the day. Some technologies like Constant Companion even integrate with Amazon Echo devices, compiling and analysing a resident’s engagement data so they can be instantly accessed by community caregivers and/or relatives.
Solutions for enhanced hearing
HeardThat4 is a technology that improves communication for the impaired by turning a smartphone into a hearing assistant, helping to tune out background noise to enable seniors with hearing loss to hear their loved ones more clearly. Functioning with an everyday smartphone, this tool will improve daily life for seniors everywhere who struggle with noise distractions – vital as communication is fundamental to keeping seniors engaged, fulfilled, and connected with loved ones, friends, and caregivers.
The design and supply of technologically innovative solutions to an ageing population is a critical component of senior care. Contact Clarity Medtech to discuss developing opportunities for this sector.