About the SeniorAdvisor.com 2014 In-Home Innovation Scholarship: We started the scholarship program to bring awareness of the unique benefits and challenges of in-home caregiving for seniors to younger generations. The questions posed by the scholarship encouraged our nation’s future caregivers to present solutions for improving home care in the United States. College-aged students were required to answer one of the three essay topics below and provide a short bio as part of their scholarship application. Read the winning essays here.
How can the healthcare industry use technology to improve in-home care for American seniors?
Essay response by Karlee Davis
The paramedics arrive on the scene where an elderly woman is having what appears to be a stroke. She can not speak or give the paramedics any information, and her home-healthcare nurse has gone home for the day. This situation could easily take a turn for the worse because the emergency medical responders have no knowledge of the woman’s medical background. For example, she could have an adverse reaction to medicine they would like to use to treat her, or even a history of strokes. What if there was a way to easily access all of that crucial information in just a moment when a patient is in need of critical care? The advanced QR code technology that is available today could make that possibility a reality, and improve home-healthcare for many seniors.
Everyone has seen the tiny black and white boxes on the backs of cereal boxes and on ads everywhere. The boxes might not seem like much, but QR codes can lead to a lot of valuable information. They are also incredibly convenient and easy to use because virtually everyone has a smart phone that they can pull out and scan the code with. Once they do, they are sent to a page that usually has more information about the product they scanned. QR codes as medical identification works the same way, but instead of directing someone to a product’s website it brings up a list of medical information for first responders. This information can include anything from allergies to medical conditions a person might have, or even emergency contacts. In the event of an emergency the first responders are able to scan the code and easily obtain access to all medical information, therefore diagnosing and treating the problem much quicker.
All of that technology is great, but what does it mean for home health nurses and caregivers? The QR medical ID badges will give caregivers and the families of seniors peace of mind. Nurses and caregivers often times do not stay with a patient 24/7. In fact, they often have multiple patients that they tend to. If something were to happen while they were out running errands for a senior, or if they had gone for they day, the QR code can speak for them. Also, with the ability to program emergency contacts into the code, first responders are able to call them and they can be with their elderly loved one in no time. This technology is far more advanced than other medical identification bracelets that can only have one major medical condition engraved into them. With the QR code identification caregivers can personally program in any, and all, information they think would be helpful in the event of an emergency. Additionally, because the code can be updated at any time, it can help family members and the home-health nurses to all stay on the same page.
Technology is advancing rapidly all around the world everyday. The home-healthcare field can be greatly benefited by this surge in technology, specifically by the development of medical identification QR codes. Not only do the codes relieve the pressure put on caregivers to keep track of the medical information of their patients, they also give caregivers, seniors, and their families peace of mind in a crisis, thus, improving in-home care for American seniors.
Karlee is a senior at Sterling High School, and will be attending college next year to get my degree in business.