With collaborators such as MedStar Health, Merck and the West Health Institute this new AgingWell Hub, announced the day of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging (July 13), will be located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to both MIT’s AgeLab and Philips U.S. research headquarters. The Hub will focus on how to use the explosion of health technology to construct a transformational living and aging model where people can connect with their doctors, communities, caregivers and family while living in the place they call home, the place older adults tell us they want to remain as they age.
Despite the enormous progress in health technology we’ve seen over the past decade, the verdict is still out on whether these breakthroughs are being effectively adopted by either healthcare providers or the people they serve. The AgingWell Hub has been given a big assignment: find solutions to break down the technology adoption barriers that are keeping people from aging well. Barriers to the future that range from access and cost; to complexity and privacy concerns; from interconnectivity and integration problems to outdated reimbursement policies.
And it’s the future we need to worry about, because as a country, we’re going to experience a population game changer over the next 15 years. By 2030, one of every four Americans will be over age 60, and 90 percent of those over age 65 will have one or more chronic conditions. But it’s not just the challenges facing older adults that we should be concerned about.
We need to think about the family and societal impact of the growing number and proportion of older adults in the decades ahead, especially when the population of professional healthcare providers and caregivers crucial to a safe and healthy aging environment is shrinking. And what about society as a whole? How will we deliver quality, patient-centered healthcare that is also cost effective in the context of other pressing societal demands?
We are developing the AgingWell Hub as a living lab, drilling down on four key areas:
1) Technologies that build community by helping older adults age in place, connected to family and community.
2) Technologies that support health monitoring of older adults in the place they call home to help improve quality of care while lowering costs and reducing hospital readmissions.
3) Technologies that give caregivers better tools to support older adults.
4) And finally, technologies that help monitor and manage both the physiological and mental health of older people to maintain a healthy, happy life.
Phase I of this important research effort kicks off when we bring together our diverse group of thought partners to begin to create an organizational blueprint and governance model for an ideal aging well ecosystem.
Because we believe partnership is central to the success of this effort, the Hub and its research collaborators are committed to an environment of open innovation. Philips is ready to share the knowledge we’ve gained from our European R&D healthcare initiatives and through our overseas partnerships with more than 144 companies, research institutes and universities. Closer to home, Philips telehealth pilot program with Banner Health and partnership with other major U.S. health systems gives us unique insights and ideas on healthcare technology and aging that can help drive progress through open innovation.
We may have just announced the AgingWell Hub, but our collaboration-focused website is already off the ground with more information about our goals, plans and collaborators. As time goes on, this site will serve as a convening platform to engage with the unique new research initiative as well as share information, news, ideas and results.
The AgingWell Hub begins this week with three founding organizations committed to improving the lives of aging Americans, but this is an inclusive effort. We hope to expand our program beyond a research center to hubs in other cities around the country in the years to come and welcome interested creators, facilitators and thinkers to what we hope will be a catalyst for transformational change and a better life for millions of older adults. Go to the Hub and join the adventure.