Revolutionizing Veterans Affairs with Digital Health
We’re living in a time of rapid change thrust forward by the abundance of information we have now access to. We wear computing power on our wrists that in the 19th (and much of the 20th) century we couldn’t even conceive of. Day by day we are starting to live in a more digitized world, mostly thanks to the military establishment and the conquest of space.
The military push is strongly focused on “situational awareness”, including such constructs as Maritime Domain Awareness, Theatre-Wide Tactical Situational Awareness and Space Situational Awareness. Miniaturization, speed, accuracy and utility were direct benefits from the Military, the early adopters, the dream big and everything is possible folks!
Those of us old enough to remember can certainly validate how putting a man on the moon launched the computer revolution. A computer the size of a room, was reduced to a more powerful desktop. Apple’s re-hiring Steve Jobs was the next major paradigm shift. He created purpose, when little existed. This brought computing power to hand level, opening all sorts of further sensory and wearable innovations.
Information and technology advance at such rapid rates it is difficult for all of our existing systems to keep up. The hyper-change that surrounds us means we have to adapt our functional and management systems to the current realities. The time is now to embrace “Situational Awareness of the disabled veteran” by the giving back from the commercial world to the VA.
Digital health is now prevalent in the commercial world. Many existing systems include electronic medical records, robotics, GPS, Robotics and security. Moreover, recent innovations in small, lightweight fitness wearables have made it advantageous not only for the general public to be better monitored, but also the deployed soldier and the disabled veteran.
Both the Canadian and American Military have adopted structures to digitize their healthcare system and have begun trialing wearable clothing, like Hexoskin, to provide real-time, in theatre or out, measurement of vitals. So what’s the next step? How can the military continue to expand their healthcare system?
When deployed, in theater, returned home and in the Veterans Administration, it’s time to go digital in every aspect of the military’s medical affairs. The innovations which created the commercial world, can now come back to help our troops.
Medication Management for Disabled Veterans
As an example, let’s pick one area of need: medication management. RxPense® automates, dispenses and monitors medication adherence. This dispensing device automates delivery of medications at the right time, to the right patient (or soldier). The military or VA could better manage and monitor complex medication regimens for both deployed soldiers that have been injured as well as veterans. With the use of RxPense® the military could also manage, control and monitor each individual’s medication schedule and vitals. Though secure NFC tags, identity is confirmed, dispensing performed and images are stored along with the patient data, securely in the HIPAA and PIPEDA compliant cloud.
The RxPense® is great for medication monitoring, managing, dispensing and notifying. Military physicians and pharmacists could easily access patient data in real-time, from anywhere in the world. They could be notified when adherence is not met or should vitals exceed preset levels. Schedule and dosage adjustments can be made on the fly. There are so many ways in which this digital revolution can aid in our day to day lives. RxPense® also facilitates telemedicine and remote patient monitoring.
How could it help Disabled Veterans?
For veterans suffering from PTSD or other Chronic conditions, multiple and complex medication regimens often result. Medication adherence, compliance and persistence are extremely difficult. With a device like RxPense® the veteran simply receives an alert, SMS, voice message other notification that it is time to take the medications. Confirmation is required and caregivers or health care professionals are notified in the event of an anomaly. Veterans may be monitored with connected health devices like Hexoskin wearable clothing, or other sensors from companies like Fitbit or Withings. How about engaging patients with a survey or question, answered and recorded in real-time. The veteran could even access a triage center or health care provider via video or telemedicine session. All data is consolidated, stored and presented in a user-friendly dashboard. Proactive patient-centered care is available today with products like the RxPense®.
Reducing health care costs, providing better care in real-time, what a great message to our sons and daughters, our troops, that they will always be taken of when placed in harm’s way or back at home. It’s time we, the commercial, innovative developers of the world, gave back to our veterans.