According to a report on healthcommentary.org, a future preventative approach to health-care dubbed “home-centered health care” will involve the use of RFID technology to monitor patients from their homes.
The report argues that the current health-care system, which is based on intervention rather than prevention, cannot possibly be maintained with the population aging as rapidly as it is (the Alliance for Aging Research has found that the number of Americans over age 65 will double from 35 million today to 70 million in 2030). The new focus in health care is on prevention using home monitoring systems, which will allow caretakers to catch the early signs of health problems.
Under the proposed system, sensors set up in a patient’s home will collect clinical data from the patient and send it to family members and health care professionals allowing them to take action at slight telltale changes in a patient’s vital signs.
A number of companies and institutions are currently developing home-centered health care RFID applications. For example, the Georgia Tech-developed Memory Mirror system uses RFID technology to monitor and record how often medications are taken and returned to the medicine cabinet, helping the elderly remember if they have taken their medication or if they have taken it too often.
This new radical model of health care could be implemented sooner rather than later, as the technology required is expected to be commonplace within the next 5-10 years. However the greatest obstacle standing in the way of home-centered health care is getting the support of the government, private investors, and the public.