According to the Centers for Disease Control, one third of all adults 65 or older suffer from a fall each year. Of these, more than one in five incur moderate to severe injuries. In fact, the elderly are five times more likely to be hospitalized for injuries related to a fall than for any other reason. The result? Direct medical costs of $34 billion in 2013 alone. And as our population continues to age, it becomes increasingly important to predict and prevent falls by the elderly.
Cerner is a company that offers a wide range of products and services for healthcare professionals, for use in clinical settings, patients homes, and even the workplace. The company recently announced a new device that measures fall risk. According to the company, this is a small device that gets strapped to the patient’s waist, and then the patient walks around for about 10 minutes. The patient can walk with or without assistance. The data recorded by the device is analyzed using algorithms developed over the past 10 years, and the device identifies whether or not the patient is at risk of falling. The system has a 90 percent accuracy rate. And perhaps the most amazing feature of the product is that it only costs about $100.
This is a perfect example of how low-cost, simple, wearable Health Tech devices can provide early detection of risk factors, ideally leading to healthier and more independent lives for individuals, fewer injuries and diseases, more effective treatment, and lower healthcare costs overall.