TSMC Charity Foundation Joins Hands with The Ministry of Health and Welfare to Improve Solitary Elderly Healthcare
Taiwan’s population aging rate is five times faster than Japan, and the society is entering into an era of "super-aging ," with a growing elderly population. According to statistics from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the domestic workforce gap for long-term care will reach 15,000 in 2020.
TSMC’s Charity Foundation joined hands with the Ministry of Health and Welfare to put self –developed Smart Medical Care Devices Systems into trial at Feng Yuan Hospital. To implement the Smart Medical Care Devices System into the homes of elderly people living alone, Feng Yuan Hospital provided clinical advice on medical care and social work resources to combine with the efforts of the TSMC Charity Foundation. In this way, Feng Yuan Hospital is able to remotely monitor solitary elderly’s physiological function, medication adherence, and daily activity in real time. Supported by social worker’s timely care through video chat and appointment services for follow-up doctor visits, TSMC’s Charity Foundation is able help look after the healthcare of solitary elderly, and help them to enjoy a peaceful retirement at home.
Real-time Monitoring Physiological Data
"How can I help you?" asked the TSMC Charity Foundation, which has long been concerned about remote areas and care of solitary elderly. The foundation travelled far and wide to medical institutions across Taiwan, and surveyed first-line social workers across Taiwan before deciding to leverage the power of technology to help resolve the medical workforce shortage.
TSMC Charity Foundation first cooperated with Feng Yuan Hospital to conduct home case studies on the solitary-living elderly. With Smart Medical Care devices, including indoor positioning devices, smart pillbox, health bracelets and video call, elderly, hospitals and social workers are seamlessly connected, and the data of elderly’s physiological functions are monitored in real time and transferred back to hospital.
Grandpa Chen, who participated in the pilot project, lives in a rural area. Though the Smart Medical Care Devices System, social workers found that Chen’s blood pressure continued to be abnormally high. Further visits revealed that Grandpa Chen had stopped taking blood pressure medication because of misinformation from illegal underground radio stations. The social workers immediately contacted Grandpa Chen and explained the drug efficacy and possible side effects to him, and he resumed taking drugs correctly without any concerns.
Grandma Chen, another participant, has cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and stroke medical history. Her daughters live far away from her for work , so Chen was quite willing to participate the pilot project. One day, she wasn’t able to send back her physiological data as usual, so the social workers checked her Indoor Positioning System and found that she had been in the bedroom for two hours longer than usual.
Social workers immediately went to visit her and found Grandma Chen was suffering from acute urinary tract obstruction in bed. Social workers immediately sent her to hospital and saved her from more severe complications.
Improved Care for Solitary-Living Elderly, and Empowering the Hospital to Boost Productivity by Eight Times
After half a year of trials, the introduction of remote smart device system has increased the daily measurement rate of solitary elders from 0% to over 70%. The Smart Pillbox also drove the elderly’s medication adherence rate to increase from 50% to approximately 83%. The proportion of elderly who are willing to use video to receive remote care from social workers and medical staff has also increased from 0% to 50%.
There was no motivation for me to measure my physiological data before, but now I know that doctors and social workers will take care of me if I track my health and send the data back to them. They also provide me with kind suggestions, so I feel very comfortable participating in the project and tracking my health.
In addition to the effectiveness of medical care for the solitary-living elderly, Feng Yuan Hospital also provided a trial report. The remote intelligent equipment system helped medical staff and volunteers save transportation time, and now they can take care of eight times as many solitary elderly with the same working hours.
The Performance of Smart Medical Care Devices
With the help of social workers, now I can use the video call to contact the social worker when needede. I feel I am keeping up with the trends and have a sense of accomplishment. I can contact people with those smart devices, which make me feel reassured.
The Smart Medical Care Devices donated by TSMC Charity Foundation have been successfully tested in Feng Yuan Hospital. The continuous cross-disciplinary integration of technology and medical care is expected to bring more benefits to the disadvantaged and solitary living elderly.