Tech For DD

Healthcare Companies vs. Security Companies

Many technology companies sell products that can report when someone enters a room, or opens a door. This is basic technology that is generally used by companies that sell home security systems. It is important when considering technologies that will support independent living to look at the ability of the sensors to speak with each other. Advanced sensor technology allows for sequential programing. This means that you can know if a person has left the kitchen, and the stove is still on. You can know if someone went into the bathroom, and did not return to the bedroom. When sensors communicate with each other, it allows for tremendous flexibility in defining rules. This allows for customized settings, to capture information unique to the situation you are trying to support.

Medication Management

Medication management is often a major obstacle on the path to indendent living for many clients.  Having the right medication, at the right dose and remembering to take it at the right time can require a lot of support, especially if you are taking multiple medications. The most common support for medication management are the pre-poured pill boxes. This is a good organizational tool, but provides no reminders. Newer cell phone apps can be programmed to remind individuals to take their medication, however, these apps do not communicate with your support staff.

I recently came across a recent success in how technology can be used to better support medication management. An individual who currently lives in a supported apartment was at risk of having to move into a more supervised environment. His blood presssure was becoming unmanagable and staff had recently discoverd a stash of blood pressure pills in the closet. The individual wanted to take his medication, but had forgotten, and having forgotten, hid it from his support staff. He began using a MedReady to remind himself to take his medication. The MedReady has the ability to communicate with his support staff if a medication is not accessed within some specified time period. Utilizing the Med-Ready, his blood pressure has remained stable, and he has been able to maintain his current living condition.

The MedReady can be programmed to beep at medication access times. It stops when the medication is accessed. If the medication is not accessed in a reasonable time, for example 2, 5, 10, or 30 minutes, an EMT call center will attempt to make contact with the consumer, and will notify (text or call) the support staff.

Governor Cuomo’s proposed 30-day Amendments to the Executive Budget

OPWDD providers and advocates for the developmentally disabled expressed significant concerns about Governor Cuomo’s proposed 30-day Amendments to the Executive Budget. This amendment authorizes actions to address the loss of federal revenue as a result of modifications to the current Medicaid financing system for developmental disability services. The Governor claims that, “these actions generate $500 million of savings, including $180 million from accelerating Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) initiatives and delaying investments, leveraging $200 million in current-year under spending to generate 2013-14 savings, and $120 million from a 6 percent reduction to OPWDD Medicaid rates for not-for-profit providers.”

Providers are concerned that budget cuts may reduce the level of care provided to their clients. In addition to budget cuts, providers are concerned that the MRT may include acceleration to a managed care model.

According to the New York Nonprofit Press, NYS Budget Director Robert Megna raised the possibility that the State might consider accelerating the enrollment into managed care of current specialized, high-needs Medicaid populations which are currently carved out of care. “We might have to increase the speed of getting people into managed care,” he said.

These proposed budget changes and probable acceleration to a managed care model highlight the need for providers to evaluate changes to their care. Several States, such as Wisconsin and Mississippi have already transitioned to a managed care model.

Successful providers have integrated technology into their care model. This allows them to maintain a high level of care despite budgetary constraints and do more with less. Focusing on providing staff when needed instead of “just in case” as well as supporting the consumers in developing the skills for more independent  living have been key components of a productive business model.

If the cuts or some percentage of the cuts are enacted in New York adjustments to care models as well as requirements from the state will need to be evaluated for both quality and efficiency.



Our Mission

This blog has been created to discuss the available technologies that can help support the goal of client independence. Blogs will be posted describing specific products, highlight there characteristics, uses, and perceived strengths and weaknesses.

The goal is to help organizations and individuals understand the options available to them as they integrate technology into the care they provide. We will focus on solutions that are practical and cost effective.  The blog will not attempt to be a technical review. The hope is that the users of the technology will provide feedback to the blog and add additional insight.

We will not focus on electronic medical records or tele-medicine as those are two enormous categories that deserve their own space.

We hope that the readers will find the blog informative, and use it as a framework for making decisions that are in the best interest of their clients and family members.

Should you wish to contact us we are happy to answer questions and provide referrals.