Smart solutions for ageing populations

Dutch healthcare innovator, Wil Philipsen, has come up with a solution that helps the elderly to remain independent and stay at home longer thereby reducing pressure on hospitals. Remote monitoring is a key technology in being able to help the elderly to avoid expensive and possibly traumatic hospital admissions.

Fresh Idea Factory

Philipsen's company, Fresh Idea Factory, has come up with a device called Obli that monitors a patient's liquid intake and helps to prevent dehydration. Around 10 percent of over-75s run a high risk of dehydration and in 6 percent of hospital admissions for over-65s dehydration is reported as the problem. The Obli is a sort of red-amber-green traffic-light that is placed onto a carton of water or other liquid. The colours prompt the patient to take a drink. When their balance is good, the indicator shows green and by amber they may take a drink and by red, the patient must drink and is reminded to top-up their levels. Should they ignore the red warning, or simply forget, then an electronic beep is emitted to prompt them to drink.

Potential for many customers

"There are similar apps on the market," admits Philipsen, "however, many elderly people don't have a smart-phone." Obli monitors the amount of liquids a patient consumes and transmits this via a web portal to the healthcare provider. Already, some 10 percent of healthcare providers have expressed an interest in the product when it comes to market later this year. A further 25 percent await pricing indications before deciding. There is a potential for many hundreds-of-thousands of customers in the European market alone.