According to HealthXL US healthcare costs dedicated for the over 65’s is 34% of total spend but over the last 2.5 years the investment in digital health for this same group is only 2.6% of the total.

How can this be? Are innovators maybe looking elsewhere? Or is it that the apps they are developing are not getting enough traction for big investment?

Dr Leslie Kernisan writes a blog on technology for improving geriatric care and has recently written a book which gives us some pointers. Arguing that ageing adults should be the biggest market for digital health she devotes an entire chapter to why digital health tools are not working for the elderly. One key underlying theme is that it is enough to focus on the patient alone since the elderly require the assistance of caregivers and health professionals. Each of these has different needs and interests, all of which need to be brought together to make an app successful.

One of our products at Intelesant is a connected COPD app so I read Dr Kernisan’s comments on this disease particularly carefully. She makes a strong case for apps that can cover multiple long term conditions rather than expecting patients and carers to use one for each.

I know at first hand how difficult it is to build apps for the elderly and Dr Kernisan’s book is essential reading for anyone working in this field.