Blog

Kwido Mementia: digital platform for elderly cognitive stimulation

June 27, 2014

The elderly care platform Kwido continues to grow, seeking the best support and developing new solutions to improve the daily lives of our seniors. On this occasion, we are proud to present Mementia, a cognitive stimulation tool which offers psychologists and therapists a broad range of possibilities through a methodology designed specifically for them.

Kwido Mementia has been developed jointly by technological experts, Ideable Solutions, and specialists in cognitive rehabilitation, Cognitiva Unidad de Memoria, with whom we share a long-term collaborative relationship. The latest product of this collaboration is a multi-device platform which provides memory workshops, such as that of Cognitiva, with a multimedia environment to help reinforce therapies and improve adherence to treatment. So, whether via tablet, touch screen or digital whiteboard, elderly users can carry out individually designed training exercises, whilst professionals can monitor data to evaluate performance, keep users informed and notify relatives of their progress.

The principal characteristics of Mementia, focused on professional use, are:

  • Customization for each elderly user, with individual cognitive level, exercise complexity, objectives and specific games itinerary.
  • 48 activities installed, with 8,000 exercises to work on skills such as memory, calculus, executive functions, language, orientation and attention.
  • Tool for psychologists and therapists to create their own games.
  • Compatibility with multiple devices.
  • Real-time information on variables such as, amongst others, general cognitive index, emotional state or self-assessment.

This development is a step forward for the Kwido platform as an essential solution for daycare centres and elderly care homes of the future, as well for seniors, who can play with the different options available, from the comfort of their own homes or in centres, enabling them to maintain cognitive capacity in a fun way. What is more, it constitutes a technological leap, which covers a broad range of devices, from computers to Android tablets, iPads to Windows whiteboards or touch screens, to name but a few.

With Mementia, we are stepping up to meet the specific needs of people with mild to moderate cognitive impairment, age-related memory problems or brain damage; but also of those who prefer to prevent neurodegeneration and maintain their mental abilities.

 

Suzanne Hasler

Kwido’s new telephonic telecare awarded

June 17, 2014

Kwido is an elderly care platform via tablet, with which a diverse range of activities can be performed thanks to the tools it incorporates. As we have informed on a number of occasions, among its many functions, Kwido enables the user to keep track of medicines, carry out cognitive stimulation exercises through games, and monitor their state of health, both remotely or via videocalls, in order to maintain direct contact with doctors, relatives or carers.

The development of the platform is ongoing and whilst we continuously update the resources available, we also incorporate more tools according to the needs identified among users and the requests from health professionals using Kwido in their daily front line care work. This continuous improvement and constant search for innovative solutions sets the path we follow each day.

Once again, as so many times before, we came across a new problem to solve: What if the elderly user has no tablet? What if the carer has a tablet and needs to know the patient’s state of health? And if there is a major alert?

On the 6th and 7th June, at the TADHack 2014 event, held in Madrid, we tried to resolve these issues as part of their hackathon. So, by using API REST by Tropo, the platform is now able to make telephone calls to landlines or mobiles automatically if an incident occurs, meaning Kwido doesn’t require the elderly user to have a tablet. However, if they do own one, it can supplement its functions. Hence, when there is a warning that the tablet isn’t working, a reminder or medication alert to be delivered, a programme is executed which communicates the corresponding alert to the patient in a telephonic voice message via landline. With this resource, it is even possible to call the patient back to ask some questions and if there is no answer or an incorrect response is given, the application itself will call another person to inform them and send a notification to Kwido’s servers to register the event.

This breakthrough will make the platform much more complete but above all, it will enable even greater care of our elderly users and improve the efficiency of work carried out by healthcare professionals. With the development of this technology in Kwido, very useful tools can be included, with which it will be possible to generate voice messages via text commands, choosing from 24 different languages and even the type of voice in which you want the message to be sent. It will also be possible to send and receive SMS messages, transcribe and record voice messages, voice recognition, music playback and the ability to transfer calls or create conferences.

Ideable Solutions received the award, from the company Tropo, for Kwido’s telephonic telecare solution. The event, unmissable for telecommunications professionals, was attended by prestigious companies such as Huawei, Ubuntu, Oracle, Google or Tropo itself, amongst others; which only serves to multiply the value of this recognition.

tadhack

We thank both the organization and the sponsors for the chance to show  our progress in elderly care thanks to Kwido, as well as the attendees for their inspiration and collaboration. In particular, we would like to express our gratitude to Tropo, the company which in addition to awarding us for the development of this new form of communicating alerts on our platform, continues to invest in revolutionary technology to supply the world with new communication solutions. 

Suzanne Hasler

Telemedicine or telecare?

May 14, 2014

Recently, we dedicated a space on this blog to trying to understand the differences between telecare and advanced telecare, two buzzwords which are occasionally confused. Something similar happens with today’s topic of discussion: the difference between telemedicine and telecare. 

The development of the Internet has led to a breakthrough in the use of these techniques, which have been boosted further by the mobile revolution. Consequently, actions which previously required the intensive use of resources and time, can now be carried out more simply; saving resources, improving work efficiency and, most importantly, increasing the quality of service provision and avoiding unnecessary hospital visits.

The common use of the terms telehealth and telecare interchangeably in English, causes constant misunderstandings in other languages, which we will try to minimize:

  • Telemedicine is simply the provision of medical services remotely, thanks to the use of technology. This definition covers a number of activities, ranging from telephonic consultations with medical professionals, to the most complex surgical operations with remote-controlled robots.
  • Telecare, on the other hand, shares the attribute of using technology to provide treatment remotely, but has a somewhat broader approach. Telecare refers to activities related to the field of geriatrics, and not just medicine, with a marked preventative and follow-up element.

Thus, both terms are closely related, since they both depend heavily on the use of information and communication technologies. Moreover, beyond mere terminology, telemedicine and telecare should work together, complementing each other to maximize the efficiency of both systems.

Fundamentally, the ultimate objective of people’s wellbeing is shared, with both systems working together to promote personal independence among the elderly, improved quality of life for chronic patients and a more efficient healthcare system.

Suzanne Hasler

Mobile Health: benefits for the patient and savings for the system

May 5, 2014

The arrival of mobile technology has brought about an authentic revolution, both in terms of how we communicate and obtain information; completely changing our habits in many areas of our lives. One such alteration has been our relationship with the healthcare system, and even with our own current and potential illnesses.

After years of development in this area, the healthcare system is finally bowing to the evidence; adopting these technologies to take efficiency and quality of service to another level. This would have been unthinkable with the tools of the past, particularly in the current climate of economic crisis and changing demographics. More importantly, more and more patients are benefiting from the advantages of using mobile technology regularly.

Among the many benefits, which can vary according to the particularities of each case, patients enjoy two fundamental advantages of using what is known as mHealth or mobile health. Firstly, they are able to access relevant information about their current state or illness as and when required. This has a direct impact on patient safety, adherence to treatment, independence, and trust in healthcare professionals.   

The second main advantage for users is communication at any time and place; not only with those in charge of their welfare, such as healthcare professionals, but also with other patients in a similar situation. The importance of direct communication with healthcare professionals is evident, but contact with other users can also prove very helpful. Indeed, sharing experiences, being part of a group and the feeling that you are not fighting an illness alone, have a very positive effect on the treatment outcome.  

However, it is not all about reducing hospital admissions or increasing prevention. These factors help develop patient empowerment, which allows people to become aware of their own state of health, in turn reinforcing treatment success. What is more, it represents a great opportunity for the healthcare system; something which for years has been regarded as a separate entity from citizens. Thus, the possibility of interactively generating ideas for improvement, patients being aware of their rights and able to express what they like or not; advancing trends through studies carried out with the totality of users; all constitute the prelude to the ultimate democratization of the healthcare system. The result will be a system that can use all of this knowledge and evaluate the services it provides, to improve its efficiency without increasing costs. 

Recently, the European Commission has joined this revolution. From now until July, it will carry out a public consultation to gather ideas about how to boost the mobile health sector and improve its security, with the objective of moving towards a modern, efficient and sustainable healthcare system. It is estimated that by deploying the full potential of mobile health applications, healthcare costs in the EU could be cut by 99.000 million Euros by 2017. Aware of the expansion of smartphones and other mobile devices, from Brussels they wish to define the standards which must guarantee information security, reliability concerning health issues and application performance.

Mobile Health is making way for improved healthcare thanks to technology, the knowledge of healthcare professionals and the collaboration of users themselves. We cannot let the opportunity to maximize its benefits pass us by.

Suzanne Hasler

Experience is a degree (II)

April 16, 2014

Defending the value of experience and the need for all-encompassing social inclusion, we recently published an article in an effort to recognize the importance of our seniors in the development of our society. Without repeating all the pros, both those on a personal and a wider societal level, we believe it is vital that these benefits are shared for the better functioning of society as a whole, including those generally unaffected areas, such as the economy. 

In the development of this perspective, it became apparent that different actions are required to achieve the full inclusion of seniors in everyday life (these will be discussed further in a forthcoming post). Today, this has much to do with closing the digital divide, but is also related to a much more profound and enduring element: our own views.

Serious comments along the lines of “the elderly are using up all the resources we generate”, or even jokes about pensioners watching the activity on building sites,  encourage a way of viewing our seniors that does not correspond with reality and leave an impression over time. Whilst we do not believe this is the majority opinion, it is damaging all the same. Therefore, it is necessary to break down these myths about old-age and, above all, give a voice to those who have much to say, yet are so often muted.

An effective way to fight these views, which attack social values, is to break down stereotypes. Here, we are not just talking about certain language or myths, which are easier to topple with more positive references or simple reasoning. The underlying problem is that there are more vulgar stereotypes that are often referred to in banter, but which, nonetheless, make a mockery of the elderly and, in the worst case, affect how we see this sector of the population. Thus, beyond the jokes, we reach more serious scenarios, such as a healthcare system that does not have the means to detect the symptoms of dementia in patients under the age of 65, because they associate this condition with older patients, as explained in this interesting document.

It is not obsession, it is conviction. Therefore, far from limiting ourselves to the (important) task of diffusing this message, we take action on a daily basis, seeking to improve our platform, which is destined to better seniors’ quality of life from a health point of view, but without forgetting the important role of leisure, communication and social participation. However, it is the responsibility of everyone, which is why we will soon show some examples which set us on the right path to a society which recognizes that “experience really is a degree”.

Javier Garcia