Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on 9-11. Volunteer today

Bits & Bytes

Most Popular


Technology Helps Patients Live Independently

New products from the Intel-GE joint venture promote aging in place

It's 10 a.m. and the device near Marilyn Yeats' bed stand begins to ring. It's a white box with a flip open touch screen, and every day it begins by asking Marilyn how she's feeling and whether she's taken her meds. She will feed the device her latest vital signs, including her weight and blood pressure. And then she'll answer a series of questions about her health. The device is the CareInnovations Guide. It is one of the first products from the joint health care venture formed by technology giants Intel and General Electric. Marilyn is one of two thousand congestive heart failure patients taking part in a trial by health care provider Humana Cares to help manage their chronic condition. All are living in their own homes.

See Also: Smartphone apps for aging in place.

Marilyn, who is a 78-year-old widow, not only suffers from congestive heart failure, but also a number of other heart related ailments. She thinks the pilot program is working.

Care Innovations™ Guide is a computer that connects patients and healthcare professionals remotely

Care Innovations Guide is a computer that connects patients and healthcare professionals remotely. — Photo courtesy of Intel Corporation.

"It lets me know if the medicine is doing the job and reports to my cardiologist ... I can tell if my day was really busy and sent the pressure up. It also uses a weight scale that measures by the 10ths of a pound. That lets you know how much water you gained. The last few days, I put on two pounds of water, so my cardiologist upped my Lasix (a common diuretic)." She adds, "It's like having your own nurse".

Keeping track of weight can be critical for congestive heart failure patients. Uncontrolled, it can lead to emergency room visits, hospitalization or worse. One major goal of the Humana Care program is to spot negative trends in time to head them off before they require those next steps. At the receiving end of Marilyn's data is Kate Marcus, who is not only a trained nurse, but also manages the trial program for Humana Cares. She explains, "The way that the data works is that Marilyn does her session, then the nurses access software which shows them whether there has been a threshold violation. If her blood pressure or weight is outside her parameters, then the nurse calls for an additional assessment to see if they need to call in a physician. Sometimes a member has stopped taking meds simply because they ran out of a prescription. The nurse is then able to work with the member's pharmacy and physician to get them back on meds. This gives nurses the opportunity to intervene earlier in cycle. By monitoring weight gain very regularly you can prevent a hospitalization. That's better for everyone."

Next: Other bells and whistles. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Social Networking

Step-by-step instructions on how to use some of the Web's most popular networking sites. Go


How to Use Your PC

Guides covering everything from setting up your desktop, to getting the most out of Excel. Go


Protect Your Digital Life

Keep your computer secure, your web surfing safe, and your inbox spam free with these tips. Go


Discounts & Benefits

Geek Squad Computing

Members save on Geek Squad services with Geek Squad® Tech Support & Guidance for AARP® Members.

AARP Discounts on ADT Companion Services

Members get 20% off NEW installation and activation of ADT® Personal Emergency Response System.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today


computer questions and tips

Computer Questions & Tips

Pick up some handy how-tos from this savvy group of techies. Discuss


Freebies Group

Favorite Websites & Freebies

Share your top sites for interesting information, helpful resources — and free stuff! Discuss