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Social Machines: How to Develop Connected Products That Change Customers' Lives by Peter Semmelhack

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Chapter 20

Health and Wellness

I mentioned in Part I that I have personally spent time focusing on how health issues can be addressed in new ways, not so much with technology, but with a community approach to care and support. I’ve come to call it “people taking care of people,” or finding ways and methods to help us take better care of one another. My belief is that big health-related companies—insurance, pharma, hospitals—will continue to play a vital role. But in the same way that sites such as PatientsLikeMe (patientslikeme.com) are finding ways to use the Internet to connect people with similar conditions so that they can share knowledge and experiences, there is a mountain of innovation waiting to happen by sharing other types of information as well.

This scenario is based on work we did a couple years ago that revolved around helping companies that focus on elder care provide a higher standard of attention and quality of service. The solution was based on connected devices of various sorts, which I describe next, and a back-end server that kept track of it all, providing reports, analyses, and other relevant content useful for managing and operating an elder care facility. What was not explored at the time was the power of social networking in helping improve care. I will add how it could have dramatically altered, for the better, various aspects of the project and improved the outcome.

Elder care facilities have many configurations, but the one we worked on was composed ...

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