A team of SAP employees has come up with a solution that enables senior citizens to live healthier, more autonomous lives thanks to the power of data and connected technologies.
Both elder care and long-term care are rapidly becoming some of the greatest challenges for healthcare systems. The population aged 65 years or older is growing faster than all other age groups. Studies show that one in six (16 percent) people worldwide will be over 65 in 2050 compared to the one in 11 (9 percent) from 2019.
“With people living longer, the need for elder care has gone up, but the supply side isn’t catering to the demand,” says Abhinav Singhal. “In a lot of countries, the system is at the brink of collapse, putting lives at risk.”
Singhal is the project leader of “Digital Aged Care,” one of eight finalists of the 2019 Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award. The team is currently developing a solution that predicts health risks, mobilizes caregivers, provide visibility to families, and enables independence for the elderly.
The Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award is the highest employee
recognition at SAP, awarded annually by the co-CEOs to an
individual or a team.
Born and raised in India, Singhal has lived and worked in different countries for most of his career. With thousands of miles between his parents’ home in India and his in Sydney, he knows the uneasy feeling of not always knowing how his parents are doing. It is a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly prevalent in our mobile world.
When the SAP One Billion Lives program was looking for new ideas in 2017, Singhal saw his chance.
One challenge the team faced at an early stage was finding support for product development. “That is why we reached out to colleagues from various SAP Labs organizations across SAP, interns from universities, and fellows and scholars inside SAP,” Singhal shares. Help also came from colleagues in Germany, Ireland, Japan, and the U.S., bringing an extended team to around 20 people.
“At first, I was purely motivated to support seniors like my dad,” says Grace, who got on board at the beginning. “Two-and-a-half years later, much of my motivation comes from working with the incredible people in our little global team. People who haven’t met in person are working tirelessly for a goal outside of their day jobs. And because we are building innovative tech, it is absolutely thrilling.”
Support also came from some unexpected sources. Ken Wyatt, then Australian Federal Minister of Aged Care, opened some crucial doors for them in the industry. The team also secured funding from the University of New South Wales. And talking to older people in their own families and the families of friends offered significant insights into the consumer behavior and psyche.
The team then developed a pilot that combines multiple data sources in a single application so that care providers can check the well-being of their elderly clients on a dashboard view.
Connecting Data for the Full Picture of Elder Care
“You already have a lot of solutions in the market, but it’s about linking the data and putting it in the hands of a care expert,” Singhal says. Sharing this data with the client’s family also provides peace of mind.
Sensors in homes and wearable devices monitor daily activity patterns and gather biometric data like heart rate and blood pressure. Caregivers get an even fuller picture by combining the data with survey tools from Qualtrics that measure how the elderly clients are feeling. These tools provide insights and analytics for detecting the onset of health ailments like depression or dementia or scenarios requiring urgent attention such as falls.
“Our goal is to help people continue living wherever they call home with dignity and maintaining their independence,” Singhal says. Pilots are already running in India and Australia, and Japan is about to start. The feedback from nursing homes and homecare providers has been overwhelmingly positive according to Singhal. “Everybody we have spoken to has been interested in what we’re doing.”
Finalist Fast Facts
- Submission Title: Digital Aged Care – Living Longer, Healthier and Happier!
- Team:Simon Grace, Puneet Gupta, Gopal Anand, M Ramya Ravishankar, Manu Gupta, Utsav Banatwala, Oliver Zimmerman, Rituraj Sambherao, Abhinav Singhal, Leon Ren
- Board area: Global Customer Operations
- Achievement: A solution that enables senior care providers to predict risk, mobilize carers, share visibility with the family and give independence to elderly people across the globe. This is achieved by applying intelligence and automated workflows on IoT and experience insights.
- Impact: The project represents significant social as well as commercial value. The product helps older people to live longer at home where it is much cheaper to care for them. Care providers are given more time for personalized care. The solution also provides enhanced peace of mind for the families.