On Wednesday, February 20, 2013, the City of Mountain View’s Senior Advisory Committee (SAC) voted to affirm the value and potential for positive impact of linkAges, a pilot program being launched in Mountain View. Developed by the Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, linkAges™ is an innovative community-based network to support successful aging.
Since the SAC was formed in 2009, the group has served in an advisory role to the City Council on senior issues and the operation of the Mountain View Senior Center. The SAC’s seven-member group knows the issues and needs of Mountain View’s older residents, making their endorsement of a new successful aging pilot program all the more significant.
Recently, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s (PAMF) Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation launched a novel platform to support successful aging in place: linkAges™. PAMF’s Paul Tang, M.D., vice president and chief innovation and technology officer, and his team selected Mountain View as the ideal place to introduce and pilot linkAges because this city is a model of diversity in ages, cultures and incomes and it has demonstrated its priority of supporting healthy aging. Mountain View also has engaged, collaborative senior services where technology is a familiar tool in daily life.
“We created linkAges to address a very real problem,” Dr. Tang said. “Quality of life and social health are key determinants of health. The next-generation health system must reinvent itself as a community health partner, not just a sick-care delivery system. linkAges is PAMF’s iteration of that vital reinvention.”
linkAges is an inter-generational network to engage and activate communities to improve the health and wellbeing of seniors and support aging in place. linkAges disrupts the traditional business model of fee-for-service sick care delivery and address social determinants of health external to today’s health care delivery systems.
“It takes a village to successfully nurture healthy aging in place. linkAges is designed as a deployable, replicable and scalable network. We anticipate that its impact in supporting aging in place will begin inMountain Viewand will eventually expand to many more diverse communities,” said Dr. Tang.
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s linkAges program addresses key health impacts for seniors by reducing social isolation. linkAges is a technology platform that is made available to community members through partnerships with nonprofits, neighborhood associations, faith-based communities and local businesses. linkAges members will get access to vital supports and resources that exist both with residents and organizations within the community. They will also benefit from opportunities to contribute back and increase their own community engagement through increased community connections.
The linkAges TimeBank is a key component of the linkAges platform. Its goal is to establish an intergenerational safety net of connections where all members of a community – caregivers, seniors, students and others – can exchange know-how and skills to fill their everyday needs and explore new possibilities for activities, learning or pursuing interests.
As Chair of the Mountain View Senior Advisory Committee, Pamela Conlon-Sandhu, RN, is one of the advocates for Mountain View’s role in this pilot program.
“The linkAges program strives to support seniors in our community by utilizing creative new technology approaches. I am looking forward to utilizing this new program to help our senior community,” said Conlon-Sandhu.
“The vision and platform of linkAges fits perfectly with our City’s desire to support and enhance senior outreach and engagement,” said Elna Tymes, the SAC representative on the linkAges Advisory Council. “This pilot program is endorsed by Mountain View’s Senior Advisory Committee because it is an exciting opportunity to explore and create programs that help seniors stay healthy and active.”
Attend a linkAges “Preview” Session
The PAMF Innovation Center linkAges program is offering a series of “sneak peeks” and community orientations to introduce Mountain View residents to the linkAges platform and offer people an opportunity to register. Upcoming dates are March 14, March 28 and April 3.
To learn more, and to schedule a local TimeBank orientation session for your neighborhood, community group or business email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 650-691‐6267.
News on event dates for the community orientations will also be shared via the Mountain View Voice and Mountain View Patch, as well as Senior Center newsletters and promotions.
Most aging adults want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible, but many lack knowledge of programs and services that support extended independent living. To help with the successful aging process, on Saturday, February 9, 2013, the Mountain View Senior Advisory Council is hosting its second annual Aging in Place conference at the Mountain View Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The one-day event is geared toward seniors, their families and caregivers, and baby-boomers, and is sponsored by the City of Mountain View’s Senior Advisory Committee and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s (PAMF) Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation.
At this event, PAMF’s Paul Tang, M.D., vice president and chief innovation and technology officer, will introduce linkAges™, the Innovation Center’s successful aging program. PAMF’s Innovation Center team has selected the city of Mountain View as the place to launch the pilot program for linkAges™.
“We created linkAges to address a very real problem,” Dr. Tang explains. “America faces an unprecedented demographic shift that forces the health care industry to rethink how we address the needs of older adults. Quality of life and social health are key determinants of health. The next-generation health system must reinvent itself as a community health partner, not just a sick-care delivery system. linkAges is PAMF’s iteration of that vital reinvention.”
linkAges is creating an inter-generational network to engage and activate communities to improve the health and wellbeing of seniors and support aging in place. linkAges disrupts the traditional business model of fee-for-service sick care delivery and addresses social determinants of health external to today’s health care delivery systems.
“Mountain View is an ideal city in which to develop this program because it already has engaged, collaborative senior services, residents are diverse in age and culture, and it is in the heart of the Silicon Valley where technology is a familiar tool in daily life,” Dr. Tang said.
“It takes a village to successfully nurture healthy aging in place. PAMF’s linkAges platform can be that village. Mountain View’s Aging in Place event is completely aligned with linkAges’ goals to connect today’s and tomorrow’s seniors in a supportive network. linkAges is designed as a deployable, replicable and scalable network, and we anticipate its impact in supporting aging in place in diverse communities, will be significant.”
As many as 200 attendees are expected at the February 9 event. Nearly 20 vendors are slated to attend and share free information on a variety of services relevant to seniors’ lives, including recreation, health and exercise, nutrition, genealogy and more.
“We are reaching out to seniors to offer free information on how to successfully stay in your own home and community for as long as possible,” said Nanci Cooper, eldercare expert and member of the Mountain View Senior Advisory Board. “We’ll provide attendees with high-quality, 40-minute seminars on an array of topics focused on aging in place.”
A partial list of the workshop topics includes:
- ObamaCare and the new Medicare options
- Senior-proofing your home
- Stroke prevention
- Senior nutrition
- Help for family caregivers
There is day-of registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. For more event information, contact Senior Advisory Committee Member Elna Tymes at 650-969-6650 or email@example.com.
As generations age, how do different countries and cultures plan and provide for them? Information and ideas about senior support and preventing social isolation spanned the Atlantic when a group of 12 health care leaders from Denmark spent the afternoon at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation on October 10, 2012.
Danish and American physicians, executives and directors from large health systems, government, universities, senior centers, hospitals and hospices joined for the four-hour exchange at the Innovation Center. The goal of the visit was to share knowledge of and opinions about the diverse challenges of aging populations in Denmark and the United States. From the many dynamic conversations underway at any given time, it appeared that that goal was met or exceeded.
Paul Tang, M.D., vice president and chief innovation and technology officer for PAMF’s Innovation Center presented on the health care system in the United States, including the changes required to adapt for the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and accommodate the needs of the enormous and growing aging population.
“Already about 13 percent of the U.S. population are seniors, the vast majority of whom are covered by Medicare,” Dr. Tang said. “The U.S. faces several challenges somewhat unique in the world: a fee-for-service care delivery model, the lack of universal health care, and health information systems that are not connected or, in some places, nonexistent.”
“In Denmark, 16 percent of our people are 65 or older,” explained Mikkel Bülow Skovborg, Research Attaché, Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education, outlined the health care system and focus on care for the elderly in Denmark. “We have a highly structured and well-funded system to provide long-term care at home for our elders. We haven’t built a nursing home in our country since 1987.”
Comparing Senior Support in the United States and Denmark
In Denmark, a high percentage of the gross domestic product is spent on social services and a lower percentage on health care. All health care policies are set on a national level but are implementing regionally via hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers and other health service centers. The municipal level tends to home care and preventive care services. Because of this comprehensive system, people rarely if ever “fall through the cracks.” There is a continuum of care with coordinated services.
Danish seniors have access to a wide range of services provided at the local, regional and national level, by people whose specific job it is to care for the elderly and support their ability to live in the community. A number of meeting attendees, however, observed that the high-level benefits, free at the point of delivery, may create a level of dependence on the system that enables families to “check-out” of their important caregiver roles. This relates particularly to their role in providing emotional support, the absence of which may contribute to isolation.
By contrast, the United States spends a low percentage of its gross domestic product on social services and a high percentage is spent on health care. The burden of care is on the family, not the government – basically, a private sector approach in which every person or family must research available options. The system is more fragmented, with some communities and cultures more adapted to solutions for elder care than others.
The attendees were divided into several groups, each of which discussed a different query and then reported out to the entire group at the end of the afternoon. Lively, engaging discussions covered these questions:
- What are the drivers of isolation?
- How does isolation impact aging?
- Who has the responsibility for tackling social isolation of seniors?
- What solutions to social isolation are being implemented?
- What are your “dream” solutions?
The discussions yielded a variety of perspectives and suggestions for the need to:
- Reduce health care and senior care costs. For example, in the United Stages, five percent of the people use 50 percent of the care.
- Reduce hospitalizations through overall improved health
- Become more community-centered, with more multigenerational composition, and nurture the spirit of volunteerism
- Improve transportation systems that effectively alleviate isolation, and use IT systems that support natural human interfaces
- Focus on seniors as people, not patients
- Embrace and support advanced care planning, beginning at an earlier age
“Seniors seek to maintain their independence and to live out their lives in the community,” Dr. Tang said. “We are committed to keep the dialog about successful aging going.”
Learn more about the Innovation Center at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Contingent to Explore Successful Aging Ideas
On Wednesday, October 10, 2012, from noon to 5 p.m., the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation is hosting a delegation of 15 leaders from Denmark who work in diverse capacities to address current challenges in health care, particularly with issues relevant to aging. Attendees include C-level executives and directors from large health systems, universities and private corporations in Denmark.
The focus of the visit is to exchange information and knowledge around challenges related to aging, from the diverse perspectives and approaches of Denmark and the United States.
The population of Denmark is 5.5 million, comparable to the San Francisco Bay Area’s more than six million residents (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties). Life expectancy for women is 81 years and men 77 years. According to the United States Census Bureau, American life expectancy is only slightly lower: women averaging 80 years and men 75 years.
“We feel that advancing cross-cultural leadership engagement in exchanges of shared knowledge will allow us to broaden the scope of our thinking as we work to address the needs of our fast growing and increasingly vulnerable, older adult population,” said Paul Tang, M.D., vice president and chief innovation and technology officer for PAMF’s Innovation Center.
The event has the endorsement of Liz Kniss, Chair of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Scott Strickland, Kniss’ Senior Policy Analyst, will kick off the event with a welcome on her behalf.
After a meet-and-greet lunch, there will be a presentation by Mikkel Bülow Skovborg, Research Attaché, Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education, who will outline the health care system and focus on care for the elderly in Denmark.
Addressing elder care and aging in the United States will be PAMF’s Paul Tang, M.D, and Albert Chan, M.D., PAMF chief medical information officer, and medical director for the Innovation Center.
The speakers will introduce issues and potential solutions to social isolation among seniors, and then the group will break into teams for a series of workshops, culminating in a panel discussion to share the different perspectives.
Guests for this special gathering also include leaders from the public sector, other hospital systems, senior centers, foundations and nonprofits.
The David Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) is excited to announce the winners of its recent linkAges™ Developer Challenge, in conjunction with Health 2.0. The Developer Challenge is part of PAMF’s Successful Aging Initiative, which is creating a community-based ecosystem that will support seniors to live vibrant, independent lives in the community.
Today, the vast majority of the rapidly growing senior population in the United States express the desire to age independently, in place, in their homes and communities. However, many face an array of challenges to doing so, including increasingly complex health issues, social isolation, and difficulty accessing resources that support their ability to age in place.
PAMF’s innovative solution is to create an ecosystem, called linkAges, that interconnects seniors, caregivers, social services and professional healthcare teams, and provides tools that empower seniors and caregivers to gain access to resources specific to their personal context, goals and preferences.
The LinkAges Developer Challenge is focused on one of the linkAges ecosystem components, “signal detection.” Signal detection provides a means of unobtrusively tracking a senior’s health and well-being, with the capability of alerting caregivers or the professional healtcare team of potential health risks.
“We wanted to advance our signal detection capabilities of linkAges as quickly as possible,” said Paul Tang, M.D., chief innovation and technology officer for the Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation. “Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, we sought to harness the tremendous talents of the area’s innovative developers in the creation of these new capabilities. More than 75 developers spent an entire weekend in April 2012 working on the opportunity and presented us with 20 potential solutions. Several of these teams went on to develop prototypes during the next three months. From these applicants, we selected a winner to enter our accelerator to co-develop their prototype into a viable product to apply in a pilot linkAges community. We are delighted with the result of this partnership between a health care provider and a start-up technology innovator.”
Overall linkAges Developer Challenge Winner: Team Meter Made (Now incorporated as Vevity Inc.)
- Proposed and demonstrated a solution turning patterns of data from a variety of home monitoring devices into alerting intelligence on an individual’s status
Runner-up linkAges Developer Challenge Winner: Team Agility4Life
- Proposed and demonstrated a solution tracking walking speed, which can predict deteriorations in a senior’s well-being
PAMF’s David Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation is pleased to formally present Meter Made (Vevity Inc.) as the linkages Developer Challenge winner during the Health 2.0 Fall Conference in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, October 8 at 2:25 p.m. PDT.
Learn more about:
Executive Director Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
PAMF’s Dr. Paul Tang Member of the Institute of Medicine’s Learning Health Care System Committee
The increasing complexity and escalating costs of health care in the United States threaten the nation’s economic stability and undermine progress in improving Americans’ health. Medical care lags behind many other industries in its ability to meet needs, offer choice, and become safer and more affordable to those it serves.
On September, 6, 2012, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its latest report, Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America, which details ways to bring about better quality care at lower cost by harnessing existing knowledge and technologies. The report calls for a transformation of the health care system into one that continuously improves, and it describes the specific steps that should be taken by all participants — including care providers, hospital and clinic managers, health insurers, policymakers, clinical researchers, and patients and their families — to achieve this improved system.
“This report provides a framework for creating a health care delivery system in America that continuously learns and continuously improves. It leverages something America already does very well – innovation – and applies that to health care,” according to Paul Tang, M.D., M.S., internist and vice president, chief innovation and technology officer at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) and the PAMF Innovation Center.
Dr. Tang is an elected member of the IOM and has participated on a number of IOM studies, including a patient-safety study he chaired, which published two reports: Patient Safety: A New Standard for Care, and Key Capabilities of an Electronic Health Record System.