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Penn Collaborative to Test AI, RPM Technologies for Senior, Alzheimer's Care

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   January 11, 2022

Researchers from Penn Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing are joining forces on an NIH-funded project to improve care management at home for seniors and people living with Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers at Penn Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing are launching a study that will test the value of AI and remote patient monitoring technologies to improve care management for seniors and those living with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Penn Artificial Intelligence and Technology Collaboratory for Health Aging (PennAITech) is using a five-year, $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging to fund the project, one of many around the country focused on improving care management at home.

“Aging in place is a priority for most older Americans,” George Demiris, PhD, FACMI, a professor at both Penn Nursing’s Department of Behavioral Health Sciences and Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and one of the project’s leaders, said in a press release. “This goal can be challenged by chronic illness including Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias. We need innovative solutions that will help us detect risks, address disparities, support decision making and improve access to care.”

“The overarching goal of our Collaboratory is to facilitate the development and dissemination of such tools to help aging Americans live safely, in optimal health, and remain socially engaged,” he added. “To achieve this, we will develop and implement a national pilot project funding program for the development and evaluation of cutting-edge technology.”

That cutting-edge technology will include artificial intelligence platforms that draw and analyze data from digital health tools and the electronic health record, as well as remote patient monitoring and other technology that allow patients and their care providers to track health and wellness at home and incorporate on-demand communication and treatment.

The collaborative will “identify, develop, evaluate, commercialize, and disseminate innovative technology” that might be used to help seniors and those living with Alzheimer’s stay at home, rather than in an assisted living facility, and stay in touch with caregivers. It plans to launch several funded pilot projects.

“Penn is uniquely poised to serve as a research and innovation accelerator based on our expertise in geriatric medicine, aging, Alzheimer’s disease and biomedical informatics,” added Jason Karlawash, MD, co-director of the Penn Memory Center, associate director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Perelman and a professor of medicine, medical ethics and health policy and neurology, in the press release. “We aim to advance the development of effective solutions that will be used in the real world and ultimately improve the lives of older adults’ and their caregivers.”

Eric Wicklund is the Innovation and Technology Editor for HealthLeaders.

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