The White House Conference on Aging only happens once every ten years — and it’s happening tomorrow.
The program begins at 10 a.m. ET on Monday, July 13, and will be livestreamed: https://www.whitehouse.gov/live
I’ll be on a panel in the late afternoon talking about technology and the future of aging, directly after Tim Brown and Barbara Beskind discuss universal design. (Read this Wall Street Journal article about some of Beskind’s ideas.)
Time will be short, but here are three topics I’m hoping to cover:
- The value of having access to claims data through Medicare’s Blue Button program. Once someone has downloaded their data, they can check the accuracy of their health claims record, bring a copy along when traveling or getting a second opinion, and share it with trusted caregivers. This is just the beginning of what’s possible when we give people access to their data.
- Usability studies show that when websites are optimized for older users, young people navigate them more quickly and easily, too. How might we leverage this insight for other technology design projects? On a personal note, in the 1990s I used to bring my laptop over to my grandmother‘s house to watch her navigate any site that I was working on. She was a fantastic beta tester.
- We are a nation of makers. Let’s recognize, encourage, and learn from people who solve home health care problems in creative, low-tech ways. Let’s also bring cutting-edge tools like 3D printing and the manufacturing capabilities available at places like TechShops to the challenges we face as our nation ages.
To quote Secretary Sylvia Burwell:
“We need a cultural change in our view of aging that recognizes older adults bring experience and value to our communities that strengthen our society and can solve social problems.
In other words, it’s time to shift the conversation from one that assumes an aging population will overwhelm us to one that recognizes older adults as an asset to our country and celebrates their contributions to improve lives for all generations.”
There will be over 500 “watch parties” all over the country and the White House wants to include as many people in the conversation online as possible. Please join the conversation online by using the hashtag #WHCOA.
Here is the full agenda:
White House Conference on Aging
July 13, 2015
Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President
for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
Introduced by BERNARD NASH
Caregiving in America Panel
Moderator: DAVID HYDE PIERCE, Actor
SECRETARY ROBERT A. MCDONALD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
AI-JEN POO, Caring Across Generations
HARRY LEIDER, Walgreens
FRANK FERNANDEZ, BluePlus, BCBS Minnesota Foundation
BRITNEE FERGINS, Caregiver
SECRETARY SYLVIA MATTHEWS BURWELL
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
Introduced by VICKIE ELISA
Planning for Financial Security at Every Age Panel
Moderator: SECRETARY TOM PEREZ, U.S. Department of Labor
JEAN CHATZKY, AARP Financial Ambassador
VICKIE ELISA, Mothers’ Voices Georgia
ROBIN DIAMONTE, United Technologies Corporation
ANDY SIEG, Bank of America
Executive Director of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging
Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Armchair Conversation: Innovations in Aging
DJ PATIL, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
JOE COUGHLIN, MIT AgeLab
ANITA ROTH, Airbnb
SETH STERNBERG, Honor
Lightning Talk: Disrupting Aging
JO ANN JENKINS, AARP
Armchair Conversation: Nutrition and Aging
SECRETARY TOM VILSACK, U.S. Department of Agriculture
ELLIE HOLLANDER, Meals on Wheels
The Power of Intergenerational Connections and Healthy Aging Panel
Moderator: MICHAEL SMITH, WebMD
DIANA NYAD, Professional Athlete
VICE ADMIRAL VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. Surgeon General
MAYOR MATT HAYEK, Iowa City, IA
KEVIN WASHINGTON, YMCA
FERNANDO TORRES-GIL, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
Lightning Talk: Care for All
MARY KAY HENRY, SEIU
Introduced by MOLITA CUNNINGHAM
Empowering All Generations: Elder Justice in the Twenty-First Century Panel
Introduction: DIRECTOR RICHARD CORDRAY, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Moderator: KATHY GREENLEE, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
ELIZABETH LOEWY, Eversafe.com
LYNNE PERSON, Office of the D.C. Health Care Ombudsman
JAMES BAKER, International Association of Chiefs of Police
SCOTT DUESER, First Financial Bank
Armchair Conversation: Universal Design
STEPHANIE SANTOSO, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
TIM BROWN, IDEO
BARBARA BESKIND, IDEO
Technology and the Future of Aging Panel
Moderator: JEFF ZIENTS, National Economic Council
SUSANNAH FOX, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
RACHEL HOLT, Uber
TOM PARKINSON, Peapod LLC
CHARLES WALLACE, Michigan Technological University
LARRY RAFFONE, Financial Engines
DONNA LEVIN, Care.com
SECRETARY TOM PEREZ
U.S. Department of Labor
Dave Chase says
It’s great this event is taking place but it does make me wonder why it would only take place every 10 years but I digress. If you haven’t already gotten connected with the Green House movement that Dr. Bill Thomas is catalyzing, it’s a great program and I believe Bill is attending the event. Here’s their post about it – http://changingaging.org/blog/the-green-house-project-at-the-white-house-conference-of-aging/.
As you’ve pointed out with the Home Hacks, there should be a better way to share this info. Perhaps Code for America can be given a grant to make this happen. I’m sure you Rebecca Coelius and their work. I participated last month in a great open innovation event with the COPD Foundation (organized by Novartis). One of the cool things was seeing a diverse group (techies, non techies AND especially patients) come up with “home hacks” — it was one of the best received items. See more at https://www.copdfoundation.org/Crowdshaped/COPD-HomeHacks.aspx.
I’m certainly a believer in Blue Button but I’d love to see the President and/or Secretary use their bully pulpit to push for Open Notes as the default. The sooner it passes through the 3 stages of truth (ridiculed, violently opposed & accepted as fact), the better off we’ll all be. I love the work that group is doing and have been tracking it for awhile in light of its impact on engagement and outcomes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/davechase/2012/10/07/historic-day-in-opening-doctors-notes/.
I look forward to hearing how the event goes!
Can’t wait to read about this, esp hacks. Just tweeted a wheelchair access hack to you on twitter.
e-Patient Dave says
First: everything Chase said, yeah.
Second: above all, please please let’s do everything we can to put our health records in the hands of patients and caregivers. The IOM (now NAM) said back in 2012 that a cornerstone of the health system must be “patient-clinician partnerships” with “empowered, engaged patients,” and as Dr. Danny Sands has long said, “How can patients participate if they can’t see what I see?” (Or, in my wording in Let Patients Help, “People perform better if they’re informed better.” It’s perverse to keep us in the dark and then complain that we’re uninformed.
Third: I hope everyone who wants to think about the future of aging will look at three urgent things that changed my view in recent years, especially after I turned 65 myself this year:
1. Consider seriously the implications of Jon White MD’s 2013 post called “65” on the General Surgery News blog, documenting that half of all the humans who’ve ever been 65 are alive today. This is, clearly, unprecedented, so we need to think newly, like the people who created space flight.
Dr. White validated the idea through one line of fact-checking; I did too with a different approach, which my audiences respond well to:
– Today we have 3x more humans than at the end of WW II (7+ billion vs 2.3)
– When Social Security started, median US male life expectancy was 63.5. If that were still true, half my classmates would be dead. Not true by a long shot.
– Realization: it’s because medicine keeps saving us from dying! (I’m one of those.) As medicine gets better and better we can expect more and more of these.
2. This is visualized by Pew’s new book Next America, with its orange “animated beehive” graphic showing how our population pyramid is becoming a rectangle. I adapted that into a more dramatic version bit.ly/pewbeehives, which I use in my talks about aging.
3. Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal is essential reading. Aside from its discussion of the final decline (the “being mortal” aspect), I was surprised to see that non-miraculous interventions can easily prolong our good functioning at-home years:
So, for instance, simply reviewing the med list to see if any are not really needed – in light of any hazardous interactions – can help avert disaster.
As you know, a great example is the work of Eric Dishman and others at Intel to support safe aging at home, e.g. with smart carpets that can detect that feet are starting to shuffle. (See his talk at the first TEDMED, 2009.)
We perform better when we’re informed better. Liberate our data. Please.
e-Patient Dave says
As a short summary of the fall issue (and why staying home is so helpful), please take 90 seconds to watch this segment about one elder in Dishman’s TEDMED talk, starting here.
Lisa Gualtieri says
The conference sounds great, and best of luck with your presentation. I’d love to hear if aging in place is one of the topics covered. I am fascinated by how technology can be designed, redesigned, or repurposed to provide alerts and reminders. For example, the data available from the use of Fitbit, Withings, and other products can be used by adult children, caregivers, and clinicians to indicate when a person is not following daily routines. (This is one of the areas I am currently working on – non-intrusive monitoring while encouraging small increments in fitness using wearable activity trackers that are rarely used by or marketed to seniors).
wendy sue swanson says
This is exciting. It’s been a remarkable transition (with technology, in particular) this last decade — the ability to peek into records (for some), participate in care, learn from peers, and potentially extend life because of it. Supporting my mom as she ages is a huge part of my life and I’m hopeful to learn more and more about how she can navigate the health care space BETTER.
I so wish I could join the press corp in DC tomorrow and listen in to all of you. Best of luck and thank you for all you’re doing to help us understand how to do this better…
e-Patient Dave says
One more little mind pop that I’ve become aware of during my own illness and more recently my wife’s knee problems:
A wheelchair is basically an “elderstroller,” and we’re going to see lots of them around us. But when my granddaughter was born and I saw my daughter’s generation talking about strollers I realized: BOY the wheelchair industry hasn’t learned a think about options and “pimp my ride” from the stroller industry.
To clear this comment instantly I won’t put this in URLs but look at bobgear. com/ accessories and consider how much of that is available for wheelchairs. Not to mention the baskets above and below that some models have, which wheelchairs don’t.
From a marketer’s perspective this is predictable if you look at the “Pew beehive” demographic images – the industry hasn’t woken up yet. C’mon, industry! Zillions of us needy / self-loving boomers are waiting for you to suck up to us! If you don’t do it, someone in Europe will!
Susannah Fox says
Thank you, everyone, for the comments so far! I published this post and then went on an all-day road trip, not getting back home until late last night — and now I’m off to the first event of the day (a panel before a watch party at the Dept of Transportation).
But that’s the beautiful thing about the internet — and this blog: The conversation is never over. Let’s keep it going with observations & questions.
For example, here’s a must-read post, by Muriel Gillick, MD:
Get old? Who me?
And here’s a link to Catherine’s tweet about her home health hack:
Dave Chase says
ePD – I did a bit of googling to see what’s been done on reinventing the Elderstroller (aka wheelchair). Some amazingly creative ideas at http://www.lovethesepics.com/2012/09/35-wildly-wonderful-wheelchair-design-concepts/ (my personal fav is the one with the flamethrower 🙂 ).
Some more at http://www.damngeeky.com/2014/04/08/20029/best-wheelchair-innovations-that-bring-freedom-to-paraplegics.html. Google “wheelchair innovations” for more. I’m not sure the status of the market entry of these but one would sure think we’d see more of these. I suspect that we’ll see wounded warriors as early adopters and hopefully that will spread to all ages.
Susannah Fox says
Thanks again for the great comments heading into the event — an example of how this was a “flipped” conference in a lot of ways. The event itself was just one link in a chain and the online conversation was as important as what happened on stage.
I created a Storify of the tweets and articles I saw on Monday:
My colleagues at HHS also created one:
If you watched any of the livestream or online conversation, what were your impressions?
Leslie Kernisan, MD MPH says
Thanks Susannah for sparking this conversation about this important event. Agree w all the comments.
For those who are really interested in aging: a coalition of grantmakers funded the Frameworks Institute to study the way experts and the public view aging. The long-term goal is to help experts be more successful in bringing about the changes we need to support an aging society. Their first report, Gauging Aging, was released earlier this spring, and it is SUPER interesting. Here are some useful links:
PDF report can be accessed here
Webinar discussing the findings
Short video with regular people on the street talking about aging
As you all know, the words we use are important…they shape the narrative, the frames people use, how people feel about an issue, and so forth.
Lastly, it’s good to see that HHS has created aging.gov. Hope to see many of innovations described here reaching more older people soon.
Susannah Fox says
Thanks, Leslie! Great resources.
I’d love for us to keep building this conversation so we can come back to it when we need to renew our ideas, inspiration, commitment to understanding what we face as a country.
Since I didn’t get to say all that I’d hoped to say during my panel — our moderator chose to go with tweeted questions instead of the prepared ones — I wrote a post for the WHCOA blog:
The future of aging and technology
I wrote about data, connection, and invention. Here’s the bit about invention, which is going to be a focus of my time as CTO:
We are a nation of makers. I believe the U.S. can lead the world in inventing ways for older adults to age in place, with dignity. And the government can play a role in fostering this innovation.
For example, people living with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders often develop a hand tremor, which makes it difficult to keep food on a spoon or fork. Liftware, a company in California, has created a set of utensils that counteract a tremor and allows someone to feed themselves. The research that drives this technology was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to providing research grants, the federal government can convene and encourage communities of practice, such as the Health Datapalooza and the White House Maker Faire. And we can look for ways to lift barriers to innovation, which is what my team in the HHS IDEA Lab does, finding ways to hack red tape and help create programs like the NIH 3D Print Exchange, a platform for people to share templates, like the patterns you would use to sew a dress, but in this case it might be a template for printing a prosthetic hand or a model for a heart.