Experts and caregivers use InTouch Health's remote presence robot in state-to-state validation

Santa Barbara 16 June 2003InTouch Health Inc., specialised in remote presence technology for health care providers, and Silverado Senior Living, a speciality Alzheimer's care provider, have organised an expanded collaborative effort to evaluate the InTouch Health "Companion", a new mobile robot system. When used in a long term care community, the Companion enables remote health care experts to "virtually" consult with caregivers, residents and family members at the point of care, whenever they are needed, forever changing the level of expertise available in long term care. With the Companion, an expert can move, see, hear and talk in another location as though they are actually there.

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The Companion, developed by InTouch Health, is currently being used in Silverado Senior Living's second installation of the system at their Aspen Park location, a speciality Alzheimer's community in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Silverado's corporate health care experts, based approximately 700 miles away in San Juan Capistrano, California, are conducting tests with the Companion to evaluate the feasibility of using the robot to provide remote training, coaching, and quality assurance into the Aspen Park community, and ultimately to their other speciality Alzheimer's communities across California, Utah and Texas. Silverado is the world's first long term care provider to use the new technology for improving the quality of care delivered to seniors. Testing of the Companion at Silverado Senior Living in Calabasas, California, began in January.

The Companion instantly brings specialised areas of staff training, coaching, consulting and monitoring into multiple care facilities, offering improved management of the most challenging care issues for staff, residents and their families. This capability for experts to be virtually present at any facility on a moment's notice re-shapes the economics and potential for quality of care. The Companion serves to multiply the presence of experts while simultaneously lowering health care costs.

Yulun Wang, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of InTouch Health, stated: "As a provider of long term speciality Alzheimer's care services, Silverado Senior Living is uniquely qualified to collaborate on the evaluation of the Companion across multiple locations." Dr. Wang continued: "Silverado is well aware of the impending demographic crisis in health care and is looking to InTouch Health's technology as a solution that will be cost-effective, easy to use, and will maintain and extend Silverado's high standard for caregivers and the seniors who they support."

Loren B. Shook, president and CEO of Silverado Senior Living, commented: "We are pleased to extend our role as the world's first long term care provider to assess InTouch Health's new and innovative technology, in our second stage of testing, to improve the quality of care delivered to seniors. Installation of the InTouch Health Companion at our Aspen Park community demonstrates how we will be able to extend our health care expertise instantly when and where we need it across all of our communities, and further improve our best of class training programme for caregivers, which we have long recognised to be the basis of high quality care."

Stephen F. Winner, vice president and chief of culture for Silverado Senior Living, and a nationally recognised authority in long term Alzheimer's care services, added: "Our corporate team of experts has been conducting tests of the robot's capabilities since January. I have routinely used the system to coach staff in various Silverado designed programmes while our vice president of clinical services was immediately able to help our Calabasas team assess challenging clinical cases. We continue to identify great applications for this technology which now, with the Aspen Park installation, adds real value to even more of our communities."

There is a demographic crisis in health care. Over the next 10 years the number of elderly age 85 and over will grow 38 percent. The number of seniors requiring health care support will double. Already today there are over 400.000 unfilled nursing positions causing health care providers across the country to close wings or risk negative outcomes. Over the coming years, the declining ratio of working age adults to elderly will further exacerbate the shortage. In 1950 there were 8 adults available to support each elder 65+, today the ratio is 5:1 and by 2020 the ratio will drop to 3 working age adults per elder person.

Silverado Senior Living Inc. is a nationally recognised expert in providing specialised care for those with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Vascular and other memory impairment diseases. Silverado has a number of research affiliations with leaders in the field of Alzheimer's disease including the University of California at San Diego, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Southern California, University of Utah, and most recently with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Silverado Senior Living Inc. was founded in 1996. Silverado currently operates 12 communities in California, Utah and Texas, providing specialised long term, short term and day services.

InTouch Health Inc. is a privately held development stage company founded by medical robotics pioneer Yulun Wang, Ph.D. InTouch Health provides technology solutions which dramatically increase the effectiveness of health care professionals. The company is addressing the impending demographic crisis in senior care support by pioneering the use of remote presence in health care with its "Companion" system.

Through a proprietary communications and mobile robotic platform, caregiving experts are projected to another setting where a patient or caregiver is located to provide care, coach and train staff, or monitor health care services. The InTouch Health solution leverages the time and expertise of health care professionals across multiple care facilities, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of care delivery. More news about the InTouch Health and Silverado partnership is available in the VMW March 2003 article InTouch Health and Silverado Senior Living start clinical testing of remote presence robot Companion.


Leslie Versweyveld

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