In situ monitoring of health in older adults: Technologies and issues

Hyun Gu Kang, Diane F. Mahoney, Helen Hoenig, Victor A. Hirth, Paolo Bonato, Ihab Hajjar, Lewis A. Lipsitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


With the upcoming reform of the healthcare system and the greater emphasis on care in the home and other living environments, geriatric providers will need alternate ways of monitoring disease, activity, response to therapy, and patient safety. Current understanding of the dynamic nature of chronic illnesses, their effects on health over time, and the ability to manage them in the community are limited to measuring a set of variables at discrete points in time, which does not account for the dynamic interactions between physiological systems and the environments of daily life. Recent developments of sensors, data recorders, and communication networks allow the unprecedented measurements of physiological and sociological data for use in geriatrics care. This article identifies and discusses the important issues regarding the use of monitoring technologies in elderly patients. The goals are fourfold. First, some emerging technology that may improve the lives of older adults and improve care are highlighted. Second, the possible applications of technology in geriatrics settings are discussed, with a focus on acute falls, dementia, and cardiac conditions. Third, real and perceived concerns in using monitoring technology are identified and addressed, including technology adoption by elderly people; stigma; and the reduction in social contact; ethical concerns of privacy, autonomy, and consent; concerns of clinicians, including information overload, licensure, and liability; current reimbursement schemes for using technology; and the reliability and infrastructure needed for monitoring technology. Fourth, future approaches to make monitoring technology useful and available in geriatrics are recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1579-1586
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • ethics
  • gerontechnology
  • monitoring
  • telehealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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