Mar 29Liked by Mary Pat Campbell

To follow up: this post is one of the most informative and useful things I have ever read w/r/t actionable advice to help one's elderly friends and family. It's really, really useful and a Good Thing.

Don't mean to have my tangent take away from that. Well done.

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Thanks! Share the info!

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Dear Mary Pat,

My first question was, "Are increased deaths from falls just a function of a decrease in other causes of mortality?", but you have explored that thoroughly above.

Somewhat related, today, my boss heard that a cousin had suddenly died the day before - somebody only a few years older (~45-50) than him. Relevant because the man's either phone or wearable device (watch) detected his fall (likely fall was caused by fatal event, not vice versa), and auto-alerted his wife and emergency services (although EMS arrived only to pronounce him dead and transport the body.)

Some finance people think that Apple's major market for the Apple Watch is as a medical device, for this reason exactly. The idea is that once it is FDA approved, Medicare/aid will pay for the $700 device and monthly data plan, plus it will also be de facto MANDATORY, resulting in a 20million customer windfall for Apple.

What is your insurance/mortality perspective re: mandatory health monitoring devices? How do you feel about privacy concerns? What is the industry likely to do. How is this vs automobile tracking, like Flight Data Recorder recording, which is going to be forced into every US car?

Detecting falls is something everybody would support. Then blood sugar monitoring ... but where does it end? Tracking alcohol consumption and maybe cutting people off based on drinks/week? Monitoring grocery and restaurant purchases?


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Stu has the Apple Watch, too, for the medical functions -- and yes, the fall detection is one of the selling points. Having something that passively detects a fall (as opposed to the old MedicAlert buttons that you needed to affirmatively push) is helpful.

Insurance is unlikely to prescribe mandatory devices due to the regulatory aspects -- regulators are simply not going to allow it. Insurers are allowed to offer discounts for use, but they're limited on how punitive they can be/how big the discounts can get without usage.

The likely trajectory is that they'll get buy-in from people who do see the benefits. And, alas, a lot of the people who do fall (look at the table above) have lost the ability to make decisions re: privacy (or, rather, they have lost privacy -- they're now in nursing homes or under nursing care anyway. They can't live independently). So someone else will be making the decision for them.

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