This month has seen major arguments between opposing political parties in the US, Germany and the UK, over ways to trim rapidly growing healthcare costs. At the heart of the problem is the need to find resources to fund care for an aging population.
A report published by Cambridge UK based researchers, Wireless Healthcare, suggests that a focus on family carers, rather than the elderly, may provide greater scope for compromise and prove less confrontational than schemes such as death taxes. The report 'eHealth and The Elderly Consumer' sees the next generation of carers as ‘Alphadaughters’, predominantly female family members who use online technology and consumer medical devices to provide high quality and cost effective care for their elderly parents. The report also identifies a role for emerging healthcare IT and online care companies as peacemakers, offering a third way to warring politicians.
The report also explains that while part of the solution is technology based there are many other ways governments could support Alphadaughters and make healthcare more family carer friendly. Wireless Healthcare suggests that providing resources to this unofficial, and sometimes unrecognized, segment of the healthcare sector could prove as cost effective as spending on mainstream healthcare. The report identifies Alphadaughters as the next big consumer market whose purchase of healthcare equipment and services on behalf of their parents could overcome the problem of how to channel the wealth of the elderly back to young, economically active, families.