Technology Can Boost Seniors’ Social Interaction: An Interview with Dr. René Lerer

Too often, aging seniors’ social and emotional needs are forgotten and unaddressed by the health industry. Social factors like loneliness are now identified as a predictor of early morbidity in the senior population, which challenges the health industry to provide affordable care for mind, body and soul. Because of GuideWell’s coordinated efforts to solve for just this challenge in the elderly population, Oliver Wyman invited Dr. René Lerer, president of GuideWell to co-present with GuideWell partner John Kao, CEO of Alignment Health, on “Beyond the Checklist: Achieving Real Success in Population Health” at the 2016 Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit. We interviewed René in our GuideWell Insights Lounge.

Population health begins with knowing your population, which as René states with the senior community doesn’t stop with assessing clinical symptoms and histories. “The lack of social interaction in this population is an incredible challenge for these folks,” he says. “Knowing their challenges in life,” the state of their physical environment and whether or not they have social support helps GuideWell pinpoint seniors who might need more extensive interventions.

Technology actively monitors this targeted group of seniors to help determine if their physical, emotional and social markers are within a healthy range. As René states, technology is just the introduction to a more meaningful interaction with seniors: “It’s not about managing their health care, it’s about giving them a supportive environment so that they can have some enjoyment from life…The social interaction is really what the member wants.”

As GuideWell and the health industry continue to pivot more closely toward the consumer and introduce additional sophisticated health monitoring tools, more populations like the frail elderly will benefit from this more holistic care.

Be sure to peruse our YouTube playlist of interviews with 25 industry thought leaders who describe their approach to the “consumer imperative,” Oliver Wyman’s overarching summit theme. You can also watch René’s and John’s panel and videos of other main stage speakers on the Oliver Wyman event site.

About the Author

Kate Warnock

Kate is the social media manager for the GuideWell enterprise, and specializes in creating content that connects GuideWell with health influencers in the social space. Find her corporate podcasts on iTunes and follow her on Twitter @mkatewarnock.