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AARP taps Pfizer, UnitedHealthcare for senior mHealth initiative

April 6, 2015
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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AARP wants to know which healthcare apps and gadgets really help seniors live better and safer lives. The organization’s Project Catalyst will conduct a series of testing platforms on various wearables, mHealth apps, monitoring devices and other technology to gain feedback from seniors on applicability and design. Viewed as a hands-on demo for feedback rather than a product ranking, AARP hopes the initiative will inspire designers and developers of mobile health products to create more devices and applications that are easy for seniors to use—and that will capture valuable health data.

“Technology that is designed well—designed for all—can be used by a 5-year-old and a 95-year-old, alike,” said Jody Holtzman, AARP senior vice president of Thought Leadership, in a press release. “The goals of Project Catalyst are in direct alignment with the mission of AARP—to identify challenges and determine solutions to improve the quality of life for people as they age.”

Pfizer and UnitedHealthcare are collaborating with AARP, each hoping to learn something valuable about how wearable and mobile technology can better serve the older demographic. “With the 50-plus population representing a large portion of the patients who depend on our medicines, we recognize the importance of finding innovative solutions to challenges such as medication management and adherence,” said Wendy Mayer, vice president of Worldwide Innovation, Pfizer, in a press release.

The first project will test six different sleep and activity tracking devices, including FitBit and Jawbone. Researchers at Georgia Tech Research Institute will study how older adults interact with the devices, where they encounter obstacles and how the device usability could be improved. Findings will be announced in June.

Read about more projects on the Project Catalyst website.