More efficient care for older people

Not more taxpayers to fund it!(and here comes the Tricorder® I promised)
March 4, 2024 by
More efficient care for older people
Digital Alfa Nordic AB, Jay Melia
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Recently published data in the UK, from February 5th, 2024 suggested that the retirement age would need to rise to 71 by 2050 to balance out the number of people in work and paying taxes versus older people that they would need to take care of. This should not have come as much of a surprise given the general public's refusal to breed like rabbits, their aversion to higher taxes, plus their fear of Europeans and other immigrants. However, this does seem to have landed quite badly. 

To us at Digital Alfa, this really is not a surprise. Consider the following statistics for the EU 27 and UK:

  • The total population is projected to increase from 512 million at the start of 2018 to peak at 525 million by 2044, before falling marginally through to 2050. 
  • The population of older people (defined here as those aged 65 years or more) will increase significantly, rising from 101 million at the start of 2018 to reach 149 million by 2050. 
  • During this period, the number of people in the EU-28 aged 75-84 years is projected to expand by 60.5 %, while the number aged 65-74 years is projected to increase by 17.6 %. 
  • In contrast, projections suggest that there will be 9.6 % fewer people aged less than 55 years living in the EU-28 by 2050.** 
  • Excluding the UK, the reduction in working age people is projected to be 16.9%.***

People are living longer, and they are living longer with serious and chronic illnesses that require them to draw upon and later become dependent pf carers who look after both their physical and mental wellbeing.



*** Ageing Europe - statistics on population developments - Statistics Explained (

So what's the answer?

Some weeks back I mentioned Tricorders® in the context of Star Trek inspired innovations. Believe it or not, the medical tricorder is not only achievable but there are some quite similar devices undergoing medical trials today. It is now possible to point a device at a person's face and measure a vast range of indicators of wellbeing and health using a 30 second scan. And the device? 

Yes, it's the not so humble selfie camera on your cellphone. Beauty is only skin deep, they say, but your camera sees deeper. A technology called Transdermal Optical Imaging can see changes in your face and beneath your skin that are far too subtle to see with the human eye. And from that AI engines can work out: 

  • Vitals 
    • Heart Rate,Breathing, Blood Pressure, Irregular Heart Beat 
  • Physiological 
    • Heart Rate Variability, Cardiac Workload 
  • Mental 
    • Mental Stress Index, Anxiety, Depression 
  • Physical 
    • Body Mass Index, Facial Skin Age, Waist-to-Height Ratio, Body Shape Index 
  • General Risks indicators (Not diagnoses) 
    • Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Heart Attack, Stroke, Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, 

and more, the list grows.

This technology can also be fitted behind two way mirrors in care home, in fixed cameras in doctors' surgeries; in fact just about anywhere it is possible to put a camera. Imagine this at your doctors' office. A quick scan while you're in the waiting room saves a few minutes per patient.  

But here's what we think is where this technology really comes into focus. 

This technology can tell a carer that their patient may be anxious or depressed even when the patient is in denial. Wellbeing is the key to longevity and that means holistic care, both physical and mental. And if the carer can identify that there may be a problem, they can contact relevant healthcare professionals who can help the patient deal with it.

I addition, if we combine that solution with the software carers use they can quickly check the basic indicators and can provide that to responsible clinicians to support triage and diagnostics . By applying AI to that information and the patient's prescription history, anonymising and then analysing at scale, contraindications of medicine combinations can be much more quickly and easily identified and even resolved. Likewise adverse reactions to new medicines or changed data. 

The possibilities are huge. We are really excited about this technology and some other things involved in the integrated Care of Older People space that we can't say too much about yet. 

We are seeking investors and healthcare partners in the UK and Europe. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at

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