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Allied Services unveils new smartwatch for elderly patients

Allied Services rolled out a new piece of smartwatch technology meant to help care for elderly patients in Lackawanna County.

SCRANTON, Pa. — Michael and Jane Suprick have been married for 68 years. They're both in their late 80s. You might not see them as the target consumer for a new kind of smartwatch, but they are.

Michael is the first Allied Services patient to try out the watch made by the company Somatix. It uses artificial intelligence to monitor Michael's health, making Jane's job as his caretaker easier.

"Michael is nonverbal. His speech has been affected by a stroke he had in 2000," Jane Suprick said. "It tells me when he needs a drink of water, a few different things. He's prone to falling. It's going to be very helpful to us."

Allied and Somatix introduced the technology at a news conference near Clarks Summit.

"These are new things that were science fiction only a few years ago, but they're helping to save patient lives, and that's, in my mind, all that matters," said Dr. Charles Herman with Somatix.

The watch can track movement, falls, and indicate if a patient is dehydrated or at risk for bed sores.

Allied Services is the first health care system in Pennsylvania to try the watches. They're starting with about 100 patients funded through a state grant.

Somatix says the watches, which cost $65, are usually covered by insurance.

"Let's say someone is high risk after they've just been in the hospital. Maybe there's a 25, 30 percent chance that they're going to be back in the emergency room in 30 days. The hospital may put a band on a patient's wrist to help monitor them through their population health program, then independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing facilities," Dr. Herman said.

The Supricks still live at home in Ransom Township, and Jane says that's where they plan to stay. The smartwatch should help make that safer.

"I can't even imagine not having him home," Jane said, adding, "Yes, we're going to keep him home."

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