'The Matrix' Meets Medicine: Surveillance Swoops Into Health Care

In an inconspicuous control room at the Sioux Falls, S.D., headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, nurses keep round-the-clock watch on motion and humidity sensors in the living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms of elderly men and women in five states.

The seniors -- a handful in their own homes and the rest in assisted living facilities owned by Good Samaritan -- are part of one of the most comprehensive remote health monitoring efforts anywhere. Using sophisticated sensors, computerized pattern recognition and human responders, Good Samaritan hopes to show it can detect and head off health threats to the elderly and thereby accomplish two important goals. The first is saving money on medical costs. The second is helping seniors feel secure enough to "age in place" at home or avoid moving from assisted living to a skilled nursing facility.

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Source: Kaiser Health News