A colleague at Caring.com tipped me off this week to AARP’s recent HealthInnovation@50+ LivePitch event, which took place on Sept 21st in New Orleans. (Thanks Kate Boyd!)
It is interesting stuff if you want to see what AARP’s team considered promising upcoming health tech innovations for the 50+ set.
Essentially, AARP invited companies with a new consumer-oriented health technology for the “50 and over” market to apply for one of ten spots at the LivePitch event. At the event, they got to present two pitches: one for investors, one for AARP consumers. The companies had to be fairly small (less than $5 million in funding so far) and prepared to launch their product within one year of the event.
The list of the ten finalists is here.
As an on-the-ground doctor focused on caring for elderly people, here’s my version of the list with short synposes of the service. My initial reactions are in purple:
- 1 Doc way: Web-based platform for videochat and telemedicine; doctors pay small fee to use, free to consumer. Presumably doctors will adopt in order to do reimbursable telemedicine visits.
- Meh. One, I’m not sure I can practice good geriatrics on patients I’ve never seen in person. Two, couldn’t I use Skype, or something free?
- Abilto: Behavioral health therapy via video. According to the video on their site, they can provide a health coach and cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT), including in evenings.
- I’m interested. I’ve had trouble getting patients and families in to CBT; this could help solve the access issues.
- But does this team have experience coaching patients with cognitive impairment? Mild dementia and depression is a common combo. And how effectively can this team coach and counsel caregivers of people with dementia?
- Carelinx: A service to help consumers and others find and manage paid caregivers. They offer a screened pool of caregivers, and then infrastructure to manage schedules, payment, etc.
- I’m interested. I often recommend families consider getting paid help; a service that makes this easier for families to do would help hugely.
- CareTree.me: Per their site “CareTree is the new communication and collaboration platform for
Caregivers, family members, and services providers to keep each other in
- I’m a little skeptical. The goal is laudable, but unclear how they plan to convince service providers (like doctors) to participate. No busy provider wants to have to check in with an extra service unless there is a good financial incentive AND it’s pretty feasible from a workflow perspective.
- Evermind: Technology that monitors the electronic appliances an older person is uses as part of daily routine. Presumably alerts family to a change. Not yet much info on their website.
- Weird! Could be an interesting gizmo for families to know whether a loved one has deviated from routine.
- GenieMD, LLC: Cloud-based iPhone app to track medications, vitals, emergency contacts, and provide prepackaged health info.
- Meh. Hard to imagine this being used by a geriatric patient. Not at all clear how this interfaces with the doctor. I’ve not been impressed by similar products in the past.
- GeriJoy: Tablet-based virtual talking pet! Responds to voice commands. Supposed to reduce social isolation by providing the benefits of pet ownership without the pooper-scooper.
- Love the name! Does kind of sound like a gag gift, but maybe older people will like this a whole lot more than I realize.
- LivWell Health: I confess I had trouble figuring out what this one does, here’s their own blurb: ” For about the cost of a coffee a day, subscribers can: Access a
web-based care coordination system, book vetted service providers, and
video-chat with their Concierge!” I think this may mean this is a type of virtual geriatric care manager?
- Meh, probably not for my patients. Really seems to be more of a lifestyle support app; not clear that it will help much with medical issues.
- MedClimate: Secure mobile “EHR-agnostic” patient portal system, includes e-prescribing, video conferencing, appointment scheduling, online billing, and integration with remote monitoring devices. Seems to be meant for doctors, as a mobile adjunct an existing EMR (you can write soap notes and export to EMR).
- Well, maybe. I expect physicians and patients will be more interested in portals over the coming years, and I believe portals are required for Stage 2 Meaningful Use.
- Will providers want to use this, rather than the portal native to their own EMR?
- QMedic: Next-generation personal emergency response system (PERS) based on a wristband; family can access activity remotely.
- Sounds good, although I actually don’t know nearly as much about PERS options as I’d like to.
What I’m most interested in:
Definitely Carelinx. It’s a service that I can see trying out right away, as it meets a need that I have as a geriatrician (need to help families find paid help when it seems they need it). It also doesn’t require me to make much change to my own workflow.
Next most interesting to me is Abilto, especially if their coaches and therapists have any experience helping people with mild dementia, or dementia caregivers. This is a large area of inadequately met need, so I hope they’ll consider developing this expertise.
I’m also interested in QMedic, although before recommending a PERS to any of my patients or families, I’d probably need to find out more about how much it costs relative to more conventional options.
What strikes me about the LivePitch event:
I’m pleasantly surprised to see that even though the event was billed as health tech for the 50+ market, I can envision most of these being applied to geriatric patients. Possibly this is because many boomers are worried about aging parents.
However, I’m a little disappointed that the event involved pitching to investors and consumers, but not to geriatricians or geriatric care managers. The feedback of clinicians and eldercare providers would be useful, both because we’d be interfacing with most of these technologies, and because we are influential when we recommend things to our patients and clients.
And which companies won at LivePitch?
(Note: I did write my thoughts above before seeing who won.)
The investor judges voted for Abilto.
The consumers voted for Carelinx.
I will be keeping an eye out for these companies’ product for sure, I would love to give them a try. Which products could you envision working with?