For several months HealthXL had been collaborating with the Northern Health hospital network in Melbourne and IBM to investigate digital health innovation in the aged care market. The HealthXL Report on Aging summarizes our most exciting findings and shares viewpoints from a clinical, payor, investor and consumer perspective.
The aged care space represents a challenge for the design and deployment of digital technology. There is a wide spectrum of capabilities and attitudes towards technology in the older adult population which needs to be factored in to business models and distribution plans. Diving deeper, we interviewed Lisa Suennen, Managing Partner at Venture Valkyrie LLC and a key opinion leader from our HealthXL community, who shared with us her investor experience and pointed out some of the most important facts:
“What Works for Teens Ain’t Going to Cut It for Grandma.”
What are the key evaluation areas you would look to as part of a wider due diligence process, specifically for senior-focused technology? DistributionThe aged care market is not one market, it is multiple and segmented. I look to examine the distribution model and its ability to reach the end-user efficiently. Also, the general nature of distribution partners in the aged care space, such as assisted living facilities, tend to be slow adopters of tech and thus their ability to distribute new forms of technology is low. Design User-centered design principles are a very important part of great senior care technology. The ability of the solution to cater for the senior’s needs without undue intrusion into their life and with sufficient consideration for their decline in physical and mental activity. Of course, if the technology is aimed at a caregiver, is there sufficient stickiness to ensure they will actually use the application? I look for strong engagement strategies that will ensure that use of the technology is persistent over time. Cost and business modelEvidence of true cost-saving capabilities or strong evidence of a solution’s potential for cost-savings to the user. If the aim of a solution is not cost-saving, then there needs to be strong case for who is going to foot the costs. Volume sales is also an important consideration, how many customers are required for profitability and what is their lifetime. What are the key problems that need to be solved?
- Prediction of acute exacerbation of chronic illness to avoid hospitalization;
- Behavioral health issues that exacerbate chronic illness
- Loneliness as the primary predictor of hospitalization;
- Keeping people in their home as to create a “medical home”
- Health literacy, including across cultures (and related tech literacy if using tech to create solutions)
- Fraud/financial security, both related to health and other issues
- End of life planning/palliative care