Health IT

Digital health partnership marries clinical and sensor data for more proactive senior care

Caremerge serves more than a hundred senior living facilities with mobile and web tools to help them communicate and coordinate care. Lively is a startup that uses sensors and algorithms to detect changes in seniors’ daily behaviors that could indicate that something’s wrong. Together, they’re hoping to give senior care providers a better way to […]

Caremerge serves more than a hundred senior living facilities with mobile and web tools to help them communicate and coordinate care. Lively is a startup that uses sensors and algorithms to detect changes in seniors’ daily behaviors that could indicate that something’s wrong.

Together, they’re hoping to give senior care providers a better way to make sure patients are OK when they’re not being tended to.

Senior living facilities, home care providers and ACOs that utilize the Caremerge platform use it to collect and store patient data – from diagnoses, medications and allergies to their eating and social habits – as well as record when and how caretakers interact with them. CEO Asif Khan said that data could become even more powerful in enabling proactive care when it’s put into the context of a resident’s daily life.

“The challenge in working in the medical field is that everybody is so reactive, because you’re always trying to treat a disease or condition,” he said. “But clinical (condition) is actually driven by our lifestyles.”

That’s where Lively comes in. The company makes passive movement sensors that are placed in various spots within an apartment or home – on the refrigerator door, a pillbox or a keychain, for example. They communicate wirelessly with a hub that transmits data to the cloud about when someone opens the fridge to eat, opens the pillbox to take his medicine or picks up the keys to leave the house. Caretakers can view graphs of that data on an online interface and be alerted when a disruption from a daily routine occurs.

Khan said that when Lively data is able to flow into Caremerge’s platform, it could help caretakers better understand how a new prescription medication is affecting the senior, for example. Or, it could alert a caretaker if there’s no activity in a senior’s apartment when he’s usually up and about.

The partnership illustrates the need to break down silos in healthcare data and create solutions that give providers the right data that they need at the right time and in the right way, Khan said.

Indeed, the need for better information and workflow technology is one of the key things driving mergers, acquisitions and partnerships in the post-acute care sector right now. It’s also driving a lot of innovation from the startup community. Technology for vital sign monitoring and emergency detection/response are two categories within the senior care sector that have seen investment growth, according to a recent AARP and StartupHealth report.

It’s likely that the post-acute care-focused segment of the health IT sector will see more partnerships like this going forward, as these facilities face cuts in Medicare reimbursement and more pressure to coordinate care.

Khan said Caremerge is already in discussions with a few customers about integrating Lively’s sensors and expects to have the first customers for the project lined up within a few weeks.