Discover more from Looking Forward by Stephen Johnston
IOA Tech Talk | AI for Care: Key Takeaways
LF30 | Summary of key takeaways and questions for the 6 startups we hosted this week at San Francisco's Institute on Aging
Together with the Institute on Aging’s Companioa program, I hosted a ‘Tech Talk’ at the wonderful Enrichment Center in the heart of San Francisco’s Presidio on Tuesday. Despite the hurricane force winds and rain which hammered attendance, we had around 80 people show up in person and another 20 online.
We didn’t plan on a virtual option as the space isn’t really designed for it, but due to the storm we added Zoom and the recording can be seen here. This post is a follow up to LF22 which flagged this topic and provided a snapshot of the companies. I provide an summary of the update they shared, focused on the impact they’ve tracked, together with outstanding questions that we didn’t have time to get into.
Gene Wang, Chairman, Co-founder and Chief Scientist at Care Daily is a 5x entrepreneur, used to building and scaling tech ventures. I posted a fairly lengthy review of them in LF13 recently, so suffice to say am still excited by their authentic desire to build an open, more collaborative ecosystem, and their partnerships with corporates so they can leverage existing brand and distribution networks.
Care Daily’s impact has been validated with $8m+ of NIH funding, including a Berkeley-run research project that found the technology was able to “significantly reduce dementia caregiver anxiety and improve sleep quality”.
My questions for Care Daily include:
Is the B2C market ready?
How to ensure continued customer adoption?
How to make installation painless?
How to deliver a personalized experiences to business customers in a scalable way?
Will it be easy to generate the data corporates need to show impact?
Will other startups find the platform easy and profitable and therefore flock to it?
Are you a caregiver? Care Daily is recruiting for rural and Spanish speaking dyads. You or someone you know may qualify to receive a free kit of devices (worth $800) and get paid $150 for participating in our research. www.peoplepowerco.com/caregiver.
You can reach Care Daily at email@example.com and see Care Daily’s deck here:
Victor Wang, founder and CEO gave the presentation. Victor is a Big Brain and has been developing this idea for almost a decade (he was in Aging2.0’s first accelerator program in 2013, so I still have a small slice of equity in this company somewhere…). Victor’s presentation style is rather laconic and would be easy for people to overlook the amount of work and thinking that has gone into building a product that is delivering impressive clinical and quality-of-life results with various health systems and multiple PACE plans around the country.
care.coach’s is now conducting over 1m conversations per year and has a unique dataset of real world conversations of people with cognitive impairment. They have conducted a number of research studies to identify impact with academic and clinical partners including Stanford University, University of Washington and LeadingAge. A Stanford study showed it reduced loneliness 3x more than a visit from a nursing student, other studies have shown it to reduce depression by 25%, reduce 3.2 home visits per month in a PACE program, and reduce ER utilization by 9% as well as an impressive 82% reduction in falls.
My questions for care.coach include:
When will the AI replace the (currently) remote human staff?
How easy is it for providers to create personalized protocols for patients?
Can they learn from their customer network and deliver best practices and new insights for providers?
Can they integrate with service providers and EMRs in e.g. PACE?
You can reach care.coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and see more about the company here: https://www.care.coach/community-based-organizations.
Assaf Gad, VP and GM shared an update about the ElliQ social robot that has - after an extensive period of research and development - starting getting sizeable contracts, for example with New York State. Their first goal is to become a trusted companion to the older adult and then build a ‘circle of care’. ElliQ is proactive, rather than reactive like Alexa, and aims to help users define goals and stick to them.
ElliQ have been able to demonstrate mental and physical benefits; 85% of users reported an ‘increased sense of companionship’ and decreased loneliness, 60% said it helps them be more physically active and 82% said it helps them be more mentally active.
My questions for ElliQ include:
How much is the device core to the experience - given that interactivity and voice prompts are now possible on multiple different modalities like phones and TVs?
Will people want this, given this isn’t targeted at the cool kids, how to avoid the stigma of age products?
What demographics are most receptive to this new paradigm?
Will this result in tangible savings of staff costs given their stated objective is not to replace staff?
Will it be possible to attribute specific cost savings or quality of life improvements to the device?
You can reach the ElliQ team at email@example.com and see the presentation deck here:
Founder & CEO George Netscher has been perfecting his AI-based fall detection solution for dementia patients for almost a decade. He shared impressive impact stats - the only 1000+ person study to show significant reductions in falls (at least 40%) and ER visits (at least 80%). Based on video reviews of 60k+ falls they were able to identify that only 2% resulted in serious injury and a need for an ER visit, 34% were intentional with self recovery and 46% had no injury. This drives the dramatic reduction in ER visits compared to the default status quo - where almost all falls that are discovered by staff result in an ER visit, ‘just in case’.
George is one of the most trustworthy and authentic people in the space, and his personal delivery combined with unarguable impact and an increasingly sophisticated marketing narrative (such as positioning themselves as a company that “gives voice” to older people with dementia) has contributed to their success - and around $70m in funding. In a similar way to Intuition Robotics operating at the cutting edge of people’s readiness to accept talking with robots, Safely You is at the edge when it comes to people’s willingness to accept surveillance for good. Talking robots and cameras watching you 24 hours a day is either good or bad, depending on the alternative. Safely You want to “own” the dementia space, and so they’re not expecting those with no cognitive impairment to install cameras. And even when installed, they only record the video around the time when someone actually has a fall; they don’t have access to video at the rest of the time, even if they wanted it.
Safely You have expanding strongly into different senior housing verticals and plans on moving into different settings soon, as well as improving the scope of the functionality and add-on products, based on their footprint in the patients’ lives and trust built up with providers and families; “fall management is just the beginning”.
My questions for Safely You include:
In what ways will a home setting be different than a congregate care one?
Will consumers pay for this if not reimbursed? How likely is it that health plans will fund the installations?
What is their product roadmap of things they already can do but haven’t done??
You can reach the Safely You team at firstname.lastname@example.org and see more about the company here: https://www.safely-you.com.
Ella by Taproot
Linda Buscemi, Co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer, shard an update of this novel AI-based intervention, aimed at up-skilling and elevating (hence the name) caregivers with world class insights about how to react to different client reactions. As interventions are suggested and tested, the feedback on how effective they are trains the model to deliver better insights.
Initial results on a sample of 9500 interventions found that 87% of the interventions worked. They are finding impact across both clinical and operational areas. They’re seeing a 13% reduction in the use psychiatric medications, and from a workforce perspective, seeing 95% caregiver satisfaction. So far, they’ve got 100% satisfaction from family members and interestingly, 73% of families repot their they would be more likely to chose a provider that was using Ella.
My questions for Taproot include:
Will the experience will translate to the home?
Will families pay to be upskilled?
How can it learn from all the different care settings that an older adult visits?
How will this stay differentiated against increasingly impressive AI tools such as Chat GPT which already provide fairly impressive responses (e.g. a detailed 6-part response on OpenAI to the question what to do if someone with dementia refuses to eat…?”)
You can reach the Taproot team at email@example.com and see the presentation deck here:
Aparna Pujar started Zemplee in 2019 and is building a “smart-home systems on steroids”. Using 5G so it’s not reliant on wifi, it equips homes with sensors (no video cameras), and builds up baseline patterns and identifies changes to act as a discovery tool and a recommendation engine for caregivers. They target both multiple channels: home, health systems, senior living and PACE.
They’re relatively early on in their journey of measuring impact, but have been gaining the attention of providers and also industry bodies with a number of awards and can boast and accomplished team, including the former Administrator of CMS as an advisor.
My questions for Zemplee include:
Will congregate care facilities pay for it, or be reimbursed in sufficient scale?
What impacts around cost savings do they envisage, and how far along are the experiments to validate this?
Will families pay for this?
Who will install it?
How will they raise awareness in the mass market?
You can reach Aparna at firstname.lastname@example.org and see her presentation deck here:
All in all a high quality set of startups working on the cutting edge of consumer technology adoption, new AI models and aging services. The joint Q&A surfaced a number of pointed, practical questions by the audience, around one third of whom were older adults, family caregivers and front-line practitioners.
Am looking forward with interest to watching these startups progress and hoping we continue to expand IOA’s innovation ecosystem helping these and other innovators scale up in this complex, challenging but rewarding market.