Tag Archive for: Donna Cusano

Telecare Aware: A change of guard at GrandCare Systems

November 14, 2013 | By: Donna Cusano

This Editor has often referred to her former competitor GrandCare Systems as one of the ‘grizzled pioneers’ on the Conestoga Wagons of Telecare–even more grizzled than QuietCare (circa 2003-4) since their ur-system dates back to 1995-6, when it kept track of founder and CEO Charlie Hillman’s mother Clara. In the years since, the closely-held company has broadened its original telecare and activity monitoring tech into telehealth, socialization and home automation/monitoring into the most fully featured system in telecare/telehealth for older adults. Without making huge splashes, being beholden to VCs or moving from bucolic West Bend, Wisconsin, the company has grown through multiple alliances, the most unusual being home automation association CEDIA. GrandCare has a residential base of customers but has also developed a solid footing in senior communities both in assisted and independent living. Earlier this year, they reached into UK to partner with Saga and received the CE Mark for approval of its telehealth features for EU distribution.

The news is that they have a new CEO–Daniel Maynard, who is joining from the same position at Connecture, a software provider for health insurance comparison/enrollment (and exchange subcontractor in Minnesota, Maryland and Washington, DC.) Mr. Hillman will be moving to Chief Technical Officer, which may leave him more time for his work as a LeadingAge/CAST commissioner. Mr. Maynard understands early stage company growth, technology and healthcare well, since he has founded and developed several companies, including a predecessor to Connecture. 2014 may be an interesting year for news out of West Bend!

– See more at: http://telecareaware.com/a-change-of-guard-at-grandcare-systems/#sthash.JOO60inL.dpuf

Telecare Aware: GrandCare Issues a CALL for Information!!!

A few days ago, I posted a request on LinkedIn, letting everyone know about the research project I am embarking upon. I am seeking information to compile a large research paper of sorts on why technology will aid in successful hospital to home transitions, ROI in telehealth, a technology implementation plan and how GrandCare fits into every piece of that puzzle.  Our good friend, Donna Cusano, at Telecare Aware loved the idea and posted it on their blog Telecare Aware, so I wanted to repost it here as well!!!  Thanks Donna!

Technology use in long-term care: a call for information  

For many new–or not so new–companies in the telecare, telecare+social connectedness and even telehealth systems, one of the difficulties in creating appeal for their service, especially among long term care (LTC) providers, is PROOF. Normally one of the tasks of company marketers is to provide this proof. But ‘research that counts’: long term, large N studies; academic research etc. developed in time frame available and the budget, when it resembles the life of the may fly….a bridge too far. Laura Mitchell, who is VP Marketing for one of the earliest and most visionary companies in the field, GrandCare Systems, and also a founder/leader of the industry group AgeTek, is calling for others to help her build a paper for general dissemination on succesful technology implementation into LTC. This is an area where this kind of information will be a ‘tide that lifts all boats.’ With her permission, I’m excerpting her posting on several groups on LinkedIn. The Editors also invite Laura to consider the comment space for this article as a workspace for development on this project, as our exposure is international and different than LinkedIn’s.

Using Digital Home Health Technology in Long Term Care (by Laura Mitchell, GrandCare Systems)
So many times I talk with long term care providers and they see that technology is there, it works, it’s available and others are doing it, but yet they want more proof. They want references, they want testimonials and they want to know exactly how to implement it. I have been making it my role these days to keep providing more and more information about how and why technology can help in long term care, ROI, how it connects residents to family and staff, why residents and staff are happier using it and how to successfully implement it. I will be posting bits and pieces on LinkedIn as I continue to research and pull together different pieces. The end result will sort of be a “paper” on successful technology implementation into long term care – model options, pricing, staff education, testimonials, etc. If you have any questions, comments or thoughts for me as I go along on this journey, shoot me an email!

Please contact Laura directly at info (at) grandcare.com

[Ed. Donna’s comment on LinkedIn follows]

Where is the vision to make telecare and social connectedness MUSTS in supporting older adults in their homes or in LTC?

The problem is that many ‘senior communities’ or home carers just don’t have the vision, especially the for-profits where the bottom line is all important–and many of the non-profits simply don’t have the fiscal resources. The question is how to move telecare/social connectedness from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘MUST have.’ And I hate to say that may have to be done by appealing to state regulators to make connectedness and socialization metrics for licensure.

The other alternative is to drive consumer demand and make it a MUST for families–but the millions to drive that message are absent and not likely to appear any time soon (if Warren Buffett and Bill Gates want a useful place to spend their money, here it is!)

But then again Steve and I have been whinging on about this on Telecare Aware for years, from both sides of the Atlantic!
To view the posting on Telecare Aware:  http://www.telecareaware.com/index.php/technology-use-in-long-term-care-a-call-for-information.htm

ASA/ Boomer Summit wrap-up

Got back late Friday night from the ASA and Boomer Summit In Chicago! It was an exciting, exhausting and fun-filled, action-packed 3 days.

Thursday morning was an AgeTek board meeting – getting ready for the big launch later that day. Thursday afternoon was when the boomer summit boot camp sessions began.

I spoke on a panel about social media and how to best use it for business. It was a 3 hour panel. After that, I rushed to the AgeTek launch down the hall.

It was our official AgeTek Industry Alliance meeting! Standing room only – it was an enormous success! Everyone was enthusiastic and ready to work together – a truly historic step for our industry! We all left with tshirts and directly after this had to head to the speaker reception put on by Mary Furlong & Associates.

After a full day and evening of networking, great conversations and new friends, we turned in.

Friday was the Boomer Summit – GrandCare had an exhibit table, but we also had to work the speaker rooms, helping moderators get started and set up in the beginning of each session.
Lunch with the experts was wonderful & after the last sessions ended at 5p, we all headed to the summit wrap and networking session.

All in all, very glad to have gone! We caught up with industry folks like, Laurie Orlov, Donna Cusano, Susan Ayers Walker, Karen Klein – fellow tech colleagues & agetek members: halo, mygait, presto, wellcore, verizon, jnl technologies, home instead…

and of course my fellow AgeTek board members: Peter Radsliffe, Michele Ahlman, Jill Gilbert, Bud Myers

A great ending to a great week! Now on to this week – we will be reporting live from Orlando – the Electronic House Expo will be going on and GrandCare will play a significant role in the home health tech pavilion.

Wednesday, we are hosting 25 new GC dealers for GC dealer training. Authorized dealers may attend as a refresher for a small fee, learn all about our new multi-resident features.
Still have a few seats available, email gcsales@homecontrols.com to sign up.

Many educational presentations by GrandCare, please check ehxweb.com for schedules.

Laura Mitchell
Dir of Business Relations
GrandCare Systems

Recap of Connected Health Symposium by Donna Cusano

Thurs 22 October: Afternoon and Final

The final full breakout I attended was also with Laurie Orlov (aka Agent 99) here very firmly in her space – Get (Your House) Smart: Aging in Place, at Home, Aided by Technology. Joined by Charles Hillman of GrandCare Systems, Joe Coughlin, PhD of MIT AgeLab, Tom Ryden of North End Technologies and moderated by Marc Holland of System Research Services, this panel had much to say in their 50 minutes and could have easily filled an additional engaging 15.

This area is where much real-world tech is happening, but adoption has a long way to go.

The ‘smart house’ for Dr. Coughlin is the nexus of innovation, hardware, software and health information. It is not about devices but lifestyle and services, not about making up for health ‘loss’ but ‘gain’. The current business model is now oriented to what Medicare will reimburse (not much) and nothing is right in terms of the technology. Right now it is all about a home for those who are obviously old and frail – the paradox is that if you design a home for them, no one will buy it, including the old and frail.

Mr. Hillman approached the smart house as (Gregory) House – we’ve become masters of acute care, but not very good at assisting independent living and aging ‘responsibly’. Systems should be designed holistically and include 1) physiologic sensing (vital signs), 2) activity monitoring, 3) social connectedness and 4) home controls that light rooms at night, turn on outside lights, etc. The service he developed, GrandCare, has incorporated all four.

The smart home in Ms. Orlov’s view uses technology to more tightly connect the senior to others and to be safe, through communications and engagement, home safety and security, health and wellness and continuous learning and participation in social networks. Older people ARE interested in technology – broadband is being adopted by them in increasing numbers. But it has to be acceptable to the senior and can’t be imposed by family.

Mr. Ryden added robotics to the smart home, especially the development of small robots that can aid in everyday activities (versus the Japanese model of robopets for socialization).

Mr. Hillman pointed out that ADL (activities of daily living) monitoring is growing; currently it is largely a private pay service as LTC insurance and Medicare do not pay for it at present. LTC insurance should be paying for monitoring and other smart home assistive services, as they do for home care.

Homes, especially in this tired market, need something extra to sell and older homes need to upgrade; as Mr. Ryden put it, the ideal for technology would be ‘available at Best Buy’ and reimbursable. But the potential disrupters – home builders and remodelers–seem to avoid the older market except for ‘senior communities.’ Ms. Orlov described attempting to work with builders in her state, Florida, to create a ‘smart home’ demo incorporating universal design and technology in one of those plentiful unsold homes, and amazingly has not succeeded as of yet. (Keep trying, Laurie!)

NORCs – naturally occurring retirement communities – often need upgrading. And alternatives such as ‘intentional communities’ must be explored for the rising single population, especially those in the suburbs and exurbs. If they would realize it, the real disrupters and the new model may be via home builders, retailers and (Dr. Coughlin) utility companies. (In the US utilities are increasing selling ‘value added’ in products and services.)

Current technology is NOT fun, interactive or particularly desired to consumers. If it were, it could be a lot more appealing and useful. So where are the game designers? In fact, as Ms. Orlov pointed out, the terminology – aging – is terrifying; large companies are avoiding it in their messaging and we don’t have good terminology to replace it. Her final note: ‘patients’ are really people, and we should be referring to them that way.

A tip of the hat to Laurie Orlov’s Aging In Place Technology blog and her POV on the Symposium

Emotional Networking – Telecare Aware

An Article from Telecare Aware – Donna Cusano

Now ’emotional networking’

“Another debut at Health 2.0, currently in ‘stealth mode’ (their terminology), is Emota.net.  Their device, a touch screen monitor, is designed to keep seniors in touch with families with a picture-frame like monitor touch screen and messaging.  The interface with caregivers and families is through an iPhone app, web widget or (for professionals) dashboard.  Their claim is that ’emotional networking’ is a new concept, but it is already part of at least one remote monitoring service, GrandCare.  Promised is integration with telecare remote monitoring, telehealth applications and PHRs…” – Donna Cusano – Telecare Aware

Hey Donna, Thanks for writing! As individuals age, we tend to mostly focus on the immediate physical needs. ADLs, Chronic Disease Mgmt, etc.Emota is so right to also focus on the emotional well-being of the seniors.

Socialization, Brain Fitness, Connectedness is so important to overall wellness – Happiness!

Why shouldn’t seniors be able to benefit from the current technology that is out there and available? Grandchildren can now communicate with Grandma the same way they do with their other contacts – virtually. The best part of these new technologies – Grandma doesn’t have to know ANYTHING about technology to benefit from it!

Thanks for posting!

Laura Mitchell
GrandCare Systems

This Thursday’s Aging & Tech Web Meeting: Canopy Mktg by Donna Cusano, Telecare Aware

This Thursday’s Aging & Tech Web Meeting
Topic: Canopy Marketing–Getting Down to the Roots (Marketing technology directly to your community)

Thursday 10-15-09 2p Eastern/1pm Central/12n Mountain/11a Pacific

Meeting Site: www.dimdim.com room: grandcare

1. Introduction & Announcements

2. Call Topic: Canopy Marketing–Getting Down to the Roots
– How every marketing plan has several different layers in the “canopy” with different functions
– How utilizing multiple channels pays off in customers
Our market, where a technology like GrandCare is positioned, and its inherent contradiction
– What you can do that doesn’t take a fortune in marketing spend
– Open forum

3. Next week’s Topic: Carol Marak, CareBuzz offers her perspective: reaching adult children, the caregivers and decision makers, of aging parents through the Internet

4. Wrap-Up

This call is brought to you by in-home technology, GrandCare Systems: www.grandcare.com. These calls were designed to bring about a group of visionary individuals to learn from each other, network and grow! These calls are open to anyone and everyone at no charge. If you are interested in speaking, or have a topic suggestion, please reply to: info@grandcare.com