Recognizing the purchasing power of aging Baby Boomers, entrepreneurs are developing new technological answers to some of the common challenges of aging. Katy Fike and Stephen Johnston, cofounders of Aging 2.0, are fueling this energy and excitement by building a network to connect innovators and developers with needed investors and potential users.
“We feel that we haven’t really seen as much innovation in the aging sector as we’ve seen in other industries,” says Fike, who left a career in engineering to pursue a PhD in gerontology. “So we are trying to create a bridge between the startup community and the more traditional long-term care community.”
Recently, Aging 2.0 got a shot in the arm from a capital investment firm, which has allowed the organization to help fund a number of promising, scalable, startups that are offering creative innovations for the long-term care marketplace.
Smart homes. One example is a sophisticated yet simple smart home approach called Lively, which helps seniors safely age in place. The subscription service ($39.99 one-time fee, plus $24.95 a month) provides sensors that are placed on various objects around the home (for example, on pill boxes, on the refrigerator door). Lively then shares the resident’s activity patterns with a loved one via secure email or text notifications.
“It provides family members with a real, easy way to understand what’s happening. Is their loved one active, has she taken her pills?” says Johnston. “Lively has brought a great design sensibility to this arena. The designer responsible for Lively is from Apple and created a user-friendly experience that has helped seniors embrace the technology rather than resent it.”
Smart homes are the wave of the future, believes Fike. “In five years, if not sooner, we will look back and think that the idea of a mobility-compromised, 95-year-old woman living alone without sensors sounds like neglect.”
Wearables, virtual visits, and more. Aging 2.0 is also funding a number of other startup technologies, including a telemonitor on wheels that allows for virtual visits, a platform that helps connect families to caregivers, and a debit card that uses an algorithm to prevent fraud against seniors.
Johnston points to a number of other promising technologies still in development, including wearables. “What we’re moving toward is a sort of smart, embedded technology that can’t even be detected by the user,” says Johnston. “For instance, there’s a smart shirt that has all these sensors all over it to take your body measurements. Then you throw it in the washing machine and it recharges by tumbling.”
Both Johnston and Fike urge healthcare stakeholders to jump in and test innovative products, and to mentor entrepreneurs. “We have a bunch of entrepreneurs who are excited about this space, but we need an environment that is innovation friendly, which involves the big guys talking to the small guys, conducting pilots, giving feedback, mentoring, and advising startups,” says Fike. “These are the things that help get the great ideas out into the world.”
Maggie Van Dyke is managing editor of HFMA's Leadership publication.
Interviewed for this article: Katy Fike is cofounder, Aging 2.0, San Francisco. Stephen Johnston is cofounder, Aging 2.0.
Access related article: Communitywide Approaches to Aging
Conifer Health Solutions: Helping Providers and Employers Build a Foundation for Better Health
Cerner RevWorks: Readying Your Revenue Cycle Performance for Tomorrow
Ontario Systems: Optimizing Accounts Receivable in a Rapidly Changing Environment
Steve Scibetta, senior director of channel sales for Ontario Systems' healthcare product line, shares insights into effectively managing receivables.
Optum: Enabling Transformative Change
Elena White, vice president of risk, quality, and network solutions for Optum, discusses how healthcare providers can leverage data and technology as they enable risk in their organization.
Somnia: Bending the Healthcare Cost Curve Toward Improved Anesthesia Value
PMMC: Navigating Revenue Cycle Management Challenges as Value Based Purchasing Emerges
Burgess: Simplify the Business of Healthcare
J.P. Morgan: Managing Cybersecurity and Protecting Patient Data
Brian DiPietro, Managing Director, Commercial Bank Technology, JPMorgan Chase & Co., discusses the importance of evaluating your cybersecurity protocols to help prevent malicious data breaches.
TransUnion Healthcare: Smarter Revenue Cycle Solutions
Gerry McCarthy, President of TransUnion Healthcare, discusses industry trends contributing to higher bad debt and what to do about them. Gerry is responsible for the strategic direction of the healthcare business and expanding its footprint in the healthcare market overall. He has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare information technologies.
Deloitte: Creating Value with Effective Care Management
Scott Kolesar, principal and senior leader in Deloitte Consulting LLP's Value Based Care practice, and David Wennberg, MD, MPH, adjunct associate professor of The Dartmouth Institute and former chief executive officer, Northern New England Accountable Care Collaborative, discuss the challenges and competencies involved in creating a care management organization.
American Express: Streamlining Supplier Payments and Boosting Revenue
Andrew Jamison, vice president in the Global Corporate Payments division of American Express, discusses trends and opportunities in supplier payments.