A Closer Look at the Tech Needed for New Care-At-Home and Aging-In-Place Models

Healthcare IT News | By Bill Siwicki
Connecting care teams and enabling information sharing among hospitals, group practices and, most importantly, families is crucial to helping more senior citizens get healthcare at home.
As people age, the subject of caring for loved ones enters the conversation. Most find this discussion escalating while events are already in motion.
Ashish V. Shah experienced this firsthand with his aging father. And after his dad's death, he learned how pockets of information among care teams were not shared in a meaningful way that might have delayed the fateful event.
Shah realized there was no easy mechanism for care teams from different providers to share information that could help patients age in place, so he set out to create one. Now he is CEO of Dina, which makes an AI-powered platform for care-at-home models.
Seven out of 10 people require assisted living care in their lifetimes. Studies show that most elderly people would prefer to stay at home and age rather than be moved to an assisted living facility.
Healthcare IT News sat down with Shah to discuss health IT's role in aging in place.
Q. Please describe the experience you had with caring for your aging father, and what you learned about information not being shared in a meaningful way.
A. Anyone who has cared for an aging parent knows it can be a challenging experience. Shortly after my previous company, Medicity, was acquired by Aetna, my father suddenly passed away. Unfortunately, this is something that you hear a lot in healthcare ventures – there's often a personal connection.
In my case, I'm trying to solve a problem that our family experienced. My dad was a senior citizen. He was being seen by in-home caregivers and in and out of senior centers.
After he passed unexpectedly, we spent time with those folks who saw a meaningful decline coming, and yet that information wasn't being shared with the formal healthcare team, definitely not his insurance company, and not with his family in a way that we could intervene to try to change his care trajectory. They were an untapped resource with a critical and objective perspective.
At Medicity, we were serving 1,300 hospitals, facilitating lots of data exchange across hospitals, primary care and labs, but nothing we were doing was ever going to touch the home and community. And as I dug into it more and more, I found that my story, unfortunately, is not unique. It's going to be one that grows in nature.
So, both out of professional and personal need, we looked for an opportunity to organize the home and community-based care ecosystem and make it easier for health systems, ACOs and health plans to extend their reach and visibility into the home, in an effort to help people maximize their healthy days at home. We launched Dina in 2015, and we've been very focused and committed to bringing the vision to life.
As an industry, we have two problems to solve. One is when you are a really engaged family caregiver. How do we make life easier for that person? The second is, how do we give less-engaged family members the visibility into what's happening with a loved one?
For us at Dina, that means how do we activate and coordinate the very best in-home care, and how do we unlock visibility into how that care is progressing to the people who are typically not part of that process, such as insurance companies, physicians, health systems, etc.

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