From classmates to co-founder/entrepreneurs, dedicated to transforming elder-care!
Hanson and Oscar met at UCLA Anderson, in FEMBA, and now they are co-founders of Reassure Analytics. We wrote the individual stories of Hanson Chang (FEMBA 2014) and Oscar Rodriguez, MD (FEMBA 2014), but now let’s hear what they are building together, their company Reassure Analytics, and Care|Mind, a breakthrough in elder care.
Dylan: So guys the enthusiasm you have to make a difference, to positively impact the quality of life of our elders, is inspiring. Tell our readers about this company and product you’re building.
Hanson: It was an idea conceived around the fact that technology solutions for elderly care have really been limited, and we wanted to do something for this population. I had been looking at this demographic and some product offerings available to them, and when I saw the archaic “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” emergency alert devices still in common use, I just thought there are really some advances in technology that can be offered here.
We’ve gone through a lot of pivots since the initial concept of the product, but we’ve landed on what the product is going to be now and are pretty close to getting a beta version out. It’s an app called Care|Mind, which leverages smartphone and wearable technology to allow users to monitor geolocation, heart rate, sleep, activity, and medications of their elderly loved ones and alert them if there are certain issues.
Users will not only be able to get this information in real-time through a dashboard, but the app will also provide trends and alerts for anything outside the norm. By bringing together real-time data with evidence from published clinical literature, we’ll be able to provide users valuable information to better take care of their loved ones, and allow users to be attentive to them whenever they need it most.
Oscar: Our elderly population is a forgotten group in healthcare. Many of the ailments they suffer are dismissed as just being part and parcel with “getting old”, even by trained clinicians. As such, our elderly get little attention, follow-up or therapy for many of their “minor” medical conditions. This not only reduces their quality of life as these conditions worsen but more importantly puts them at risk for more serious issues such as life-threatening fractures secondary to falls.
We hope to change this by providing users with insight into important aspects of their elderly loved one’s life. For example studies have shown that reduced total sleep is highly correlated with depression in the elderly. More importantly, it has been shown that when an elderly man gets less than 5 hours of undisturbed total sleep at night, he is at twice the risk of suffering a fall during the day. By alerting users that their elderly loved one is not getting enough sleep we enable them to seek out the right kind of help and hopefully prevent their loved one from having a serious fall.
Dylan: Wow, that’s great. How exactly does it work?
Hanson: By having their loved one wear a Fitbit and using the Care|Mind companion app on their loved one’s phone, data will be sent to the cloud where we’ll crunch the data to meaningful information and alerts that will be sent to users through the Care|Mind app.
From there, users would be able to do all those things I mentioned. We’re really excited about the amount of alerts that will be available, and outside of providing peace of mind for people about their loved ones, we really think this will help their loved ones lead healthier and happier lives.
Oscar: Hanson is touching on an important piece behind the spirit of our project. Nearly 90% of our senior citizens want to live in their own homes – not in a senior living community. However, as our elderly age they become more and more socially isolated due to death of a spouse, the passing away of friends and colleagues and/or the moving away of their grown children.
Studies have shown that this reduction in the size of their social network and diminished social contact puts them at increased risk for numerous serious conditions including cardiovascular disease, infectious illness, cognitive deterioration and even death. Early on in our project, a colleague of mine at work recounted the recent loss of his elderly father that really put this product in perspective for me. My colleague’s father insisted on staying in his home even after the loss of his wife, so my colleague and his siblings took turns checking in on their father regularly throughout the week.
Only one of the brothers, however, lived in the same city as their father so he made it a point to visit with his dad every other day. One day, the siblings began frantically calling and texting each other asking “have you talked to dad today?” because none of the siblings who lived out of state had been able to get a hold of him on the phone.
By the time the brother who lived locally was able to get to their father’s home it was too late. Their father had actually passed shortly after the brother had visited him two days prior. In this day and age, with the technology we have at our disposal, this should never happen to a family. Through Care|Mind we hope to keep people as connected as they can be while still respecting the independence of their loved ones.
Dylan: How soon is this going to be available, and how much will it cost?
Hanson: We’re anticipating we can launch the product by Fall of this year. We have quite a few plans to make the product even better after that, but right now we just want to see if people will like it. On the cost side, Oscar and I talked quite a bit about it, and ultimately we decided that we’re going to give it away for free. We truly believe this is going to be something that can help caregivers around the world, and it’s more important to us that we see this utilized and benefit as many people as possible, as opposed to charging a fee for downloading the app, or charging some service fee.
You can learn more about their product at www.reassureanalytics.com, and to subscribe to find out exactly when their product launches. If you’re interested in making a difference in our elderly population by helping with their product or want to be one of the first to test it out, send an email to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.