As invaluable a resource as the Healthcare Informatics 100 compendium is, the “100” list encompasses only a small percentage of the total number of healthcare IT vendor companies active in the U.S. A much broader universe of smaller, dynamic vendor firms is always making inroads, and among that group are dozens of interesting companies worth knowing about. Over the next few days, we’re going to feature eight vendor organizations that we at HCI believe you should keep on your radar screen.
Much like Care Team Connnect, eCaring LLC grew out its founder’s experience of having trouble getting information about in-home care for a family member.
Robert Herzog’s business experience was in digital media, not healthcare. But seven years ago, as he kept hearing from friends and colleagues going through the same challenges he had faced in caring for his mother, he saw both an unmet need and a business opportunity.
Initially, Herzog created a system so that home health aides could easily enter data that family members could access. But then the world shifted toward managed care. “We started developing enterprise solutions for ACOs [accountable care organizations], patient-centered medical homes, and hospitals seeking to cut readmissions,” Herzog says. “This gives them a window into the home. They have electronic health record data from doctor visits, but the rest of the time the patient is in the home, and they had no way to know what is going on. With this data they can spot trends and collaborate with colleagues. It has led to timely interventions.”
Today, the New York City-based eCaring offers a web-based home health care management and monitoring system that enables everyone involved with home healthcare—from family members to home care providers to doctors—to receive information on the care, conditions, activities and status of home health care patients. eCaring provides services to home care agencies, geriatric care managers, eldercare professionals and assisted living facilities.
The company’s cloud-based system generates real-time data about a patient’s behaviors (such as eating, toilet patterns, mental and physical state) as well as activities of daily living. It tracks vital signs such as weight, blood sugar, temperature, and blood pressure.
Its CareTracker module provides an icon-based interface for aides and caregivers to enter patient care information. The CareJournal pulls together information on all activities and conditions of the home care recipient, highlighting special problems. CarePortrait provides customized views of critical information for all parties. And CareAlerts sends out alerts based on pre-selected criteria to notify providers and family members when conditions require immediate attention. In addition, a payroll module provides information about the time aides spend in the home.
The company has programs in place with a number of hospitals including Beth Israel and Maimonides Medical Center and care management organizations such as Jewish Home Life. The New York-based Morningside House Long Term Home Health Care Program partnered with eCaring, to demonstrate the effectiveness of eCaring’s care management solution in reducing the use of hospital services such as preventable emergency room visits, re-hospitalizations and doctor visits for high-risk geriatric patients. During the 90-day trial with Morningside House, officials from eCaring say they prevented nine ER visits, three hospitalizations, 12 doctor visits and three unplanned nurse visits for eight dual-eligible (Medicare and Medicaid) patients.
Among Herzog’s goals is to expand geographically beyond the East Coast. He expects eCaring, which has 10 employees, to grow to 20 in the next year.
“This can enable people to stay in their homes longer,” he says, adding that caregivers can watch trends over time and providers can get alerts if something requires attention right away. That can prevent small problems from becoming big problems.“When it is something serious, you can get them care immediately and decrease mortality and morbidity,” he says.