Dew-Anne Langcaon, Co-Founder & CEO, iHealthHome
While spectacular sunsets, pristine beaches, majestic mountains, and unsurpassed natural beauty set the Hawaiian archipelago apart from the rest of the world, there is a price to living in the paradise. High cost of living, a shrinking population due to the outmigration of workers, and being one of the fastest aging regions of the country are other distinctions held by the beautiful state, which is challenging every kupuna’s (which means grandparents or elders in the Hawaiian language) dream of aging at home. A unique blend of modernization and traditional ideologies, the island culture also embraces the belief that the young members of the family are responsible for taking care of their ‘kupuna’ and help them age with dignity in their family homes. Having been brought up with such values, Dew- Anne Langcaon, a former healthcare executive, desired to weave these principles and beliefs with entrepreneurship to develop technologies to alleviate some of the challenges of affordability for kupuna who want to age at home. In that spirit, she co-founded a senior care management and private home care company, Ho’okele Health Innovations, along with Bonnie Castonguay, a registered nurse. It was during this tenure that the duo realized the seniors and the families they were serving struggled with navigating the complex healthcare system, the vast amounts of paperwork, and frustrating inefficiencies that were involved in the home care management. “To this day, the home and the community-based care setting—a cottage industry—is dependent upon paper-based documentation and transactions,” says Dew-Anne. These manual processes make it extremely overwhelming and costly for everyone involved: caregivers, agencies, payers, and families.
Driven by this fervor, the two decided to develop a technology that would make it easier to coordinate care and to tightly manage caregivers and all of their tasks digitally, right at the point of care (home). This led Dew-Anne and Bonnie to lay the cornerstone for iHealthHome, a software-as-a-service company based in Seattle. iHealthHome offers an innovative, state-of-the-art, cloud-based care management platform that connects the entire care team to one another, enabling them to solve problems quickly and more efficiently. The platform integrates workflows, makes secure digital record-keeping available on mobile devices, and easily connects to remote patient monitoring devices in the client’s home. iHealthHome takes pride in being able to offer a uniquely differentiated software solution for care managers and home care providers that truly understand each customer’s pain points because it was designed by care managers for care managers.
A ‘Virtual Village’ of Care for the Elders
The iHealthHome software creates what Dew-Anne analogizes to a ‘virtual village’ for at-home eldercare.
The advanced communication and monitoring solution comprises a suite of secure, mobile, digital tools that enable seamless care coordination among medical professionals, family members, caregivers, and community resources. “The heart of the platform is the care management module called the Care Navigation System (CNS) and the client-centric database that underlies its architecture,” says Dew-Anne, the co-founder and CEO of the firm. The iHealthHome platform simplifies the process of managing different client care documentation and billing operations and by digitizing in-home workflows is capturing new types of health information that can help families and their physicians make staying healthy at home possible. Through this module, a personal profile is created for every senior client, where the details of their medical history, medications, and day-to-day activities, as well as their contact details and biometrics, are saved. Caretakers can log in on their mobile devices to a client’s profile to view their responsibilities and the tasks delegated to them, and update the details as and when the tasks are completed. The software improves the communication with and accountability of caregivers which enables greater efficiency as well as important information about the senior to enhance their medical decision-making. In this manner, the iHealthHome system enhances the quality of care and alleviates the overall associated medical cost, thus, proving to be a better alternative to traditional inpatient care.
The iHealthHome software creates what Dew-Anne analogizes to a ‘virtual village’ for at-home eldercare
For example, coordinating the different home care activities, including assisting the elderly in performing routine tasks, such as bathing, eating, and exercising while ensuring they take their daily dose of medications can be a complex challenge for caretakers. iHealthHome’s software helps care managers track all of these different chores effortlessly. “So, if the elderly patient stands on the measuring scale or has her/ his blood pressure taken, the information goes directly via Bluetooth to the system, where the healthcare provider can access it to offer the appropriate intervention,” affirms Dew- Anne.
Improving Care Outcomes with Higher Efficiency and Lower Cost
With the HIPAA-compliant iHealthHome platform, care teams have two-pronged benefit. Firstly, the platform improves overall workflow efficiency.
By digitalizing and automating all of the different manual processes—from assessments and plans of care to scheduling, mobile documentation, electronic visit verification and billing— the platform allows care managers to increase their caseload management capability effectively. “By adopting iHealthHome, we were able to increase our care manager’s caseloads by decreasing the time they spent on paperwork by 45 percent,” says Ginger Jones, CEO of Indiana-based Diversified Nurse Consultants, an iHealthHome customer. Secondly, the platform also provides improved communication between care managers and on-field caregivers. Usually, when caregivers are operating at a client’s home, there is no proper visibility into the tasks they carry out. Hence, care agencies are unable to monitor if the actions are being done as planned. However, with iHealthHome, care managers can supervise operations executed by the field agents in real-time, including the hours clocked by the caregivers and hold them accountable for not meeting the clients’ needs.
To further elucidate such expertise of iHealthHome, Dew-Anne cites the success story of National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, a non-profit organization. Part of the National MS society’s mission is to deliver high-quality case management services to people living with multiple sclerosis and dealing with complex issues that affect their ability to live safely and independently. However, the client’s manual and paper-based data collection and analytics processes made it extremely difficult for the case managers to handle the tasks swiftly. In light of this, the iHealthHome software automated all of National MS Society’s case management process. Alongside this, the platform also made it easier for the client to track the overall needs of MS patients, which helped them identify the gaps in resources to support independent living for those diagnosed with the disease.
Facilitating a Future of Collaborative Care
Having developed an effective solution for digitalizing home care management, iHealthHome’s vision is to further boost the virtual village by next connecting smart home sensors, voice-controlled smart devices such as Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa to its platform. Together with this, the firm aspires to integrate cutting-edge technologies like AI and machine learning to expand the capabilities of the iHealthHome solutions. “This would help us in better understanding the relationship between social determinants and home activities to patient outcomes, assessing the variation in results for each client, and analyzing the use of home services,” mentions Dew-Anne. With such extensive plans underway, iHealthHome is poised to change the way quality of care is being delivered to the older community in the coming years.