WellAWARE Systems raises US$7.5 million

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Another affirmative vote for telecare:  WellAWARE Systems of Charlottesville, VA announced an additional US$7.5 million in venture capital funding from Valhalla Partners and .406 Ventures.  This is in addition to their current investors, major non-profits The Evangelical Good Samaritan Society and Volunteers of America, which jointly represent 30,000 senior housing units and over 40 home healthcare agencies. WellAWARE’s sensor-based system and behavioral monitoring reporting were developed from initial research at the University of Virginia. It uses a sensor array for motion through the home and specialized sensors for impact/fall, bed strip, doors (for wander) and humidity/temperature (unattended bath/shower and stove) to generate 24/7 alerts and reporting in a SaaS format, plus optional PERS integration (via AMAC).  The company in its release states that it is ‘the leading developer of next-generation wellness monitoring solutions for senior care providers’.  This claim will not make GE Healthcare, which acquired its earlier-stage competitor QuietCare from Living Independently for an undisclosed sum last week, very happy.  Press release (Business Wire). WellAWARE website.

Update 11 December:  An interesting partnership for WellAWARE outside the usual ‘senior care’ area.  Opportunity Manor is a St. Cloud, MN-based non-profit that provides support for the disabled at 17 sites, and will use the system to enable increased independence in their residential settings.  Implementation is pending grant approval.  Release (website).

Comments

  1. Donna Cusano--Editor

    More telecare data–less understood? A possible solution?

    As a marketer, I cheer on competition in the telecare area, as it validates the category and forces all players to innovate more closely to the customer (or expire.)

    However all the data that is being generated is both a strength and weakness. Onsite clinicians and aides, for the average 100-200 people in an assisted living facility (ALF), have difficulty keeping up with normal duties, much less dig deeply into graphs and charts which may not be second nature to them. This training and extra work has been a sales stumbling block, for all the alerts and enhanced care that telecare enables. More uncompensated work becomes a negative and records can even imply a legal liability if an incident does happen (like emails in recent corporate fraud cases.)

    I suggest that call centers or teams similar to Paul Otellini’s (Intel) concept of ‘virtual clinicians’ (see July TA articles) become part of these systems. Emergency alerts would continue to be handled directly at the ALF (obviously). But what the ‘virtual clinicians’ would do is take on the duties of analyzing the reports generated by telecare systems, then alerting ALF staff to the implications of the data. They could also backstop emergency or serious alerts as an option.

    This doesn’t have to wait for ‘reform’.  There are companies in the field with call center operations that have more advanced medical alerting capabilities (e.g. AMAC) and health management companies (Aetna’s ActiveHealth, United Healthcare’s OptumHealth, WellPoint’s Resolution Health, and smaller independents like AllOne that are also into mobile) that have the bandwidth and the nursing staff to develop this into a lucrative business. This monitoring would increase cost but also reduce AL liability–and break open the independent living, home care and at-home markets which have similar ‘blocks’.

    Your thoughts?