Care Innovations refocuses, consolidates

This is a long-overdue reorganization by Care Innovations, which had been regarded by many as the place their two parents put the devices that no longer fit their rescaled business directions. Initially too, there was a visible split in branding between the Intel devices and the sole GE contribution, QuietCare, which kept their parents’ names long after their transfer. Certainly the company’s low profile over the last two years has been a puzzle to industry observers. CI spent much time and treasure in replacing a significantly outdated bit of inherited kit (the original Intel Health Guide PHS6000, a/k/a the ‘white box’) with a Windows 7 PC/tablet Guide splashed at ATA 2011 [TA 6 May 2011]–and then went quiet save for the Humana pilot (starting in 2011 with the Intel Guide). The wholly new Connect followed it in July [TA 22 July 2011]; beyond the initial pilot, silence. Even QuietCare, which arguably had the largest customer base dating from Living Independently Group and GE Healthcare days, had little news to offer those of us who still value and advocate telecare.

From a marketer’s POV, this lack of buildup is atypical especially given the size of the company, its backing and sizable technology investment. How much of this was due to the split organization, management setup, shifting priorities, ‘pilot-itis’ or a lack of internal coordination is unknown.

Another factor: CEO Burns makes the apt point in the Versel interview that the current offerings are standalone devices, with the intent that future versions will have better connectivity with health IT systems, EHRs and other companies’ health devices. Almost exactly the point as made by this Editor back in July 2011 with the Connect announcement: But it also continues to puzzle that each CI device is standalone and doesn’t integrate with other CI systems such as QuietCare sensor-based residential monitoring–primarily in senior communities–or Care Innovations Guide in telehealth, when it would be to their distinct advantage to demonstrate their interoperability capabilities. Is that not the point?

Interoperability starts at home and has been long overdue. If CI reboots itself into a developer and marketer of effective, cost-saving, clinical time-saving and flexible, integrated care systems for LTC providers which facilitate better long-term health and older adult independence, that will not only occupy a unique position in the field, but also will be a healthy and needed boost for telehealth and telecare no matter the setting.