Assume On-Demand, In-Home Services as the New Standard
May 9, 2015 08:31 AM
A number of new technology driven business platforms are providing greater access to in-home services to disabled and seniors customers who expect to age-in-place at home, in their community. From Amazon to Uber, these and other companies are entering markets where more traditional private duty home care services companies have been operating, and offering them new completion. “With a renewed focus on aging-in-place and the development of electronic care plans for long-term services and supports (eLTSS), the disable and elderly will benefit greatly from the expansion of these technology enabled in-home services,” stated Richard Brennan, Executive Director of the Home Care Technology Association of America.
One such startup that could alter the senior care landscape by offering on-demand in-home services is set to launch this month in Contra Costa County, California, then throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The service, called Honor, is being compared to Uber, the smartphone app that enables people to request and automatically pay for car rides on an as-needed basis. Honor is the brainchild of Seth Sternberg who was co-founder and CEO of Meebo, an instant messaging and social networking service provider that Google acquired in 2012.
Honor is web-based service that matches home care providers with clients and to provide in-home monitoring so that family members can keep track of the care a loved one is receiving. Honor gives seniors what the company calls an Honor Frame, which lets them know who the caregiver is and when he or she is arriving. Caregivers are screened and matched to seniors based on their expertise, and families are shown who took care of their family and what activities they did, as well as how long the caregiver was at the home through a smartphone app.
While Honor specifically is a new model for home care, Sternberg believes the company might just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how technology can be harnessed to profoundly alter both the way older Americans secure and receive services and the way in which professional caregivers do their jobs and get paid.
Amazon also recently announced it was starting Amazon Home Services, which provides consumers with a list of vetted and insured professionals that provide home services to do things like mount a new television or make home repairs with scheduling and price quotes available through its checkout process. Amazon Marketplace already has 2.4 million offers from customers with over 700 kinds of services.
Uber, the San Francisco-based ride service company announced that it is expanding its transportation services specifically for the elderly and individuals living with disabilities as part of its UberACCESS and uberASSIST ride offerings. With UberASSIST, Uber has trained uberX partners on the necessary knowledge and safety requirements for those with accessibility needs. With UberACCESS, Uber is growing its wheelchair accessible vehicle supply, transforming disabled transit and allowing on demand pickups within minutes instead of days. The Uber app allows those needing an “extra hand or access to wheelchair accessible vehicles to request safe and reliable rides at the tap of a button,” Uber stated in its announcement of the new services available to San Diego, California residents.