The Living Independently Group, a New York City based, privately held company was co-founded by John Lakian and George Boyajian, Ph.D. The CFO is Walter Bembenista and the COO is Robin McVey. It is a strong executive group with substantial expertise in investment banking, biotechnology, and home health security. Venture capital investors include Valence Capital, Loeb Partners and current investors. A 2006 financing of $10 million, led by Valence, will be used to enhance the product line, increase USA market penetration, and build market presence in the UK. In October of 2006, it was announced that Telemetry Systems, Inc. (TSI), a leading systems integrator and provider of home and business security solutions, would serve as a National Master Distributor for QuietCare.
QuietCare® is a 24/7 early detection and warning system that enables caregivers to monitor a senior or patient remotely, recognize potential health problems and intervene so as to avoid emergencies or more serious medical problems. There is no video or audio intrusion. The service was launched in 2002, and was the first commercially available solution of its kind. It was designed to meet the needs of approximately 35 million seniors who live alone in the US.
The QuietCare website is very user-friendly. Service benefits are clearly explained, there is a useful family assessment guide, and it's a simple matter to make contact with the company for further assistance. The home page notes that the service has received broad media exposure, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and NBC Weekend Today.
A recent article on QuietCare in the Sarasota Herald Tribune merits our close attention. Key points from the article follow.
a. The service costs $400 for installation and activation, and $149.95 a month. The service also includes a two-way radio emergency alert system.
b. Typically, infrared motion sensors are installed in the refrigerator (Detect meal preparation), in the kitchen, inside and outside the bathroom, in the bedroom, and other activity areas. Most homes have six sensors, but some have as many as a dozen.
c. After installation, the off site computer measures daily living routines for 10 days, to establish a baseline activity pattern.
d. It works with people who live alone, so that any motion can be traced to a single occupant.
e. Privacy issues are minimized, since there are no camera's or microphones.
f. The family member, whether a mile or 500 miles away, can visit a password protected web site to get a quick status report. Deviations from normal behavior are flagged and communicated to the family member by cell phone and email alerts.
g. Four states have approved QuietCare for Medicaid reimbursement (Florida's Medicaid is not one of them).
h. It hasn't been proven that QuietCare, or other such technologies, actually delay institutionalization, one of the primary reasons for their development. However, such studies are likely, as more new products hit the market.
In sum, this product, and others like it, hold great promise for keeping loved ones at home for as long as possible. If the service can demonstrate real cost savings to the system, we'll see widespread insurance coverage , and significant product growth.