Get Lively with GeriJoy and SmartBells

Friday, August 23, 2013

Editor’s note: Below is a report from the 10th Annual Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit to help providers think outside the box of traditional home medical equipment.   

The 10th Annual Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit was a two-day conference at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley on June 25-26 put on by Mary Furlong, Ed. D., a leading authority on baby boomers (author of “Turning Silver into Gold”), a serial entrepreneur, and a professor in the Graduate School of Business. The conference brings together venture capitalists and other investors with entrepreneurs, promoting cutting edge services and products for the aging baby boomer.


“Aging in place” was a common buzzword. Internet or smartphone-based devices/services, along with sophisticated home monitoring equipment, seemed to be everywhere. Besides the numerous investors and venture capitalists, there were representatives from Google, Yahoo, Macromedia, Comcast Ventures, United Healthcare, AARP, Kaiser Permanente and Blue Cross/Blue Shield looking for investment opportunities and potential acquisitions. There was not much new in the way of respiratory products or traditional home medical equipment.

New products/services

Jobscout – An interactive website to help teach Internet job-finding skills to baby boomers who are working longer. – A national directory of more than 75,000 homecare facilities and services, including assisted living, day care, home health agencies, memory care and hospices with user ratings. It’s like Zagat ratings for home care.  

Eldercare resources  – A gentleman I spoke with had purchased the rights for this Internet listing service for northern California, which will also include listings of local DME companies for a monthly fee.

Carevium – Software to help with patient referral and care management with mobile apps for senior living centers, home nursing agencies and families. 

Kickstart Walking Systems – A wearable medical device that helps stroke survivors and people with other neurological conditions regain the ability to walk.

Silver Ride – A transportation, accompaniment and courier service for seniors.

GeriJoy – A virtual, interactive pet on a handheld computer to help combat loneliness and depression. It responds when you pet it and has conversations with you, all of which is monitored by the company staff.

GrandCare Systems – A computer-based home monitoring system with a touch-screen device to monitor blood pressure, activity and medications. It also allows for social networking on Facebook, Twitter and other sites.  

Lively – A service using devices with passive motion sensors placed around the house to monitor a senior’s routines like activity, meals and taking medication. It includes a newsletter every two weeks with photos and short messages from their family.

SmartBells - A hand-held, ring-shaped exercise device said to be the opposite of a dumbell to help with stretching and movement. It includes a holder for a smartphone to access a video app that guides you through exercise routines.

In the works

Some products and services not yet on the market but looking for financing (a $10,000 prize was offered for the best business plan with 5-minute presentations to a panel of venture capitalists):

OpenPlacement – An Internet-based tool to assist discharge planners, professionals and family members in dealing with care transition by matching facility openings, services, cost and user ratings with prospective patients. No longer will discharge planners have to give the family a list of local facilities for them to research and select with a day or two notice.

Q-Medic – A wristband smart PERS (personal emergency response system) device with a gyroscope, an altimeter and air pressure sensor that can monitor physical activity, sleep and falls 24 hours a day. It has a one year battery life. The PERS units available now with a push button have a high failure rate since seniors either don’t wear them because of their short battery life or they don’t push them when they fall because they don’t want anyone to know. The largest company in the field has a device that automatically alerts for falls but has a high rate of false positives.

Chemopatch – A new design for a low-cost patch for subcutaneous infusion (under not through the skin) of cancer chemotherapy drugs.

Emergency Link – A smartcard that allows you to store medical information and includes an emergency response service.

Resido Medical – A device worn on the wrist to help the millions of Medicare patients reduce essential tremors, different from Parkinson’s Disease, without drugs or brain surgery. Drug therapy has only about a 50% success rate due to low effectiveness and side effects. Many patients are resistant to awake-brain surgery. This company won the $10,000 prize.

Michael Kuller, RPh, is the author of “The Next Step-Retail Home Medical Equipment.” Reach him at