A tech care platform meant to help improve care for people living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia has launched and is piloting with a regional medical practice.
The platform, Harmonic Health, is currently engaged in a pilot program with Stoney Batter Family Medicine, a family medical practice with over 24,000 patients within the Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland region. It launched out of Redesign Health, which has helped build more than 50 health care startups to date.
Harmonic Health helps coordinate care among dementia patients, their families and physicians by helping provide better access to telehealth, education, predictive care, and other kinds of support services.
Although the initial pilot is with a family medical practice, senior housing operators may also find use in the platform, according to CEO and Co-Founder Jim Gera. Talks are currently underway with several assisted living organizations, though Gera said he cannot identify them at this time.
“A typical patient visits their doctor one or two times per year. We talk with the patient one or two times per month,” Gera said. “[We are] speaking with them and their family, then coordinating that information with a doctor.”
Some of the patients that are in the pilot program in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maine are in some form of transition to senior housing. When a patient is moved into a memory care setting, the efforts shift to supporting the family caregivers, particularly with grief and depression services. The reason for doing so, Gera said, is because of the toll dementia takes on an entire family unit.
So far, there are several hundred patients taking part in the pilot in coordination with Stoney Batter Family Medicine.
The hope with Harmonic Health is to provide services for “an abandoned population,” according to Gera.
“I’ve been in healthcare for [more than] 20 years … there is nothing out there,” he said. “What we see is an opportunity to come in here and increase the amount of time, effort and expertise for those patients to provide the family and the patient with a constantly supportive service.”
Since the launch of the pilot, Gera said both patients and physicians have been happy with the early results, though there have been challenges along the way, including difficulties simply surrounding dementia care.
However, Gera added more resources are being put into memory care at this time, and incentives have begun to spring up over the course of the past year. Additionally, the plan for Harmonic Health is to begin rapid expansion within the next nine months.
“The idea is to go into about 30 to 40 states … to start providing more of these services, partnering with more health systems, to serve more patients,” Gera said.
For senior housing specifically, the plan is to begin helping residents earlier during their long term care and by providing additional services to the families transitioning residents so they are “better equipped and better adapted” to understand what is happening.