Why do we continue to offer part time solutions for full time conditions that need caregiving?!?
AN INTERVIEW WITH ROBIN FISCHER BLATT, envoyatHome
An intriguing question posed by the co-founders that led to exactly why envoyatHome is now in 29 states and growing as an award winning caregiver's support system for behavior discovery and analysis. I had the chance to chat with Robin Fischer Blatt, a co-founder at envoyatHome, who is an amazing female leader in the tech industry helping to grow her Age Tech company. They generate data from an at-risk patient’s behavior to discover potential safety, cognitive, dementia, compliance, and wellness concerns that require action by caregivers.
It is called Passive Behavior Discovery. As Robin describes, "The New England Journal of Medicine reports that behavior is the most significant determinant of health at 40%. Medicine is only 10%! This principle, combined with the research of recognized experts in behavior sensing at the University of Pennsylvania, validate for us that behavior is the right paradigm upon which to innovate envoyatHome." Robin further explains, "Our behavioral approach is the confluence of years of work to address a real paradox – how can we provide the information that really matters to remote caregivers while at the same time, be practically invisible to the client under care? We turned to our users for the answer. Our clients tell us what they care about; that mom’s nights give her good days, dad isn’t eloping again, grandma doesn’t have another UTI, and uncle’s anxiety meds are actually improving his quality of life. Especially for older adults facing cognitive challenges or who don’t want to risk their independence by asking for help, envoyatHome’s behavioral approach is ideal. What makes it ideal? We ask NOTHING of the person under care. No wearables, cameras, listening devices, charging, or buttons which can be a challenge for cognitively impaired patients."
The motivation behind the development of envoyatHome was "another case of necessity as the mother of invention-including the mother." Robin shared that Rob Blatt, another Co-Founder, while mourning the loss of his father, realized that he and his sister had
become responsible for the care of his mother. "Like so many others, he found himself a
remote caregiver. He saw remote caregiving as having blind spots and assumptions – what choice was there but to hope for the best?" Hope wasn’t enough for Rob.
Rob’s background is financial technology. "FinTech is all about generating the highest quality data and putting it to work towards a goal. Rob couldn’t help but think that data held the answer to his remote caregiver problem. He scoured the market for a solution that would give him peace of mind while respecting his mother’s privacy, dignity, and independence – a nonnegotiable. Sadly, the market offered nothing. Rob brought on a partner and took matters into his own hands to build envoyatHome." Robin later joined as a co-founder to help commercialize the innovation and bring it to market.
I shared with Robin that I enjoyed an interview I heard with Rob on a Positive Aging spotlight. It was fascinating to hear a testimonial about how envoyatHome addresses safety risks and allows caregivers a way to use Digital Age technology to mitigate the safety risk and cognitive risks for their loved ones when they cannot be with them 24/7. He also shared how envoyatHome utilizes common consumer smart home sensors with their innovative software to discover behavior that puts people at risk, which opens the possibilities to be endless. Their approach is incredibly innovative while at the same time approachable for so many of the caregivers out there trying to balance everything in their lives while still wanting to be there to care for their loved ones. Robin shared that envoyatHome is committed to lifting the caregiver burden while not jeopardizing the care recipient's safety and autonomy. "I’d like to say that as important as the science is, the Customer Experience is critical. It’s a point of pride for us and our nurse consultants who made invaluable contributions to the user experience. The goal is simple - to make it easy for caregivers to love envoyatHome. Our obsession with a frictionless user experience starts from the moment a caregiver visits our website to our simple start up process through the caregiver’s ongoing relationship with the product."
EnvoyatHome was recently recommended by agingingplace.org as the 2022 AND 2023’s best decision support tool for caregivers of older adults with dementia. I can see why; having been a former caregiver myself on a couple of occasions, the concept is intriguing. During our conversation, Robin posed the question, "why are we offering part time solutions for full time conditions that need caregiving?" and I cannot agree more. The solutions for caregivers are in desperate need of innovation. Caregivers, especially women, are really feeling the brunt of the current caregiving crisis in America. It is sad to see how so many caregivers are having to quit their jobs, sacrifice their hard-earned assets and give up their lives. It is certainly an act of love, but it doesn't have to be filled with so much burden and hardship. I love how envoyatHome is providing the support for caregivers to transition back into the workforce. As Robin indicated, "our family caregivers are looking for a path back to the workforce. Employers enjoy fewer unplanned absences and more productive employees - this one is for you, employee benefits managers!"
Robin is an inspiring female in the world of technology and is paying it forward by mentoring other women selected by their Fortune 100 companies as having a high potential for strategic leadership roles. "Many women in AgeTech are making similar professional transitions by leveraging their deep subject matter expertise or years of management experience to consult or to start a company. Since AgeTech is a nascent, fragmented industry, we ALL come from somewhere else, don’t we?"
When asking Robin what advice she has for women in the Agetech industry she responded with these words of wisdom; "The operative word in AgeTech, in my opinion, is 'Tech.' By definition, tech means exhilarating, maddening, energizing, confounding, beautiful, and unrelenting change. I assert that most technology has the shelf life of a banana and customers are all-powerful, so disruption can happen quickly. Embrace the chaos, because in chaos lies opportunity." This resonated with me, as I am a former senior living executive of over 20+ years before entering the world of AgeTech as a female. It was the role of caregiver and mom that led me to diversify my contributions of care to older adults without having to sacrifice everything in my personal life for my work.
Speaking of senior living, I inquired with Robin how their solution works with the senior living ecosystem as caregivers. Robin explained that they have family caregivers whose
loved ones are in senior living. "The inconvenient truth is that senior living isn’t senior care,
and the same workforce challenges faced when aging at home haven’t really changed in
senior living. Families use envoyatHome as a supplement to the convenience services their
loved ones receive in senior living and for some, envoyatHome validates that contracted
services are actually delivered. Unfortunately, unreliable service delivery resulting from the
workforce challenges you note is a common problem. We challenge senior living to flip the script. Not only is a technology based service a potential revenue source, if used internally as a validation tool they can address service delivery issues before they’re visible to families. We call the concept High Touch with High Tech and it really resonates with our customers."
So, what is on the horizon for envoyatHome? "We’re really excited about using AI and analytics to drive interventional potential for envoyatHome behavior data. We’re also working on behavior discovery and data for the digital healthcare ecosystem – Payvidor networks, health data exchanges, EHRs, home health etc. We received a grant from the State of New Jersey to use AI to explore these concepts. We’re intrigued by data-forward use cases like AI for clinical interventions envoyatHome as the 'digital bridge' between an at-risk patient at home and personalized service delivery from the care ecosystem. Today we see biometric monitors connecting patients to agencies or call centers, and we believe the
addition of behavior to the monitoring will greatly improve efficacy and frankly compliance – you have to consciously step on a scale or affix a device, but envoyatHome is passive, always on, and requires no interaction from the patient and creates data from that behavior. At its heart envoyatHome is a data company, and putting that data to work is what excites us. Digital caregiving is our first use case for envoyatHome; behavior discovery and data. We have more use cases in the pipeline."
Well Robin, it excites me too. I can't wait to see the progression of envoyatHome and how it will help so many caregivers fill that gap of when they can't be with their loved ones 24/7. They are currently on the market today for consumers and enterprises nationwide. They have pricing models for family caregiver consumers, distributors, and volume users like providers, payers, home health, in-home care, employee benefits, and senior living.
In going to market and commercializing their innovation, Robin pointed out, "figuring out how to reach our buyers was the biggest commercialization decision we had to make. In the early days we built a distribution model which produced a lot of enthusiasm but lackluster results. We pivoted to a new route to market, and the pipeline filled up! In hindsight we should have pivoted sooner, but we were distracted by the enthusiasm. We had to get real about differentiating enthusiasm from opportunity, and that’s where data comes in. We use standard SaaS metrics and data, data, and more data to make decisions about the business; including our commercialization decisions. "
EnvoyatHome's market share is currently just in the United States, but they have their eye on the global market for a later strategy. "We love ALL our new clients but we get particularly excited when we add a customer from a new state – thank you, New Mexico! While we receive calls from all over the world - Canada, Spain, Mexico, South American countries, South Africa, Australia, Israel, India - at the moment we’re focused on our US footprint. Not because the product won’t work globally (techie alert – going global is why we chose a commercial smart home platform with global sales and support) but because knowing when to say no is the hardest part of commercializing a product. I realized sales were really taking off when I revised the map for our pitch deck. Not all our investors have sales operations backgrounds, however, for a quick visualization of our progress, we color code a map. Our success began to feel real when I saw a lot of real estate in color!"
It has been exciting getting to know envoyatHome as new members of the GAIL. When asked about the appeal of the GAIL membership, Robin suggested that "one of the main reasons we joined the GAIL, Amy, is to explore partnerships, collaborations, and joint go to market initiatives. We’re particularly interested in arrangements that have a value proposition for envoyatHome Behavior Data at scale – both generating Behavior Data at population scale and putting envoyatHome Behavior Data to work in the digital healthcare ecosystem."
Hear that members... if you are interested or know someone who might be interested in collaborating with envoyatHome please reach out to Robin (robin@envoyatHome.com) or myself (email@example.com) for an introduction. It was an absolute pleasure having the opportunity to chat with Robin about envoyatHome's amazing journey in the Agetech space and I can't wait to hear more! Check them out more here on their website.