Healthcom partners with Vaica Medical

Israeli company debuts monitored telemedicine device, looks to 'conquer the market'
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Monday, May 4, 2009

DENVER—At the annual national conference of Homewatch CareGivers here on April 25, Healthcom, a PERS product provider and monitoring station based in Sullivan, Ill., announced the expansion of its offerings to include SimpleMed, a fully secure, monitored medication dispenser from Israel-based Vaica Medical. According to Vaica CEO Batami Sadan, the Healthcom partnership is just the beginning of Vaica’s expansion into the U.S. home healthcare market. “Healthcom is our first customer in the U.S. Currently there are few more in the process,” Sadan said in an email interview. “And, yes, we would like to conquer the market.”

According to Healthcom vice president John W. Strucke, SimpleMed is a much-needed aid and will allow dealers to help caregivers improve the quality of life of seniors as well as offer peace of mind. “The cheapest and simplest way to keep people out of the hospital is to stay on top of their meds … In healthcare today, the truth is that pills control the advance of chronic illness,” Strucke said. “Yet people 70-plus have an average of four pharmacies, seven doctors, and 16 different prescriptions. It’s daunting. Enter the strategy of not only using technology to organize and dispense the right pills, but to also be monitored by a central so that exceptions can be intervened upon.”

SimpleMed combines live monitoring with an alarmed pill dispenser to achieve safety and security. SimpleMed “records the fact that mom took her meds at the right time and in the right dose. If she misses her meds, it sends a signal to the server, which sends an email to the point person—the son or the daughter. It says, ‘It’s nine o’clock, your mom hasn’t taken her meds,’” Strucke said. “Just having a dispenser isn’t enough. You need to have it monitored by someone outside. Here what you have is a very simple and elegant device that’s affordable for monthly monitoring, and you can now monitor the medicine. We can create data in your mom’s residence, and list that to the Internet and then overlay that with other data to get a full picture—if something goes out of whack you can see it right away.”

Strucke also said the modern-day proliferation of recreationally-abused meds seniors possibly have on hand make theft by hired help a sad reality. “One of the problems that you have today, is a lot of seniors get what are called direct care workers in their home. They come in and they iron or they cook or they clean or it’s companionship—there’s this stream of people in seniors’ homes who come in and out,” Strucke said. “These medications have a street value. In particular, medications like anti-psychotics and painkillers. So it’s not extremely uncommon that these people become educated on what meds work on the street and they start to disappear from the home. The thing that’s cool about SimpleMed is that we get an alarm every time a compartment is opened … The way that you get all the Oxycontin out is to open all of the compartments. If all of the compartments are opened, we know that. By the end of the day, the person who was there when the machine was opened like that will be answering some questions.”