As the world population ages, caregiving companies become more and more in demand. But the clients of such business have very specific needs. Care cannot be served just like another cup of tea. It’s a constant and sometimes unpredictable process which requires a lot of effort and attention.
Though, some of this effort may be automated through technology. The challenge is how to develop an integrated solution, which covers staffing, clients’ acquisitions, orders management, and other critical matters for a caregiving company. In this article, we will share our experience.
The Challenge of the Aging World Population
According to the research of “The Design-led Innovations for Active Ageing project” (DAA), by 2060 almost a third of the EU population will be over 64 years of age. In the USA people older than 65 will reach 88 mln by 2050, says US Census Bureau. “The aging of baby boomers means that within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history,” said Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau.
According to the UN “World Population Ageing” report, between 2015 and 2030, the number of people in the world aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 56% to 1.4 billion. And by 2050 the global population of older persons is projected to reach nearly 2.1 billion.
The Complexity of Senior Care
The older people get, the more help they need. Though they might not be so capable of physical or mental activity as they were earlier, seniors still strive for a meaningful healthy life just like everyone else at any age. The difference (and the challenge at the same time) is that they have much more limited opportunities for activities:
They might not be able to go to networking parties, they need people coming to them instead.
They require more physical help like cleaning, shopping, preparing meals, etc.
Some need constant reminders to take pills.
Some need help with taking a shower or walking out.
Seniors require solutions that would maintain the quality of their life as high as possible. And tech companies can be of great help here and provide tech solutions for better care. Lack of time or relevant skills or both prevent the younger generation from resolving all the issues on their own and help parents lead a more meaningful life. So, a handy tech tool addresses the matter in various aspects. It gives more clarity and control over the situation, saves time and effort for everyone involved in senior care.
The market also provides a lot of opportunity for creating such tools. Since there are many actual needs that elderly people have on a daily basis. For example, seniors’ transportation is a big issue. People who can’t move on their own become deprived of social life and require constant help with food, hygiene, and medicine supply. Relevant home technologies might eliminate the danger of senior falling and having health problems afterward. Wearable devices take control of the physical state of an elderly person: tracking pressure, temperature, pulse, etc. Technology that improves communication between seniors, their family, and care providers would also be in great demand. Especially for the cases when an elder person requires constant medical assistance.
Advanced Tech Product for Old-line People
Developing IT-solutions for the elderly has significant challenges on the user side. The architecture and UI\UX must be really easy to comprehend. Aging people are often unwilling to adopt a technology or learn something new. Hence, if you want to create a senior care product you will need to work on these difficulties to come up with a simple tool.
Another thing to bear in mind that about half of your inbound leads won’t be seniors themselves but their family members. So the product has to convince both buyers and users to give it a try.
The Wendy Case
Complicated as it may seem still it is possible to create such a digital product. Let’s have a look at a solution that we developed for one of our clients — a tech system for a caregiving company Wendy's Team.
Ms. Wendy Tong, the company’s founder and doctor by profession, had a basic iOS MVP. One of it’s biggest drawbacks was that it didn’t have any backend so inquiries and business processes had to be handled manually. For example, patients sent inquiries via text messages and the doctor had to call everyone back. Our target was to redesign the existing app and create a web integrated system that would be scalable in multiple markets.
We were constantly in touch with Wendy and her team members and get deep into all the company’s business and financial operations, to ensure that what we do is relevant and comfortable to use.
How we developed Wendy’s Team new mobile app
Ms. Tong was the only person in her company and she spent about 30-40 hours per week managing her 3 clients manually. We created a system that is now able to handle over 150 paying clients.
First, we shifted from a mobile MVP to the web integrated platform. We also developed a backend portal for the main company processes. The users can use various features which almost eliminated manual labor, such as:
Booking and canceling visits
Allocating team members
Making payments within the system (via Stripe)
Schedule multiple visits for months ahead
Choose favorite team members (they would receive visit notifications first)
What were the challenges and how we overcame them
The first challenge we encountered was that the senior audience was conservative in terms of technology. iOS MVP wouldn’t fit many people. Not all seniors use iPhones or smartphones at all. Some of them still use push-button phones. So we decided to develop an easy-to-use web solution instead of a mobile app. Thus, the clients did not have to download anything or even own a smartphone.
The second major challenge was to figure out the financial part. Again, the senior customers had a habit of paying with cash and didn’t feel like changing it. When we added Stripe for payment automation, only 10% of the clients were using the online payment option. Wendy’s Team had to teach and additionally motivate people to pay through the web site. But Stripe fit perfectly well. When clients paid through it, the caregivers would automatically receive their part of the money. Shortly, about 95% of clients were paying through the website.
Now Wendy’s team is able to receive new visits online, check reports on visits and payments. More than 80% of new clients came from our website. The system also allows Wendy to recruit new caregivers. All of that happened due to proper SEO optimization only. No additional advertising costs were necessary.
As you see, technology can really become a handy tool for a caregiving company. First, it diminishes the effort required for managing that kind of business. Second, it raises profitability and makes payments processing clear. Third, resolves recruitment matters.
Though this solution was made uniquely for Wendy’ Team, our expertise in elderly care needs became deeper in many ways and can be transferred to developing tech for other types of healthcare services. If you need a reliable technical partner to create and implement your own elderly care project, contact us to discuss your solution.