Consumer-Driven Innovation in Action: New Services and Business Models

In the previous post about the Healthcare Unbound Conference, Ryan Frederick commented that the time for change is now and that in order to create meaningful change we need to (1) focus on the consumer and (2) design innovative business models.   LeadingAge and LeadingAge CAST co-sponsored a session – Innovative Technology-Enabled Care Models – which truly brought these two important themes to life.

The panel discussion was moderated by Scott Peifer, Executive Director of AgeTech California.  The panelists represented 4 of the 18 organizations that were featured in a recent LeadingAge CAST report entitled Preparing for the Future: Developing Technology-Enabled Long-Term Services and Supports for a New Population of Older Adults.  The provider case studies did a fantastic job of highlighting consumer-centered service design and business model innovation.  It was great to see Aging 2.0 ideals in action!

Good Samaritan

First up was Bill Anderson PhD who is in charge of Quality, Innovation and Change Engineering at Good Samaritan Society.  Good Samaritan was founded in 1922 and today serves more than 27,000 people across the continuum of long-term care at 240 locations nationwide.  Recognizing that Good Samaritan was “overleveraged in an old model,” Dr Anderson and his team were tasked with “disrupting themselves” and moving the organization into new businesses.  With this, they began an intentional journey of innovation guided by 5 great questions: What is? What matters? What if? What wows? And what works? As a result of their consumer research and willingness to develop new business models, Good Samaritan now offers two new, innovative services – LivingWell@Home and AssistedLiving@Home.

Realizing its place as a national leader in senior care and services, Good Samaritan is positioning itself as a leader in developing innovative solutions for the future.  In March 2012, Good Samaritan opened the doors to Vivo, their Innovation for Well-being Center and exciting things are happening already including design challenges and an upcoming design thinking workshop to develop an innovative community concept on 20 acres of land with housing services, retails and businesses specifically targeted at an aging population.

Front Porch

Next up was Kari Olson, CIO of Front Porch and President of Front Porch Center for Technology Innovation and Wellbeing.  Front Porch is a network of not-for-profit communities offering a range of senior living levels of care and affordable housing. The Front Porch Center for Technology Innovation and Wellbeing is a place for residents, staff, research partners and technology companies can collaborate to identify potential opportunities, test them out, find the ones that work and then rapidly deploy the solutions.

Front Porch partners with companies of all sizes to help them “Listen, Learn, Plan and Implement” new technologies for wellbeing.  Front Porch works with large technology companies like GE-Intel’s Care Innovations as well as smaller startups like Dakim and LifeBio.  If you’re looking for a research partner to help you beta test your product or service, the Front Porch Center is a great resource.


The excitement continued with a presentation by Sheri Peifer, Vice President of Research and Strategic Planning at Eskaton.  Eskaton provides residences, community services and healthcare to support the independence and quality of living for more than 14,000 older adults annually throughout northern California.  Eskaton’s goal is to “invent the future of aging services” and they are well on their way:

  • They built a Livable Design Demonstration Home to showcase how universal, barrier-free design and assistive technology can support aging in place.

  • They introduced Live Well at Home with Eskaton, which provides a package of services, resources and activities to support successful aging and independence (similar to the Beacon Hill Village model).

  • They integrated Care Innovations’ QuietCare® technology throughout their independent living, assisted living and memory care communities.

  • They developed and deployed eLiving, an easy-to-use social connection portal for residents, families and friends to stay connected to each other and the larger community.

  • They have a “geek squad” who are trained and deployed to help Eskaton residents and members with technology.

The full list of person-centered innovation initiatives can be found here.  Eskaton is definitely a key player to watch as they innovate toward their vision to Transform the Aging Experience. I’m impressed and hope to visit Eskaton in the near future!

Evangelical Homes of Michigan

Last but not least, Denise Rabidoux, CEO of Evangelical Homes of Michigan, wowed the audience with details about their innovative LifeChoices program. Evangelical Homes of Michigan (EHM) is a not-for-profit organization that provides healthcare, housing and community services to seniors and their families throughout Southeast Michigan. In May 2010, EHM launched a new service called LifeChoices™ - an innovative continuing care at home program, sometimes referred to as a virtual retirement community or a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) without walls.

LifeChoices is an excellent example of business model innovation. The program essentially combines long term care insurance with long term care services.  Members are charged a one-time membership fee ($30k-$50k based on actuarial calculations) plus an ongoing monthly fee (~$400).   Membership includes 100% coverage for all core services, including wellness & education, medical options, advocacy & care management, hospitality & environmental services, and some home & community based services, and technology.   The LifeChoices Solutions program complements LifeChoices by helping members find solutions to support or assist with aging in place such as assistive technology and home modifications (by antonio).  Members are paired with a lifestyle coach to who not only helps them navigate the healthcare system, but also becomes a trusted advisor and resource for designing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  With the unique business model and person-centered approach, it’s not surprising that audience members flocked to Denise after her presentation to pick her brain about the model.

Kudos to LeadingAge and LeadingAge CAST for organizing such a great panel! 

Readers - What do you think of these innovations? We encourage you to send us information about other organizations who are leading the way with service and business model innovation.


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