CARE MANAGEMENT

Has Caregiving Reached a Tipping Point?

MAY 31
"Caregiving" may just be the next big buzzword in healthcare. While the concept of caregiving and the potential impact of caregivers across the healthcare system have been easy to comprehend, the realities of caregiving have historically been difficult to overcome. The combination of a fragmented healthcare delivery system, the emotional demands associated with providing care for a loved one, the stresses of everyday life, the lack of understanding about health conditions, and uncertainty about how to navigate the healthcare system have added up to prevent caregivers from living up to their perceived potential – until now. Just turn on your TV, read the news or visit your favorite website and you’ll see that companies addressing the needs of caregivers and their loved ones are proliferating. Players like AARP, with their initiative to provide caregiving resources to their members, and GreatCall, with its award winning GreatCall Currents caregiving blog, are starting to come off the sidelines and create market momentum. All of this recent activity got us thinking: has caregiving reached a tipping point?

According to Caregiving Club Founder and CEO, Sherri Snelling, the caregiving market started stabilizing about six years ago, circa 2011. Not coincidentally, it was about this time that a major market shift started taking place—caregivers started self-identifying with the term caregiver for the first time. While this may seem insignificant, this nation-wide shift was a catalyst that started transforming the caregiving market into something definable. As a result, players across the continuum were able to start addressing the needs of a segment they previously couldn’t reach. Although a number of innovative companies are capitalizing on this momentum, the market is still grossly underserved with an estimated 117 million caregivers needed by 2020. Not only is the market growing, but its currently swamped participants are desperate for a sophisticated caregiving network and technology solutions to deliver more comprehensive offerings.

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For years, TripleTree has been monitoring the market tailwinds that are creating the undeniable sense of urgency within this space. From obvious demographic shifts, like the Baby Boomers aging into Medicare and engaging the healthcare system more earnestly, to the less definable, such as how the Millennial generation is beginning to inject their expectations about technology into healthcare delivery, caregiving as an industry is beginning to shape itself in a big way. We’ve also seen the growth of tailored solutions that aide in solving different dimensions of health and wellness, from food and nutrition (Mom’s Meals), to transportation (Lyft), to in-home monitoring technologies (Vivify Health), to care coordination platforms (CareSync). When combined, these market forces and new capabilities create the perfect storm for caregivers. For once, caregivers are starting to have access to resources that help them understand their role, as well as resources that assist them in fulfilling it.

Last year, TripleTree recognized CareLinx, one of the companies that successfully caused much-needed disruption within the caregiving marketplace. As the winner of the 2016 TripleTree iAwards for Consumer Engagement, CareLinx has created a national platform that connects family caregivers directly with caregiving professionals, resulting in lower costs, better information about a loved one’s condition and caregivers, and more peace of mind about their loved one.

Additionally, we’ve found that systemic changes resulting from the Affordable Care Act have created additional tailwinds as payers, providers, hospitals, and health systems collaborate to focus on better outcomes at lower costs. This shift to value-based compensation models creates further momentum for caregivers, as they become the quarterback for integrated care teams. At the recent What’s Next Boomer Business Summit, a representative from SeniorLink summed it perfectly: “Caregivers are the enablers that allow the shift to value to actually happen.”

Furthermore, an influx of recent investing activity continues to demonstrate how caregiving has started to gain traction. Honor, a provider of in-home senior care, received an impressive $42M from Thrive Capital, with participation from 8VC, Andreessen Horowitz, and Syno Capital, late last year. Similarly, Hometeam, a care planning, caregiver matching, and caregiving services management platform, recently brought in over $30M from IA Ventures, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Lux Capital Management, Oak HC/FT, and others. This momentum is a direct reflection of the relatively new, still mostly untouched caregiving opportunity that’s becoming too large for investors to pass up.

Our continued work in the post-acute space reminds us that caregiving has always been a part of the care continuum; however, the daunting number of aging Baby Boomers coupled with the other market forces is making the fruition of caregiving less of an option and more of a necessity. The desperate need for a more sophisticated caregiving network is clear, and we’re excited to see where all of this demand and market momentum will lead as we continue to watch this space closely. In the meantime, let us know what you think.

Lexie and Michael
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Lexie Moening
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Michael Carroll