Health IT Firm Cariloop Expands to Include Wider Group of Caregivers

Dallas—A little over a year ago, Michael Walsh rethought his assumptions in using technology to disrupt the eldercare market.

He switched the objective of his company, Cariloop, from connecting seniors to appropriate care centers—using analytics software to make the match—to focusing on the family members around them who were navigating a new process figuring out elder health needs and associated services to make their loved one’s life easier.

Cariloop began to sell its Web-enabled service to employers who would provide it as part of an employee’s benefit package. The strategy shift worked, says Walsh, the company’s founder and CEO. Since that time, he says Cariloop has raised an additional $1.5 million (for a total of $2 million), added 10 more employees for a total of 15, and has gone from eight corporate customers to 30—with many of the new ones being large publicly traded companies with as many as 50,000 employees.

“When we made that pivot, we were positioning ourselves to help solve for eldercare issues, parents or grandparents,” Walsh says. “We realized that the challenges that employees face are even more complex and difficult than we originally hypothesized.”

Turns out, we not only need help in dealing with eldercare issues but with caring for relatives of all types and situations. “It’s just as common for you to be taking care of a spouse, sibling, cousin, adult child,” Walsh says. “We had to adjust our messaging to be not just for eldercare but all caregiver support scenarios.”

He says that while caring for elders tends to be for chronic conditions over a longer time frame, the struggles one faces when taking care of other family members, even for short periods, are the same. “It’s still, ‘How do I pick the right doctor?’ ‘How do we arrange transportation for the loved one?’ ‘Which home health provider fits best with my plan?’” Walsh says. “When you’re the caregiver, it’s all the same to you. You have to solve all these things and it’s complicated.”

Walsh says using Cariloop’s service has a direct impact on employee productivity. After all, he points out, people are usually dealing with insurance companies and healthcare providers during the workday when those offices are open. Cariloop did a pilot study with one of its customers, Brinker International, keeping track of the time that employees used the service. Walsh says they compared how long Cariloop—with its experts devoted full-time to such problems—took to resolve problems compared to what it would likely take employees working on these issues on their own. Walsh says they concluded Cariloop could resolve issues in about one-fourth the time.

Going forward, Walsh says Cariloop is looking to partner with third-party benefits providers like insurance companies that would offer Cariloop as part of a comprehensive plan. He says they also want to add pediatric specialists to Cariloop’s team. “We want to support children who have long-term illnesses, like cerebral palsy; those caregivers need support,” he says.

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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