Entrepreneur of the Week: David S. Williams, Care3 Founder & CEO
Care3 elegantly combines patient and family engagement with post-acute care coordination on the same platform to improve outcomes and reduce costly hospital readmissions for underserved populations including seniors, people of color, and the disabled.
We spoke to founder and CEO David Williams about Care3 and the opportunity he sees in the 50+ market.
Longevity Network: What does Care3 do?
David Williams: Care3 elegantly combines patient and family engagement with post-acute care coordination on the same platform to improve outcomes and reduce costly hospital readmissions for underserved populations including seniors, people of color, and the disabled.
LN: Can you tell us about the product and how it works?
DW: Our cloud-based platform enables a Community Care Collaboration (C3) model to improve coordination of care and services. The C3 model surrounds the patient with a Care Team of not only family, but also professional care providers including care managers, in-home care providers, and other professionals.
The Care Team shares the care instructions to be delivered in the home and community through the Care3 “care-sharing” mobile app allowing for full visibility and accountability of tasks completed. Access to products and services needed to adhere to the care plan are delivered though Care3, thus helping families with overall clinical and lifestyle solutions to drive behavior, reduce unnecessary re-hospitalizations and improve overall outcomes.
LN: What opportunity did you see that you wanted to address with Care3?
DW: Care3 is inspired by my experience caring for my special needs son and the realization that the most vulnerable members of our society including seniors, people of color, and the disabled do not have equal access to healthcare and receive woefully inadequate quality of care in their homes and communities. Care3 is built to fix these unacceptable and unnecessary inequities.
Typically companies don’t build technology for the underserved. In fact, the unspoken rule of Silicon Valley is to create technology for the rich to get early adoption. Healthcare doesn’t always have that luxury. People need help now and waiting for the trickle-down effect to spread to underserved populations doesn’t help the people or the healthcare companies trying to serve them.
LN: What shortcomings did existing caregiving engagement products have?
DW: I’m very pleased that caregivers have choices in technology to use. The problem is most people aren’t using them. The existing caregiving engagement products don’t allow for collaboration with professionals around a central care plan.
A central care plan would bring patients, families and home and community-based health professionals together to optimize care and resources. Increased communication and visibility means fewer errors and less duplication. Home and community-based care has no accountability, but not following a care plan almost inevitably leads to poor outcomes.
LN: Who are your users?
DW: Our users are both consumers and professionals. Each group can use Care3 separately to achieve their goals, but the platform is maximized when consumers and professionals collaborate.
The consumers are the people who care for loved ones in underserved communities and the people themselves if they choose to participate on the platform.
On the professional side, discharge planners, care coordinators, case managers, social workers, home health nurses, home care aides, and other home and community-based providers use Care3 to improve communication, education, and access for consumers.
LN: How did you assemble your team?
DW: Care3 was founded by three former Aetna executives with successful entrepreneurial backgrounds in consumer and enterprise health technology.
Because Care3 must engage consumers while providing the power for the healthcare enterprise users, our founding team has a natural creative tension between our enterprise healthcare leader and our consumer product leader. We assembled this team because typical enterprise healthcare technology isn’t designed for consumer usage and without consumer engagement, firms have no way to materially change behavior and outcomes.
LN: How has what happened with Care3 differed from what you imagined would happen with Care3?
DW: Caregivers started using our Action Messages (patent-pending) sooner than we thought. An Action Message is a care task delivered as a text message (or media message) that has accountability attached to it. A caregiver can accept the task, which notifies the Care Team that the task will be done. Once completed, the caregiver can tap the “done” button notifying everyone of completion.
We thought it would take longer for caregivers to adopt this hybrid messaging/tasks behavior but we’re happy to say that we’ve seen a steady increase in Action Message utilization. What this means is that caregivers are sharing more and more care tasks with each other. Action Messages are what makes “care-sharing” possible.
LN: What do you wish you had known before developing the Care3 product?
DW: Nothing happens as quickly as anticipated. Whether it’s product development, user adoption, or business development, they all take longer than we expect. Sometimes that can be frustrating because we want to achieve our mission of helping those who need help most.
The funny thing is when we show others what we’ve accomplished thus far, everyone says we’re moving at lightning speed. It really doesn’t feel that way from the inside!
LN: What most excites you about health tech for the caregiving market?
DW: What gets me out of bed every morning (often before 4am!) is the ability to serve people who don’t get attention by technology companies. I have lived through seeing what lack of healthcare access can do and it changes what opportunities are available to people in life.
In addition, healthcare is the single largest driver of income inequality in the US and helping people better manage care of loved ones will reduce consumer out of pocket costs, thus providing economic relief in addition to better health.
LN: What is your best piece of advice for startups who want to include or target the caregiving market?
DW: Know whom you’re serving. There are 65 million caregivers in the US and no one company can serve them all. Create a product that fits caregivers’ needs, not just one that has cool functionality.
LN: Where do you see Care3 five years from now?
DW: Imagine the day when caregivers can find others like them, connect and learn from each other how to best care for loved ones, share successes and challenges, and support each other from anywhere. Everyone will be a Care Mentor. All care experiences will inform others in similar future situations. Care3 will have a comprehensive dataset of documented care processes correlated with health outcomes generating actionable best practices for home and community-based care. Caring for others is an intrinsically human action. Care3 will make it easier for all of us to care anywhere AND everywhere.
LN: What health or wellness technology do you hope exists by the time you retire?
DW: Since I don’t plan to retire until I’m 90, I’d like to see the doorway full body scan monitor. Every time you walk in your home, you’d get a health report. All data would then be actionable and early detection of different conditions would happen instantly.
LN: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
DW: What Care3 can do that no other care coordination platform can is provide access to products and services needed to best adhere to the care plan.
For example, when a patient is discharged after a surgery, there is an immediate need for personal care, skin care, and wound care products to adhere to the care plan. Those are not given to them by the hospital and may cost more than $20 to purchase at retail. If I’m the patient or caregiver and I’m not able to afford the $20, then chances are the result will be an infection, thus leading to a re-hospitalization. That’s a $20 solution that would cost the healthcare system $10,000.00 because of the readmission. That’s unacceptable and avoidable. Care3 is designed to address and fix that problem.
David S. Williams III is a serial entrepreneur and leading innovator in consumer digital health. David is currently Founder & CEO of Care3, a groundbreaking mobile care-sharing platform for family and professional caregivers to coordinate care outside of the hospital. Care3 was inspired by David’s experience simultaneously caring for his mother and his special needs child. Prior to Care3, David was Co-Founder and CEO of InvolveCare, a mobile task-sharing application for family caregivers that was integrated into Aetna as its Medicaid family engagement app. Prior to InvolveCare, David was a Founding Executive at PatientsLikeMe, the world’s first consumer health data-sharing platform. PatientsLikeMe was recognized by Fast Company as the #2 Most Innovative Healthcare Company in 2010.
David serves on the Board of Advisors of The Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at UCLA and is a member of the 2013 class of Henry Crown Fellows at The Aspen Institute. He earned a BS in Economics and Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Digital Strategy from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.