A sound plan for starting a business is providing simple tools that adapt proven technology. For instance, you don’t have to invent a new type of wheel when you can simply create a better cart. Following that formula, Independa was founded in 2009 and has developed a way for elderly people to easily access needed services. The company just raised $1,600,000 of new funding from angel investors and venture capital firms.
Independa uses web-based data storage to maintain essential information about medications, appointments and medical records. The company’s Angela system even allows users to create a record of their life story. Angela is a customized Android tablet that gives one-touch access to email, Facebook, video chat, and other services. No special computer skills are required.
Family members and caregivers can post reminders for elderly relatives or patients to take a pill or keep an appointment. In addition, Angela is able to gather data collected from environmental and activity sensors in a home. Some examples are weight scales, blood pressure monitors, and pulse oximeters. Other types of home sensors also exist for observing air temperature, door and window opening, and movement throughout a house.
With Angela as a hub for all of these monitoring devices, data is uploaded using an Internet or 3G connection for cloud storage. The system integrates with Google Health so that a person’s medical information is centrally stored for online retrieval. Family members can request alerts for such phenomena as when a relative has not left the house all day but no sensors indicate movement in the kitchen.
Similar monitoring systems for health professionals are available from GE Healthcare, Healthsense, and WellAware. But, Independa’s simplified system is aimed at attracting family members as users. The Angela device has a cost of $499. Independa also sells sensors in addition to the tablet. Subscription fees for monitoring and alerts range from $19.95 to $99.95 per month. Prices depend upon the number of sensors and types of monitoring alerts.