01 May 15-year-old creates telehealth communicator that dispenses meds for seniors
Of the hundreds of products on display at the American Telemedicine Association annual meeting, which starts Sunday, perhaps only one was invented by a 15-year-old.
Well, actually, Brooke Martin of Spokane, Wash., was only 12 when she came up with the precursor product for her new offering, iC LovedOnes, a device that not only facilitates two-way video communication with isolated seniors, it dispenses medications and snacks.
iC LovedOnes, which will retail for $149.99 starting June 1, with no monthly service fees, is a control unit with a tablet stand. Connect a compatible tablet or smartphone to the unit and sign on to a Wi-Fi network, and the elderly and otherwise isolated will be able to have live video chats with their families and friends who can call via a free Apple iOS or Android app, or even a PC.
Remote family caregivers can load the device with medications and food to dispense at set times to make sure their elderly relatives stay on their regimens and get enough to eat. “This is enabling loved ones of people who are elderly or disabled or socially isolated,” Martin told MedCity News.
It follows the same principle as Martin’s first invention, iCPooch, which handed out treats to obedient dogs when their owners weren’t home. “This is an extension of that product,” she said.
Martin thought of adapting the device for seniors after watching her grandmother, Barb, struggle with isolation in an assisted-living facility. “She was unable to pick up the phone or turn on the TV,” Martin said. “It was really difficult for us.”
Barb passed away a year and a half ago, but her legacy lives on in her granddaughter’s latest creation.
“It would have been nice to have had an iCPooch for Grandma,” Martin said. She and her parents had to drive to see Barb daily because they were mostly unable to call, and it took a toll on the family. “You can’t really go to the Grandma Store,” she joked.
Martin will start out selling the product direct-to-consumer through the iC LovedOnes website, knowing that it’s a difficult strategy in healthcare, where most spending flows through third parties like insurance companies.
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