Semafore’s Curi™ is the social mobile platform for family caregiving, but what does this mean? We see it as a tool for improving the quality of the care the family provides to its members. So, what is quality of care, and how do we help you improve it?
Improving quality of care (and improving cost effectiveness) has been the goal of healthcare reform since the 1990s. The Institute of Medicine defined quality of care as:
The degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge. (Medicare: a Strategy For Quality Assurance, 1994)
This definition still guides efforts to improve healthcare and is behind many different initiatives aimed at improving access to healthcare, eliminating errors, reducing unnecessary procedures, and improving communication between doctors and other healthcare providers.
A definition of quality for family care would be similar but more limited in scope, perhaps:
The degree to which family care improves the wellness of family members and the family as a whole (the desired outcome); and the degree to which care plans created in consultation with doctors and other medical professionals are followed.
Curi™ helps to improve quality of family care in several ways.
First, Curi™ enables family members to work as a caregiving team. In many families one person (often Mom) has the primary caregiving responsibility, but this can be an overwhelming task. Curi™ offers tools to easily hand off care responsibilities to another responsible family member, and puts all the needed information at all carers’ fingertips. Improved teamwork reduces stress that may negatively affect the primary carer by allowing her to share the load with other family members and to take breaks with less worry. It reduces the chance that other carers will make errors from lack of information, and practically eliminates the chance that no one will be in charge when the primary carer is unable to take responsibility due to illness or scheduling conflicts.
Second, Curi™ helps reduce errors, like missed or doubled medication doses, with comprehensive scheduling and reminder functions that track what has, and has not, been done. It provides timely warnings of impending tasks due and upcoming events so nothing is omitted due to forgetfulness or lack of opportunity. Information is available to everyone in the family who has responsibility for an individual’s care, but only the active caregiver gets notifications, ensuring that needed actions are not missed or duplicated even if they come due near in time to a change in caregiving responsibility.
Third, Curi™ provides a failsafe for carers in its “minder” function. A minder is a person who is notified when an action is not completed by a carer, and who can follow up personally with that carer to help resolve the issue that led to the failure. This may be especially useful for people who care for themselves but who need occasional assistance—such as children transitioning to adulthood, or older adults who are sometimes forgetful but otherwise capable—and for anyone who is stressed, rushed, or sleep deprived. The minder function not only reduces the number of errors because there is another person to catch them, but may also relieve stress for carers because they know that any omissions that they make will be caught before they become critical error.
Finally, Curi™ offers tools for users to give and receive encouragement and support, enlisting the whole family in helping family member achieve wellness goals. Encouragement from the group, in the form of personal multimedia messages, increases the likelihood that individuals will follow through with actions which will positively affect their wellness, such as getting exercise or healthy eating.