Reducing hospitalizations of frail older members is a major challenge for Medicare Advantage payers and providers. The key to avoiding hospitalization is to detect and address the condition before it worsens. Ceresti Co-founder and CEO Dirk Soenksen talks about how his company is addressing these needs with a digital activation platform for carers.
Why did you start this company?
To improve the experience of families living with Alzheimer’s/dementia.
What need do you want to meet in healthcare?
Frail older people account for 70% of all Medicare hospitalizations and over 50% of total medical costs. Studies show that 50% of these hospitalizations are avoidable by activated family carers (spouses, adult children) when they detect changes in the health of a loved one before they worsen. However, most payers and providers do not have a relationship with the family carers of their members/patients and lack an effective ‘manual’ to operationalize family carers in the care of their members/patients.
What does your product do? How it’s working?
Ceresti identifies, registers and activates Medicare family carers for vulnerable elderly beneficiaries, on a large scale, to reduce medical costs, ensure better health outcomes and support aging in place. Ceresti’s Digital Carer Activation Platform (DCAP) uses data and predictive analytics to activate and support family carers through a personalized non-medical education program, resources, social worker-led coaching, and remote caregiver monitoring of a loved one; all delivered via a dedicated tablet that is delivered to the caregiver’s home.
Is this your first start in healthcare? What experience do you have in healthcare?
No. Prior to co-founding Ceresti, I was the founder and CEO of venture capital backed Aperio, which we have developed into a recognized global leader in digital pathology. Aperio was acquired by Danaher/Leica Biosystems in October 2012. In 2006, I founded the Digital Pathology Association (DPA), a non-profit organization of major vendors and leading pathologists dedicated to establishing best practice and increasing awareness of pathology digital . I was the president of DPA from its establishment until 2012, and as a member of the board of DPA until the end of 2014.
What is your company’s business model?
We charge a monthly fee for a registered guardian/member dyad. This can be billed on an annual basis to a monthly fee, which is sometimes based on the total number of members in the population (i.e. PMPM).
Who is your client?
Our (paying) customers include Medicare Advantage health plans, including Duals plans and PACE programs, and at-risk providers. For any engagement, we offer our zero-cost program for carers/families. We are a BBC company.
Do you have clinical validation for your product?
Yes. In an independently validated clinical trial involving Medicare Advantage members (N=164) with Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, there was an 80% reduction in hospital admissions (p=0.02) and a 53% reduction in treatment costs (p=0.003).
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