Each day in America, more than 10,000 baby boomers celebrate their 65th birthday, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. After reaching this milestone, managing healthcare tends to become more complex.
More efficient, cost-effective solutions are vital to ensuring the 77% of adults over the age of 50 who want to age in place can do it safely and competently.
“Tembo” is Swahili for elephants, and the company chose the name because elephants are one of the few species on the planet that care for their elders in nature, which is what Tembo Health does for those in their communities.
Tembo’s mission—to keep seniors healthy, happy, and at home—is personal to founder and CEO, Anurag Gupta, MD. There is a photo of Dr. Gupta and his grandfather featured proudly on the website because, even after serving 15 years as an emergency medicine trauma physician, Dr. Gupta realized “it’s too hard for patients, especially seniors” after helping his grandfather navigate healthcare.
Tembo provides personalized dementia care through a collaborative care team, helping seniors and their caregivers get the attention and support they need at every stage in their dementia journey.
Combining proactive care navigation and clinical support with escalation care, Tembo recently incorporated passive vital sign monitoring to track wellness and clinical deterioration. This has been beneficial in detecting subtle changes in conditions and behavior from seniors who often are not able to communicate their health needs. The team can then follow-up with a clinician virtual visit to diagnose the situation and coordinate dementia support services, in-home mobile diagnostic testing, and more.
“Many seniors and their caregivers just don’t know where to go or who to call when something happens. By bringing specialized dementia care, combined with the power and functionality of the Emergency Department to the home, we've been able to demonstrate a consistent 75% reduction in ER transfers and hospitalizations,” Dr. Gupta said.
Mighty Health is taking a similar approach to helping aging adults, by using the power of tech, community, and coaching to maintain healthy lifestyles, both physically and mentally.
“Having other adults that are around the same age and have many of the same goals and needs that you have alongside you in this journey is important,” said James Li, Co-Founder and CEO of Mighty Health, who was inspired to start his company because of his father’s experience following heart surgery. “And then having an expert, board-certified coach that is guiding you and providing you with support along the way is the other important piece.”
More than 70% of Mighty Health members are what Li and team call ‘poly-chronic,’ meaning they have two or more chronic conditions at the same time. The team has found, oftentimes, those chronic diseases are interrelated and can be addressed simultaneously with lifestyle modifications through their programming
Live classes and events every day include group meditations, Q and As with doctors, cooking classes, balance and mobility classes, all virtual and highly interactive in a way that encourages participation and community building. They are even currently hosting a Golden Bachelor watch party.
“Our members want to be able to chase their grandkids around the deck of the cruise ship, work on home projects, garden, and have the stamina and energy to do that all day,” Li said. “Ultimately, that's what gets us excited—the ability to contribute to people's quality of life and their ability to do all the big and little things they want to do.”
Mighty and Tembo might have different executions, but they approach the work with similar philosophies. Both believe in the community aspect of managing care and staying well, and both properly estimate a senior adults’ ability and aptitude for tech-focused solutions. In fact, it is precisely because both are so focused on the needs of their end user that their tech solutions are so successful. It is something they advise other startups to do.
“Bring all the right experts together at the same time to deliver solutions that actually work from a healthcare perspective, from a technical perspective, and from a business perspective,” Dr. Gupta said. “If you're missing any one of those pieces, it's impossible to scale and be successful in my experience.”
“Healthcare as a whole is a really challenging and complicated space. Whoever is looking to tackle problems in this space, know you're in it for the long haul,” Li added. “Finding a renewable source of positivity and energy, and focusing on making it personal for you as well as for your user is key.”
For Li and Dr. Gupta, their elders had the benefit of their foresight and dedication, and now three-quarters of seniors who want autonomy over their health and aging process can do so successfully as well.
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Mighty Health: Try the Mighty Health program for free.
About 1501 Health
1501 Health is a unique partnership between Healthworx and LifeBridge Health, representing expertise in both health insurance and financing (payers) and healthcare delivery and services (providers). The investment and incubation program empowers entrepreneurs to get their innovative solutions to market and expand their impact in healthcare quality, access and affordability. To learn more about 1501Health, visit www.1501Health.com.
Healthworx operates at the intersection of healthcare and innovation by creating, co-creating and investing in companies that are improving healthcare quality, accessibility, affordability and equity. As the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Healthworx envisions a healthier future for all people by changing the way health works. To learn more about Healthworx, visit www.healthworx.com.
About LifeBridge Health
LifeBridge Health is one of the largest, most comprehensive providers of health services in Maryland. LifeBridge Health includes Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Grace Medical Center and related affiliates. For more information, visit www.lifebridgehealth.org.