Facebook spoiled us in a way that we kind of expect beautiful Facebook-like sharing features for everything we do.When it comes to managing care for family members, the experience has been more private because we don’t want that data shared for all to see.
That’s why former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz started a new company called CareZone, a tool that gives caregivers a way of managing someone else’s health.
After Schwartz left Sun Microsystems in 2010, he conducted a number of interviews with friends and families, and social workers before developing the CareZone platform. The first version, which launched this week, lets caregivers maintain a profile of that person, keep a journal, manage medications, keep a to-do list, access a contact list, jot down notes, and upload files.
“On one hand, innovation in health has revolved around stem cells and robotics — and that’s extending into the medical world. On the care side of things, it’s been a narcissistic Internet. It’s about me and what I’m interested in. In a sense, what’s been left out of that innovation is how you take care of others. We are bringing the world of productivity to the private side of families and caregiving,” Schwartz said.
CareZone launched with a strict policy against ads to protect the privacy of its users. Right now, if you sign up in the next month — and you get a year long subscription for free. But after March 17, CareZone will sell its subscription service, and charge $5 per month or $48 per year. There is no ad model, so your data is your data.
Schwartz added that simplicity is behind everything they’ve built. Walter Smith is original developer of the Newton handheld computer at Apple and spent over a decade at Microsoft. “He’s an artist. You can tell from the site. Technology and design are basically the same thing. I think we recognise that, embrace it, and deliver services based on that,” Schwartz said.
In the late 80s, Schwartz was involved in a train crash. “Most folks don’t appreciate life until their life is at risk. I grew up with wonderful parents and in a safe environment. I almost lost my life. It definitely made me appreciate my family. More recently, I have two children. It’s hard to understand the definition of vulnerability until you have a child dependent on you for everything. So you want to manage that relationship because everything you do has a consequence. For me, it was being vulnerable and seeing how complicated that relationship is to manage,” Schwartz said.
“Technology can be used to make things easier. There’s a lot of administration. I can’t help with the emotional burden, but CareZone can help with the administration and the efficiency so you can spend time the things that do matter,” he added.
If you’ve ever had to coordinate care for a friend or family member, you know how difficult it is to keep track of all the information. I personally had to help coordinate care for a friend, and we tried to do this through phone calls and email, but once we involved 30 or more of her friends, we couldn’t manage it anymore. I can see a productive social network like CareZone being useful, especially for keep track of everything and keeping all the caregivers in the loop about what’s going on.