…because everyone cares about someone
When I first started thinking about creating Outpatient Inc., my situation mirrored the frustrating dilemma of Oniqa Moonsammy, the 33-year-old who Time magazine recently profiled in a story about Americans who are struggling to hold on to their jobs while also caring for elderly parents and relatives.
My elderly mother, who has diabetes along with a degenerative neuromuscular disease, broke her ankle. Even though my dad was a doctor, my aging parents needed me. I found myself overwhelmed by the multiple healthcare decisions that I had to make for them. Caring for them meant solving logistical issues, even though I was clueless about her medical needs, protocols for recovery/rehabilitation and local resources. With my parents living in San Diego and myself living nearly 500 miles away in San Francisco, I confronted the impossibility of wearing so many hats: good son to my parents, good parent to my kids, good husband to my wife and good worker in San Francisco’s demanding technology industry. Through grit, luck, and email, phone calls and a smattering of other subpar tools my family and I have figured out how to survive and restore a bit of balance.
Caregivers at high tide
My situation wasn’t unique. During the same period, my co-founder Peter was struck with a similar health situation in his family. Since we were both going through this at the same time, we shared with each other our experiences. After a few days of complaining, we had the sense that we weren’t alone: Currently, 25 percent of 43 million adult caregivers, whom we call “family champions” at Outpatient, are aged 18 to 34 years, according to the article in Time magazine. During the next 24 months, 2 million will join the ranks of family champions, meaning that a total of 45 million people will be giving up $522 billion in lost income per year while they tend to their loved ones. Coupled with worsening job prospects and mountains of debt, people earlier in their careers are particularly at risk of being steamrolled by this tsunami.
The numbers are indeed staggering. But Peter and I also were optimistic that we could use our personal experiences and software backgrounds to tackle the problem, at least with logistics and decisions. After several months of prototyping product ideas and customer research, we had the conviction that our hypothesis was right. Our company was born.
Caregiving Amazon Prime-style
Much as Amazon Prime streamlines shopping, Outpatient Inc seeks to simplify healthcare for families.
Many of the most successful products today help people manage their busy lives. Technology enables Amazon.com to save time for the household buyer, who’s often the family champion when health crises arise. Technology has streamlined work: Online tool Slack helps workplaces work together more productively. Technology facilitates communications: WhatsApp allows families and friends — near and far — to easily connect. Technology has even streamlined kids sports! TeamSnap helps busy parents to manage their kids’ various sports team activities.
Today, no such products exists to help people care for each other. Yet, healthcare represents 18 percent of GDP, or $10,000 a year per person. Outpatient Inc is custom-fit for the family champion in mind. We have a product and technology roadmap designed to suit the needs of a rising generation. Already steeped in technology, this generation of family champions seamlessly embraces new apps and programs on the variety of devices available.
Outpatient isn’t just for the people with extenuating circumstances. Outpatient is for you. Whether you’re taking care of yourself, your partner, your children or your parents, Outpatient will simplify your efforts. If you know someone who is sick or injured, or the person who’s taking care of them, Outpatient will help you to support them.