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ConnectedCare/Community+: Medication safety through engaged community networks

Arnhem, NetherlandsUtrecht, Netherlands
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

This project aims to support medication safety for elderly immigrants by engaging informal caretakers through community organisations.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if medication safety for elderly immigrants can be improved by engaging their own known social communities?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Elderly are a vulnerable group when it comes to medication safety. A growing group of elderly patients in western countries are immigrants. Healthcare organisations have difficulties reaching these people and their caretakers. For medication safety, this lack of communication leads to higher risks. Important role in their network is communityorganisation This project aims to include them in the care network to initiate new ways of collaboration

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

A platform that allows homecare organisations to engage informal networks as an extension of existing community organisations. One of the sub-groups on the platform will be healthcare. There, users can find relevant information and discussions, adapted to the specific background (language and culture). Although the community organisation is the face of this healthcare group, home care organisations provide the input. Specific to medication safety, users can setup their own care network with a medication list, calendar, task distribution and care notes. As an extension to the platform, users can upgrade to advanced functionalities including medication alerts and monitoring and linking the home care organisation.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Community+ is used within the local community of Turkish immigrants. Ayla joins the healthcare group and invites her aunt, who is recently diagnosed with diabetes. She searches for information on how to manage the medication processes of diabetes. When her aunt’s condition worsens and medication becomes more complex, Ayla decides to set up a care network for her. She can easily invite members who have indicated they can provide informal care within the community and delegate tasks such as picking up prescriptions. She also upgrades the account to include the homecare organisation. They can take over the responsibility of updating the medication overview. They also monitor the medication intake of her aunt.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The work to date is based on the ConnectedCare concept, which is aimed at improving the communication and collaboration between patients, informal caregivers and healthcare professionals. The concept is used in several international research projects and is commercially implemented in two Dutch home care organisations. For increased impact in the future, Community+ expands this concept by acknowledging the heterogeneity of the elderly as a target group. The impact of tackling the problems experienced by homecare organisations concerning cultural background of their clients will only increase due to the current migration crisis. Increased impact is also achieved by focusing on medication safety as the starting point for Community+. When the medication processes are sufficiently supported, risk of inappropriate medication or patient harm is reduced.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The long-term objective is to connect homecare organisations to informal care networks and elderly, in a way that is personalised to their own preferred way of collaborating. The experiences that will be taken from the specific cases of immigrants and medication safety can be translated to solutions for different types of target groups. This way, the use of the basic platform can be scaled up to a national and international level.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Through pilots with homecare organisations that are currently commercially using the ConnectedCare platform, evidence is being built of the benefits of the Community+ platform. With this evidence, homecare organisations can be offered the services of intermediating between them and community organisations, A set price is given to the home care organisations depending on the complexity of the region

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Several initiatives exist that aim to improve collaboration of informal care networks by providing a digital platform with a calendar and tasks, such as Cubigo, Nedap Caren and Caretakers. However, none of these explicitly tackle the issues that arise for expanding target groups such as immigrants, nor do they focus on improving medication safety. The distinctive character of Community+ is furthermore, that the community-based perspective truly engages social networks to contribute to the care of an elderly person.

Founding Story

ConnectedCare started as an academic project, where the founder saw opportunities to create true impact for elderly by strengthening the patient-caregiver-professional triangle. During the further development of ConnectedCare, the team has collaborated with homecare organisations and informal networks of caregivers. In these contacts with the field (e.g. homecare organisation Careyn and the Dutch Institute for Rational Use of Medicine), the issues surrounding both immigrant elderly and medication safety for elderly became very apparent. The ability to connect the two is an opportunity for the team to create focus, with the potential to impact many lives.


The team is composed of design researchers/concept developers (1 fulltime, 2 part-time), software developers (1 fulltime, 2 part-time) and business developers (2 part-time). The management team consists of a general manager, sales manager and technical manager.
CO-CREATION IDEA: Please offer a brief description of how you imagine a win-win partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to better serve unmet needs in health. (Hint: Please mention the underlying business model envisioned that would make such a partnership sustainable.)

While ConnectedCare is already successful in improving the collaboration between elderly, informal caregivers and healthcare professionals, additional expertise and resources are required for the specific development of Community+. Where we could benefit mostly from expertise on medication processes, the network of strategic business partners, and support in developing a proper communication strategy, BI could use our expertise on using digital tools to engage patients and networks of caregivers, and to target the group of immigrant elderly to expand their business efforts.

NEEDS: Based on you response above, please specify which of the following resources, operations or expertise by Boehringer Ingelheim you imagine leveraging to actualize the proposed co-creation opportunity. Please check all that apply. (Hint: while financing is often critical to scale, we are also interested in understanding what other assets or expertise could be leveraged).

Relationships/New Contacts, Marketing/Communications Support, Legal Support, Access to Capital, Other.

EXPLANATION OF NEEDS: Please explain your choices in more detail.

As Community+ is initially focused on medication safety, specific expertise on medication processes is needed. In order to develop beyond the first pilot projects with current partners in homecare, we would greatly benefit from the international network of BI. Also, as the current team mainly have a background in research, concept development and technology, the marketing knowledge of a global partner would be a great benefit.

OFFER: What are the main assets you may contribute in a co-creation partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim that would better serve unmet needs in health?

Deep understanding of an unmet need in a specific market/context.

FOCUS AREAS: Which of the following best describes the main focus of your project? (select all that apply)

Improving the affordability of healthcare (e.g., microinsurance, reducing the economic cost of care), Increasing physical access to healthcare to people with restricted mobility or restricted access (senior people, people with disability, remote or difficult areas, etc.), Holistic solutions that work across the entire care continuum (including education, prevention, detection, treatment, management, follow-up).

Please share what your organisation and Boehringer Ingelheim will Co-Create together

Concerning medication, facilitating efficient and correct intake is a major issue in improving the health of patients. Medication compliance is dependent on a need to understand why and how to take medication and on a need to trust the healthcare system. In this respect, immigrant elderly have proven to be a difficult-to-reach, and growing, target group. Language and cultural barriers need to be overcome. BI and CC will co-create the Community+ platform, which enables access to personalized medication information and reminders, and access to a trusted healthcare network.

Please specify what your Co-Creation will result in:

a new product, a new service, a new market/customer group.

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Please provide a 1-2 sentence summary of your Co-Creation idea

BI has extensive experience and interest in the group of COPD patients. Medication intake for COPD is frequent and complex, resulting in higher risks of medication errors, especially for immigrants with language barriers. Therefore, BI and CC will co-create the Community+ platform for immigrant COPD patients as a test case. The focus area will be the municipality of Utrecht, due to the available entry points.

How does this project link to the core mission of your organisation?

While CC is already successful in improving the collaboration between elderly, informal caregivers and healthcare professionals, expanding our view to include medication processes would allow us to provide a more holistic platform that touches upon all relevant aspects of elderly care. If medication compliance can be improved, the benefits of the platform may also be more easily communicated to the target group. Moreover, having an explicit focus on elderly immigrants tackles a very current and relevant problem that healthcare professionals in larger European cities are facing.

Beyond social impact, how does this project link to Boehringer Ingelheim’s core business?

As a pharmacy company BI is not allowed to advertise directly to consumers, or develop relationships with the patients. Access to information on customer characteristics and needs would enable BI to improve medication compliance and achieve their goals of improving overall health. The Community+ platform could bridge the gap that currently exists.

What are the specific inputs and actions that each side will contribute to this Co-Creation idea based on each of your unique competencies and experiences?

My organization will contribute:
Access to a difficult-to-reach group of patients, a platform for the dissemination of best practices on compliance and correct intake of medication in a growing market, and expertise on using digital tools to engage patients and networks of caregivers, and on targeting the group of immigrant elderly

Boehringer Ingelheim will contribute:
Expertise on medication processes for COPD patients, advice on developing a sustainable revenue model, and support in developing a proper communication strategy

Please describe the potential revenue model for this Co-Creation idea.

Due to budget cuts in the Netherlands, healthcare organizations need to share responsibilities of care tasks with informal caregivers. This is facilitated by the current CC platform, which has a revenue model based on a fixed fee per involved formal caregiver.
For Community+, the entry points to reach the target group are community organizations instead of healthcare organizations. These are non-profit organizations, having no financial resources. Together with BI we would like to find a new strategy in order to develop a sustainable revenue model.

What possible risks or challenges do you foresee?

A major challenge is to engage community organizations and municipalities to reach immigrant elderly more effectively. However, we have good entry points in the municipality of Utrecht, via the network of homecare organization Careyn. Beside that, creating a sustainable revenue model for this co-creation idea is a challenge.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your Co-Creation idea?
How much input do you hope to receive from Boehringer Ingelheim?

I mostly need strategic advice, I only need financial support.

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Besides Boehringer Ingelheim, what other types of partners might be valuable to carrying out your Co-Creation idea, and why?

Hospitals, pharmacies and home care organisations are the parties that are currently involved in the medication process of immigrant elderly. Community organisations and municipalities are the parties that we propose to also include in this approach, to be able to reach immigrant elderly more effectively.