Declan Murphy, founder and CEO of Isaac Care, on how overcoming technology barriers can help deliver world-class care in the community
Isaac Care is a unique digital health platform designed to enable health services and families to provide the best care possible to people in the comfort of their own homes and communities. Blending technology and care, it harnesses the benefits of assistive technology, while combining high-quality care and nurse-led remote monitoring across an innovative platform.
Allowing for the right care to be delivered in the right place and at the right time is truly transformative, says Isaac Care founder Declan Murphy, whose previous endeavours include Servisource and MyHomecare. With over 22 years of experience in the global healthcare sector, Murphy has long been an advocate of using technology to improve people’s lives.
“We noticed that the amount of time being allocated to care by health systems, particularly in Ireland and the UK, has been reducing,” Murphy says. “So around about 2015 we set about looking at how we could harness technology to support care workers, families and service users – particularly vulnerable adults who were living at home alone.”
That research, encompassing expertise from institutions such as Dublin City University, University of Geneva and DkIT’s Netwell Centre, had initially focused on future possibilities around avatars and virtual social companions. The pandemic, however, completely changed that perspective.
“It forced us to double down on what we were doing and in the last two years we’ve gone from concept to trial stage to now having a commercially available platform and subscribers,” says Murphy.
Isaac Care is also operational in the UK. We can see interesting trends are emerging in terms of how home community care is delivered across both markets. As part of its Sláintecare strategy, the Irish Government is rolling out a series of six RICOs (Regional Integrated Care Organisations). It’s a spot that Isaac Care sits quite sweetly in. Preventative and proactive healthcare is also at the centre of the HSE’s Stay Left, Shift Left programme.
“We believe that we can prevent people from having to go to an acute setting in the first place,” says Murphy. “We can accelerate discharge from hospital because we can provide a wraparound package supported by a 24/7 call centre to bring patients home early. We can also improve the general health and wellbeing of people living at home, which can have a huge impact on the national health service.”
“Five years ago costs were prohibitive,” he adds. “The monthly cost of Isaac Care’s services is the equivalent to one hour of homecare. A typical care package assigned to someone is between five to 10 hours per week so that’s a tiny percentage of the health budget – what it gives in return is huge. That’s a 10X in itself.”
He also points towards advances in device battery life and increasing acceptability of wearables. ”Fitbits and other devices are all carrying step counts, heart rate and other metrics,” he says. “People are more comfortable with that now. What we are doing is capturing that data and creating a profile for the individual.
“So if and when they are admitted to hospital we can look longitudinally at how those vital signs have been over the past year or two.” It’s been a game-changing few years.
“Where it might have cost €2,000 and hours to set a house up to monitor someone at home, now we can put something in the post and send it out. The platform is ready to go out of the box and at a very low cost,” says Murphy.
“Our platform is based on three principles – supporting our clients through circles of care, easy to use assistive technology and 24/7 wraparound support, all underpinned by our excellent people who are experienced in delivering high quality care. Wrapped around all that is JCI accreditation, which is a gold standard in the delivery of care. With those ingredients, we can provide a world-class service to people living at home.”