Caregiving Chronic Illness

Online Caregiver Resource

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Both personally and professionally, I am very interested in development of online communities and services to support the growing number of caregivers in our society. It might be my age, but everywhere I turn it seems that someone is caring for an aging parent or chronically ill family member. For the last few years, three of my sisters have been pitching in to care for my elderly parents. It is an issue that is relevant to many of us. To that end, Fast Company recently ran an article about CareZone, a new site developed to help caregivers manage and coordinate the care of their loved ones. CareZone was co-founded by former Sun Microsystems chief executive, Jonathan Schwartz, and Walter Smith, a veteran of Apple and Microsoft.

On CareZone, you can create a profile for the individual you are caring for, and then you can invite other members of the circle of care to join the care team. Here’s how CareZone describes its service:

“CareZone simplifies the lives of those caring for children, partners and aging parents. We provide a simple and entirely private environment where family and helpers can stay organized and coordinated. CareZone’s cloud services help you organize and manage information on tablets, smartphones and computers, and stay connected to family and other helpers with whom you may share care responsibilities.” (Source: CareZone.com)

Privacy is an important theme for CareZone. The site does not accept advertising. The platform is HIPAA-compliant and communication between the user’s web browser and CareZone’s system is encrypted. To protect against accidental disclosure, they use government-standard AES encryption when data is at rest.

All that privacy means that members of CareZone should be able to safely share information about their loved ones. As you can see from the screenshot below, there are lots of ways members of the care team can collaborate. Caregivers can maintain a journal, a calendar with upcoming doctor’s appointments, an up-to-date list of medications, and an ongoing to-do list. Family members can also upload important files (medical reports) and photos that they want to share with the rest of the team.

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The idea of connecting members of the care group online is not new. In January 2011 I wrote about Family Care Network‘s Connected For Life technology. However, it appears that CareZone may have developed a platform that has the winning combination of ease-of-use, accessibility and appropriate functionality. It certainly seems to be the right offering at the right time. Check it out and let me know what you think.

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