Smartcare Software moves communication to the cloud
Finding caregivers for an older relative is no easy task, and it’s even harder for families to monitor how well that essential care is given.
Scott Zielski, of Eau Claire, learned that quickly when his father moved back and forth among hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home care. “I saw disconnected systems and loads of paperwork,” Zielski says. “It was hard to determine the exact kind of care my dad received unless I was right there. As my father moved from skilled nursing to his home, I realized there were enormous technology gaps” in the recordkeeping system.
Across the U.S., 10,000 people turn 65 every day, according to the U.S. Census Bureau—and with that aging population comes a pressing need to add technology to care systems for older adults.
Keeping families informed
Zielski’s goal was to create electronic health records for home care patients—software that would bridge the gaps among the patient, the family, and the care providers.
A South Milwaukee native with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marquette University, Zielski started his career at Johnson Controls, led marketing for startup companies in Silicon Valley, and developed a software product for Abbott Laboratories.
In 2017, Zielski founded Smartcare Software, a cloud-based platform that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to simplify and improve the process of delivering care at home, in assisted living facilities, or in retirement communities.
Using mobile apps, caregivers receive detailed instructions for each patient, along with a list of tasks ranging from basic care for independent living to administering medications or providing rides to doctor’s appointments. The caregiver documents the tasks as they are completed; families and caregivers can even exchange photos through the portal.
In addition to giving families reassurance, the system aims to combat the industry’s high employee turnover rates by offering incentives to caregivers and improving the way they are matched with patients. Machine learning and location search tools help Smartcare work to create better matches between caregiver and patient for stronger rapport, increased satisfaction, and improved health outcomes, Zielski says.
Filling a nationwide need
Smartcare Software now has about 35 employees, and more than half of them live in Wisconsin. The company has raised nearly $7 million, with early investments from the Idea Fund of La Crosse, Rock River Capital Partners, Chippewa Valley Angels Investment Network, and Pablo Capital of Eau Claire. The company is certified by WEDC as a Qualified New Business Venture. In 2022, Smartcare raised its first major funding round, with Chicago-based Ziegler Link-Age Fund as the lead investor.
Smartcare has clients across the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, and plans to grow outside the U.S. in the future, Zielski says.
“Older adults are living longer and staying healthier longer,” he says. “They want to stay within their own community as long as possible. We are using technology to help them do that.”