Across much of the country, the home care industry is facing some challenging times. Accessibility to aides, cost, and the fight to increase minimum wage, which impacts the vast majority of these caregivers and agencies, some technology companies are seeking ways to improve the quality and access to care seniors have with these services.
One such startup company in Fairfax, INF Robotics Inc., believes it may have an answer to some of the challenges seniors and disabled adults face. They have developed a mobile robot that can remind seniors about medications, assist with some basic tasks, and even allow doctors and nurses to check in with the individual remotely.
The robot can even call for help if the need arises. As reported by Biz Journals in the news article, Meet ‘Rudy’ the robot, a local startup’s answer to home health care, written by Sara Gilgore:
“That’s the direction we’re heading, to really keep it all preventative. We’ve designed this robot to be friendly, very easy to use, because we know seniors haven’t grown up using computers,” said Nunez, a George Mason University alum who also owns Fairfax-based Infamous Robotics LLC, which educates kids about STEM subjects.
INF Robotics, which has been developing the now-patented product since the startup was founded in 2011, plans to start selling its first units later this year. It’s currently in its beta two testing phase, piloting Rudy at home health care agencies like SenCura in Chantilly and assisted living communities like Vinson Hall in McLean. The robots have also been tested with the Department of Veteran Affairs and about six different home care agencies, with more coming up until the end of the testing phase next month.”
The cost of these robots may be prohibitive at first, with each one having a price tag of about $5,000. The company is working to find a way for insurance companies to help cover at least some of the cost of these machines. The company also believes that once they reach the first or second full round of production (which generally trims the cost of production per unit), after Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, it will be a negligible cost (if any) to the end user.
Technology is certainly a major force within the home care industry and as there are more innovative methods of improving access and quality of care, robotics is shaping up to be another major benefit for those who need support.