Legrand launches care home support fund, adds to hospital staff and caregiver support initiatives

Most stories during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) have been about infection counts, overstressed hospital ERs/EDs, numerators/denominators, drugs, vaccines, and when can we get back to normal–if we can get back to normal. Thus some different and good news is more than welcome.

Today it comes from Legrand. During the crisis, Legrand has already provided equipment and staff support in several countries for field hospitals, long-term care facilities, and caregivers. A sample:

  • In the UK, the Aid Call Touchsafe Pro emergency nurse call system was installed into several Nightingale field hospitals plus other hospitals where areas had been re-purposed for new wards. Tynetec Reach IP and Touch 2 pendants were deployed as a plug and play option to support hospital discharge.
  • In the US, Legrand helped New York State field hospitals with a cable management solution to supply power to 2,000 beds–completed in four days. In Indiana, a production line for display screens was converted to making cloth masks which are in short supply in hospitals and for civilians. 
  • In hard-hit Milan and Bergamo, Italy, temporary hospitals were furnished with emergency solutions (bedhead units, nurse call devices, and VDI cabling systems).
  • And in India, a university hospital in Kolkata was converted for treatment of coronavirus patients and equipped with the Group’s uninterruptible power supplies.

Legrand’s newest initiative, announced today, is the establishment of a ‘solidarity fund’ dedicated to care and nursing for the elderly. This fund will provide tangible support to staff who work in specialized facilities such as care and nursing homes. The fund will be administered through the Legrand Foundation, created in 2014 to combat “exclusion related to a loss of independence and electrical poverty, and promoting education and employment in the electrical sector.” An example of tangible support is to finance staff hotel accommodations near their work, to decrease stress, fatigue, and also protect their families. Legrand is also inviting contributions from both businesses and individuals wishing to join this solidarity initiative. TTA is pleased to feature these initiatives from Legrand/Tynetec, a long-time supporter. Release.

‘Unleashing the Digital Premium’ for health in the public sector (UK)

On Tuesday (25 Feb), the Good Governance Institute (GGI) and Legrand Assisted Living & Healthcare unveiled at an event in the House of Lords their report, ‘Unleashing the Digital Premium’. The study, which advocates digital technology to improve services, examines the challenges faced by housing, health and social care in supporting families and communities in enabling healthier independent lives. 

The GGI’s Jessica Lubin previewed the report (available from the Legrand website when you read this on Wednesday 26 February) in her blog. “The digital premium refers to the potential that digital technology has to deliver more cost effective, efficient and reliable services. It does this by preventing issues in the first place, by offering greater flexibility in the delivery of services, and by giving the recipients of these services more independence for longer.” This is contrasted to the current state of, as she terms it, “déjà vu despondency”, from rising demand from a growing aging population and pressure to ‘bend the cost curve’ as is often stated about healthcare costs in the US.

The report proposes that technology and digital services can aid in the delivery of care, and it is largely possible today. It examines the barriers, which are systemic, cultural or regulatory. System integration and cross-department/section/function coordination are absolutely necessary to facilitate better outcomes for these individuals and families. 

This Editor will review the report when available after Wednesday. Release. (Editor’s note: Legrand and Tynetec are long-time advertisers and supporters of TTA)

It’s not a bubble, really! Or developing? Analysis of Rock Health’s verdict on 2018’s digital health funding.

The doors were blown off funding last quarter, so whither the year? Our first take 10 January on Rock Health’s 2018 report was that digital health was a cheery, seltzery fizzy, not bubbly as in economic bubbles.  Total funding came in at $8.1 billion–a full $2.3 bn or 42 percent–over 2017’s $5.7 bn, as projected in Q3 [TTA 11 Oct]–which indicates confidence and movement in the right direction.

What’s of concern? A continued concentration in funding–and lack of exiting.

  • From Q3, the full year total added $1.3 bn ($6.8 bn YTD Q3, full year $8.1 bn) 
  • The deals continue to be bigger and fewer–368 versus 359 for 2017, barely a rounding error
  • Seed funding declined; A, B, C rounds grew healthily–and D+ ballooned to $59M from $28M in 2017, nearly twice as much as C rounds
  • Length of time between funding rounds is declining at all levels

Exits continue to be anemic, with no IPOs (none since 2016!) and only 110 acquisitions by Rock Health’s count. (Rock only counts US only deals over $2 million, so this does not reflect a global picture.)

It’s not a bubble. Really! Or is it a developing one? Most of the article delivers on conclusions why Rock Health and its advisors do not believe there is a bubble in funding by examining six key attributes of bubbles. Yet even on their Bubble Meter, three out of the six are rated ‘Moderately Bubbly’–#2, #3, and #5–my brief comments follow. 

  1. Hype supersedes business fundamentals (well, we passed this fun cocktail party chatter point about 2013)
  2. High cash burn rates (not out of line for early stage companies)
  3. Unclear exit pathways (no IPOs since ’16 which bring market scrutiny into play. Oddly, Best Buy‘s August acquisition of GreatCall, and the latter’s earlier acquisitions of Lively and Healthsense didn’t rate a mention)
  4. Surge of cash from new investors (rising valuations per #5–and a more prosperous environment for investments of all types)
  5. High valuations decoupled from fundamentals (Rock Health didn’t consider Verily’s billion, which was after all in January)
  6. Fraud or misuse of funds (Theranos, Outcome dismissed by Rock as ‘outliers’, but no mention of Zenefits or HealthTap)

Having observed bubbles since 1980 in three industries– post-deregulation airlines in the 1980s, internet (dot.com) in the 1990s, and healthcare today (Theranos/Outcome), ‘moderately’ doesn’t diminish–it builds to a peak, then bursts. Dot.com’s bursting bubble led to a recession, hand in hand with an event called 9/11.

This Editor is most concerned with the #5 rating as it represents the largest divergence from reality and is the least fixable. While Verily has basically functioned as a ‘skunk works’ (or shell game–see here) for other areas of Google like Google Health, it hardly justifies a billion-dollar investment on that basis alone. $2 bn unicorn Zocdoc reportedly lives on boiler-room style sales to doctors with high churn, still has not fulfilled its long-promised international expansion, and has ceased its endless promises of transforming healthcare. Peleton is a health tech company that plumps out Rock Health’s expansive view of Health Tech Reality–it’s a tricked out internet connected fitness device. (One may as well include every fitness watch made.)

What is the largest divergence from reality? The longer term faltering of health tech/telecare/telehealth companies with real books of business. Two failures readily come to mind: Viterion (founded in 2003–disclosure, a former employer of this Editor) and 3rings (2015). Healthsense (2001) and Lively were bought by GreatCall for their IP, though Healthsense had a LTC business. Withings was bought back by the founder after Nokia failed to make a go of it. Canary Care was sold out of administration and reorganized. Even with larger companies, the well-publicized financial and management problems of publicly traded, highly valued, and dominant US telemed company Teladoc (since 2015 losing $239 million) and worldwide, Tunstall Healthcare’s doldrums (and lack of sale by Charterhouse) feed into this. 

All too many companies apparently cannot get funding or the fresh business guidance to develop. It is rare to see an RPM survivor of the early ’00s like GrandCare (2005). There are other long-term companies reportedly on the verge–names which this Editor cannot mention.

The reasons why are many. Some have lurched back and forth from the abyss or have made strategic errors a/k/a bad bets. Others like 3rings fall into the ‘running out of road and time’ category in a constrained NHS healthcare system. Beyond the Rock Health list and the eternal optimism of new companies, business duration correlates negatively with success. Perhaps it is that healthcare technology acceptance and profitability largely rests on stony, arid ground, no matter what side of the Atlantic. All that money moves on to the next shiny object.(Babylon Health?) There are of course some exceptions like Legrand which has bought several strong UK companies such as Tynetec (a long-time TTA supporter) and Jontek.

Debate welcomed in Comments.

Related: Becker’s Hospital Review has a list of seven highly valued early stage companies that failed in 2018–including the Theranos fraud. Bubble photo by Marc Sendra martorell on Unsplash

In-home video monitoring acceptable to 90 percent of dementia carers: Age NI study

What used to be the ‘third rail’ of caring may no longer be. The idea of cameras in the home to view activity of an older family member was so abhorrent to caregiving relatives that it was a key in selling purely sensor-based monitoring systems from the early 2000s on, such as QuietCare, GrandCare, Alarm.com Wellness, Healthsense, Lively, Tynetec/Legrand and many others. Today, in the age of selfies and video on social networks, video surveillance doesn’t seem so foreign. Age NI‘s study conducted through Ulster University had the surprising finding that over 90 percent of participants in several focus groups supported it, with two important caveats; that there was initial consent from the older person being monitored, and that only family members could view the video. With that, they found it ‘useful’, ‘ethical’ and ‘moral’. It would support the person’s safety in aging at home longer, and provide peace of mind for carers. Hat tip to Toni Bunting of TASK Ltd. PharmaTimes, Ulster University News

Independent For Longer website debuts (UK)

The Independent for Longer website has been profiled on the website magazine Ucan2, which highlights mobility aids, assistive technologies, and techniques for better management of a wide variety of disabilities, including learning and autism spectrum. The website showcases real-life TECS (technology enabled care solutions) in the form of seven ‘case studies’ spanning ages from 20 to 79: brain injury, stroke, epilepsy, collapse, ill health, heart failure, and learning difficulties. Each leads the viewer through how a home can be enabled through the selective use of equipment to support independent living. The eighth section is about ‘Billy the Dog’, the Dementia Dog funded through JustGiving in memory of Tynetec’s Billy and Lisa Graham. The ‘Interested in Telecare’ page, where the user can find a service provider, links to the ‘Consumers and Carers’ page of the TSA website, where the first tab is ‘Find a Service’. This website is funded by Tynetec, which is part of Legrand Assisted Living and Healthcare–but is unbranded. Tynetec and Legrand are long-time supporters of this website.

UK news updates: UKTelehealthcare changes the guard, Tynetec’s Dementia Dog

UKTelehealthcare, the membership association which supports health and care professionals and suppliers in delivering the widest choice and range of appropriate Technology Enabled Care Services, announced the retirement of John Chambers. Mr Chambers and Doug Miles founded the holding company of UKTelehealthcare, London Telecare Ltd., in 2005. He stepped down as a director at the end of November but will continue to be involved through his shareholding and consulting, especially in PR and marketing. Mr Miles will remain as a director and Chairman. Taking the roles of managing director and company secretary are Gerry Allmark, who joined UKTelehealthcare from Bosch Healthcare three years ago, and Julia Allmark, an IT specialist. Release (top of news page).

TTA also happily supported the Dementia Dog fundraiser in memory of Tynetec’s Billy and Lisa Graham that achieved their £15,000 goal on JustGiving to train a dog to support people with dementia [TTA 5 Dec]. Up on Twitter is a 30-second snippet of a program dog trainer explaining the bonding process. According to the JustGiving listing, Independent For Longer will be following the dog’s progress during training; also see #DogsforGoodUKBoth UK Telehealthcare and Tynetec (Legrand) are long-time supporters of this website.

Dream team or dance of the dinosaurs? Another view of Legrand’s recent acquisition

The recent news of  Legrand’s acquisition of Jontek Ltd to join Tynetec in their Assisted Living & Healthcare Business Unit stirs many nice memories, as this editor has much to thank both Tynetec, and Jontek for.

Once Tynetec quality was a match for the other major player in the telecare market, their competition was truly appreciated in restraining the cost of delivering telecare. They were enormously helpful, particularly when this editor was working in Surrey. However at the end of the day, their systems, like the other major competitors in the market, were proprietary. Thus once a Tynetec dispersed alarm unit was installed, only Tynetec peripherals could be added.

Jontek on the other hand were able to receive alerts from all the major telecare players, so enabled mixed economies (as we had in Surrey) to be managed by the same call centre. Although “for legal reasons” there were problems with getting (more…)

Legrand adds Jontek to assisted living and healthcare businesses (UK)

Jontek Ltd, a Stockport-based developer and provider of monitoring software and response centers for telecare, telehealth, lone worker and mCare, is being acquired by Legrand, a specialist in digital building and electrical infrastructure. Jontek will be joining Tynetec in Legrand Electric Ltd’s Assisted Living & Healthcare Business unit. Like Tynetec, Jontek is one of our Grizzled Pioneers of telecare, having started their business over 20 years ago. Currently they provide services to over 60 organizations in the UK and are a Government Procurement Supplier.

Looking at the release, Legrand sees an opportunity to complement Tynetec’s current lines in at-home alarms and assisted living call systems with Jontek’s Answer-link monitoring software, which is a system integrating database queries/reporting, document management, emailing and incident logging. (This Editor also sees potential for these systems to enhance Tynetec’s telehealth RPM systems and Intelligent Care.) Managing Director Chris Dodd: “Historically, both Jontek and Tynetec have been committed advocates of an open protocol philosophy. This will continue to remain one of our primary considerations when developing integrated digital solutions and innovative IP care platforms of the future.” Legrand release.

Two important takeaways: We continue to see consolidation of health tech businesses with an eye to enhancing and widening capabilities. Companies with established businesses are moving to make their products more accessible and user-friendly with mobility and enhanced response–BYOD and call centers. In design, they are incorporating secure data integration and reporting capabilities to make the data useful to clinicians and to prove worth, reducing the number of time-consuming steps to obtain data–or fall inevitably behind other digital health competitors. The other is ‘open protocol’ which this Editor interprets in this context as the ability to integrate sensors, peripherals, software and other kit which are not proprietary–in other words, to play nicely in the sandbox. Another indicator that the ‘walled garden’ is coming to an end. Not that it is going to be easy for those firms which have invested in a certain way of doing business–a challenge that many heretofore successful companies are facing. Ed. disclosure: Tynetec is and has been a long time supporter of TTA.

Legrand “joint venture” with Neat

A press release on Legrand’s website and (in Spanish) on Neat’s website, both just published, confirm the forming of a joint venture between the two.  This of course is the Legrand that took over Tynetec last year and Intervox in 2011, making it, they claim, now the  “second-largest player in the promising assisted living market.”

Neat’s products, distributed through Possum, have been finding favour across the UK because of their attractive prices. How, one wonders will the tie-up with Tynetec’s organisation now work, and will Possum now lose this attractive distribution arrangement, particularly in the major rollout in Cornwall where Neat are preferred suppliers?

All comments, anonymous or otherwise, will be gratefully received.

Finally, just to be clear, there is no connection between Neat, the Spanish supplier of assisted living equipment and Newham’s NeAT programme  (which originally stood for Newham Advanced Telecare and it so happens at one time I managed).

Legrand purchases Tynetec, enters telecare market

Breaking News

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Legrand-logo-2013.jpg” thumb_width=”125″ /][grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Tynetec-Master-Logo-2011-White.jpg” thumb_width=”125″ /]The official announcement of telecare and nurse call system manufacturer Tynetec‘s acquisition by commercial and residential electrical company Legrand is here and attached (PDF). This follows on Editor Charles’ article of 24 September and the following comment by Stewart Smith. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. All signs (press announcement, website changes and reconfirmation with our contact at Tynetec) indicate that Tynetec will continue to be located in Blyth, Northumberland as a separate business unit within Legrand UK (HQ’d Birmingham) with its current line including the Advent XT Warden Call system, the Reach personal alarm system, the new Reach plus GSM system as well as the recently acquired Aid Call nurse call system as a separate brand.  Legrand UK’s stated aim is to enter the healthcare area to complement its existing areas in wiring devices and related areas. The parent, Legrand SA, is a French company with operations in 70 countries, marketing in 180 countries and €1.1 bn in annual sales, with an overall strategy of self-financed acquisitions of small to midsize companies of which Tynetec decidedly fits (see Bloomberg article). In the US, Legrand is best known for wireless lighting and home controls. Certainly this does provide Tynetec, after 34 years of ‘grizzled pioneering’ in the UK, a solid and VC-free parent in the UK–and access to worldwide markets.

Editor’s note: Tynetec has been a long-time supporter through advertising on this website, and Founder Steve and all the Editors appreciate their support.

Tynetec sale?

Following our earlier post about Bosch ending sales of their Health Buddy and (temporarily?) exiting the telehealth market in the UK, comes another unattributable suggestion that Tynetec have been purchased by Legrand whose website proclaims them to be “The world’s leading manufacturer of wiring devices and cable management systems.”

There’s some clear and fascinating synergy there which looks potentially very exciting for the world of remote monitoring…however as yet there is nothing confirmed in the media, so watch this space.