Comcast NBCUniversal, Independence Health Group Offshoot Quil Launches Aging In Place Platform

The brainchild of Comcast NBCUniversal and Independence Health Group — Quil — has set its sights on solidifying its place in the home. The company recently unveiled plans to launch Quil Assure, a sensor-based technology platform that aims to keep seniors and their informal caregivers connected.

Quil Assure, which is slated to launch in 2021, is designed to help caregivers monitor senior’s movements. It incorporates ambient sensors and voice-activated technology in order to accomplish that mission.

A voice-based unit, which is 4G-enabled, is placed in the senior’s home. The caregiver then downloads the Quil Assure app to stay connected with that older adult.

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Here’s how it works after being set up in the home: Quil Assure sensors monitor and gauge what is considered “normal” activity for an individual senior. Over time, it learns patterns and is able to alert caregivers when something unexpected happens.

Remote patient monitoring tools like Quil Assure have seen exponential growth in terms of utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the global market is forecast to reach $2.14 billion by 2027, according to a June analysis by Reports and Data.

“That’s an ambient experience for the senior at home,” Carina Edwards, CEO of Quil, told Home Health Care News. “Those ambient sensors detect falls. they can also connect you to a 24/7 call center if you need some help. But more importantly, they’re able to use the voice-based speaker. The senior doesn’t have to use any technology outside of a button on top of the speaker to connect with those folks on their mobile devices and coordinate their caregiving needs.”

Digital health platform Quil is the result of a joint venture first formed in 2018 between Comcast NBCUniversal and Independence Health Group. The Philadelphia-based company serves providers and consumers.

Working under the Comcast NBCUniversal and Independence Health Group umbrella gives Quil distinctive positioning as a company, according to Edwards.

“I think being the joint venture of Independence Health Group, with their deep knowledge of health care from the payer perspective, and also the tech-savviness and scale of Comcast are what gives Quil a unique advantage in the marketplace,” she said. “When you think about our technology at scale, we’re not your traditional startup.”

Edwards pointed out that when Quil launched its Quil Engage product offering last year, the company was able to quickly scale the technology and deliver it to 1.3 million Independence Blue Cross members during the public health emergency.

Additionally, the company was also able to scale Quil Engage to 83 million viewers on the Comcast network.

Quil’s latest product is focused on informal or unpaid caregivers, meaning the spouse, the daughter, the niece, the nephew, the neighbor and others supporting the senior, according to Edwards.

In the U.S. alone, roughly 44 million people take on informal caregiver responsibilities. These caregivers assist with activities of daily living (ADLs) and possibly even medical tasks, according to San Francisco-based nonprofit Family Caregiver Alliance.

In the future, the company would like to roll out a B2B version of Quil Assure that could be offered by health care providers as well.

In-home care providers, in particular, aren’t far from the company’s mind. The company’s senior leadership has aspirations that include home health companies.

As aging in place remains the overwhelming popular preference among seniors, with COVID-19 further fueling this desire, it follows that technology will play a key role in making this feasible.

It will be especially important to create new technology that adapts to seniors instead of making seniors adapt to technology.

“Nine out of 10 seniors want to stay in their current home for over the next 10 years,” Edwards said. “When you start thinking about new technology, no senior wants cameras on them. They don’t want to feel like they’re being watched. When we brought this solution from concept into what we’re going to be piloting in December, it was really to have simple technologies that stayed into the background.”

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