CareZone, a rapidly growing family resource website that helps organize health-care information for those caring for others, launched some key new features on Nov. 13.
The fully secured freemium subscription web service acts as an online central repository for key records that include insurance, hospital and outpatient documents; dietary information; financial records; appointment scheduling; and others.
The website, which does not sell advertising, is especially useful for older people who require help from family members to make decisions using sensitive and private information.
CareZone launched last February and has grown steadily in single-family subscription users. It also has found a home with some professional caregivers, such as therapists and other specialists, who have multiple patients to track.
Three New Features Now Available
CareZone added three new features to its core information storage-and-access service:
--voice broadcast, which enables notifications to up to 100 recipients, eliminating time-consuming phone trees;
--a shared family calendar to coordinate helpers surrounding a child, or elderly parent;
--mobile accessibility through a new iPhone app.
"CareZone was started up to focus entirely on the nuclear family. You're taking care of a child, you and your husband, your Dad, your sibling -- we wanted to make sure we bullet-proofed that basic functionality first," Jonathan Schwartz, CEO and co-founder (with Walter Smith) of CareZone told eWEEK.
Site Was Started for Practical Reason
Schwartz, a former CEO and president of Sun Microsystems, came up with the idea for CareZone in a practical way: His own elderly father needed some extra care, and Schwartz didn't see an adequate cloud service to help him out. So he started his own.
"It's great to have that set of services, but there are times when you need to reach out to a broader population," Schwartz said. "There are two instances of this that users tell us about repeatedly: One, there are times (such as when a loved one is in the hospital) when you just need to tell everybody what's going on. The best way to do that is usually Facebook, but I don't want to use Facebook because I don't want everybody to know about it -- it's too hard to manage it in a controlled way. Plus, it's not good to have the legacy there.
"Second, you need a calendar that others can use besides you. You need to keep track of your dad, but you can't do it all by yourself because you have a life to live," Schwartz said. "You need to be able to say to your siblings: 'Somebody needs to get Mom to the clinic next Thursday, but it can't be me.' I need to be sure that everybody who's a part of my CareZone world knows that a task remains unassigned, and can visually see it when they see the calendar."
Finally, CareZone's new iPhone application provides its services via the popular smartphone. Because CareZone accounts can be shared, Schwartz said, the app makes it easy for families to share contact or medication lists, stay informed through a shared journal, and have easy access to scanned or stored images and documents.
CareZone's basic services are accessible via any Internet connected device and include:
Profile: Provides a permanent reference for emergency information, from name and address, to blood type and allergies;
Journal: Records observations and conversations, as a private diary or a journal shared among any number of authorized individuals;
Contacts: Manages information related to family, helpers, facilities, clinics, etc. When shared, permits multiple users to share the same, always updated contact list on computers, phones and tablets;
Medications: Manages medications and therapies, alongside history, dosage, frequency, schedule, and reactions;
Uploaded Files: Provides a lockbox for important documents, such as reports, images, advance directives, health care proxies, discharge instructions, legal documents, etc.
To-Do's: Records and assigns duties to individuals, coordinates multiple helpers;
Notes: Stores permanent notes such as care instructions, account numbers/passwords, billing notes, etc. More services and applications are in development and will be rolled out throughout the year.
CareZone is a freemium service. The main application is available without charge via CareZone.com or the App Store.
Starting on Jan. 1, 2013, high-capacity accounts (those centered around more than five individuals being cared for) will be available for $5 per month, or $49/year. A release for professional caregivers, focusing on the care of up to 100 individuals, will be available in 2013.
eWEEK published a profile on Jonathan Schwartz last January as he was preparing for the launch of Picture of Health, which eventually became CareZone.