Need to Generate Income? What if You Could Enter the Growing Home Health Care Field to Financially Benefit From the “Uptick in World Aging and Chronic Disease?”
There’s no two ways about it: The fact that we humans are all getting older every day is as sure as the inevitability of death and taxes.
Your challenge is to figure out how to use this to your advantage… And do it in a way that will make you money. One big idea is to develop a home health care oriented business related to helping people deal with chronic health conditions. And do it now:
- Don’t be like, Vivian, one of my former coaching clients, a 60+ physical therapist, who had an idea for a product to be used by Alzheimer’s patients.
- It was a great idea: Simple, elegant, effective, dignity-enhancing, and inexpensive to manufacture.
- A product that, if developed, would have sold like hotcakes, and made her a wealthy woman.
- Sadly, she was so bound by fear that her idea would be laughed at that she waited a decade to seek help in bringing her idea to fruition.
- In the end, just as I was aiding her to explore the manufacture of her “baby,” she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, and didn’t survive her treatment. Talk about a tragedy.
So as you’re sitting there, wondering what sort of business you can get into that will help you successfully ride out this current recession, think about the obvious:
- What is it that people will always need, no matter what the economy is doing?
- What resources can you personally access to serve these needs?
- How might you be able to set things up to provide yourself with an ongoing, recurring monthly income? One that can be grown, but that won’t likely be discontinued, once you acquire a customer?
Your answers to these questions are crucial: They could help you develop a recession-proof business that will fund your retirement.
Actually, these are the very same question the “big boys” of industry are currently asking. Based on their answers, they’re taking action – they’re shedding old businesses that don’t support the answers they’ve arrived at, and acquiring new ones which do.
Need proof? Check out this recent article from the New York Times, “Royal Philips Sheds Old Businesses for New Directions,” which notes that execs at the Dutch industrial giant have become convinced of two things:
- The population is getting older and
- It is becoming more interested in becoming “greener”
The article notes that these two trends – aging and greening – are guiding Philips as it transforms itself, reorganizing its divisions and jettisoning (non-compliant) product lines while picking up others. (For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to the aging aspect and save going green for another day…)
Of course this is worth our attention. After all, Royal Philips is a well-known a manufacturer. By the way, we’re not talking about the folks who bring you Milk of Magnesia or the petroleum company. We’re discussing the firm previously known for its manufacture of home electronics products, including:
- Magnavox televisions
- DVD, Blu-ray and home theater surround-sound devices
- MP3 players, home appliances and portable music accessories
- Philips incandescent light bulbs
- Norelco shavers
- Sonicare power toothbrushes
“Uptick in World Aging”
These days, Royal Philips is selling off its home electronics businesses and instead delving into the business of selling hospital and at-home scanning and monitoring equipment and high-tech light bulbs made with light-emitting diodes.
- “We were a technology-driven company,”said Gerard J. Kleisterlee, the chief executive of Philips. “But that is only one element. Now we are focusing on care cycles. ‘Health and well-being’ is a common theme that everyone works on.”
- Or, as the company’s chief financial officer, Pierre-Jean Sivignon, puts it: “An uptick in world aging and chronic diseases will drive our business.”
To support this new business direction, Philips has acquired a number of existing firms: First, they bought Lifeline, a home health care monitoring system, perhaps best known to millions of Americans for an old television commercial whose tagline was, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
Dozen of comedians had with that line, but despite the fun, the fact is, almost 40% of all seniors fall each year, and protecting them when they do, is big business. Look at these facts related to falls and medical helplessness at home:
- Falls are one of the most serious health risks among seniors over the age of 65, affecting more people than stroke and heart attacks combined.
- Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury in those people 65 and over.
- 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. 40% of those hospitalized for hip fracture do not return to independent living and 20% will die within a year.
- More than half (55%) of all falls by seniors take place in the home. An additional 23% occur outside but near the house. Lifeline can intervene in close to 80% of all falls.
- Most falls go unreported, but it is expected that 35-40% of people over the age of 65 fall each year.
- Those who fall are 2-3 times more likely to fall again.
- Additionally, many other chronic medical conditions place millions more seniors at risk.Cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, diminished hearing and eyesight, and Parkinson’s all leave seniors vulnerable to helplessness at home.
No wonder Lifeline currently keeps track of 720,000 elderly or infirm at-home customers in the United States and Canada. Doubtless the number of people who subscribe to this service will continue to grow as our world population continues to age.
The Importance of Developing Recurring Income
- Most noteworthy is that Lifeline uses an intriguing business model, which you might do well to consider: they give away their products and charge a monthly fee for their use.
- Explains Ronald Feinstein, Philips Lifeline president, “I don’t want to sell blood pressure cuffs and defibrillators, I want to give them away and charge a monthly fee.”
- Currently, customers pay $35 to $45 a month, for use of a pendant or a TV set-top box that connects to Lifeline. If they experience a medical problem, they push a button on the device to summon help.
Not surprisingly, considering that their target market is people who are aged or infirm, the company does lose about 35 percent of its subscribers to death each year. But you might wonder whether they even notice: After all, since the world continues to age, they have been able to grow their subscriber base about 10 percent a year.
- At this point, the company estimates it owns 60 percent of the home-monitoring market in the United States.
- The final addition to their home-healthcare monitoring revenue stream: the 250 installers who show the subscribers how to use the devices also sell them other products, like fall detectors and automatic pill dispensers.
- But to round out their presence in the medical monitoring field, Philips also sells cardiac home monitors that transmit data to a doctor’s office, home defibrillators and a variety of out-patient monitoring systems for assisted living operations.
Chronic Health Conditions Require Regular Treatment
Next up, Philips bought Respironics, the home health care firm which is best known for their positive airway pressure (PAP) machines and accessories used to treat sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
- As with Lifeline, Philip’s Respironics business uses a business model which charges a monthly fee for use of their equipment.
- And finally, Philips entry into the Home Medical Equipment field means that they can roll out ancillary products, such as oxygen therapy, light therapy and respiratory drug therapies. You can also develop ancillary products, once you get your business started…
Home Health Care Future Is Bright
Philips Healthcare anticipates great successes ahead with their home health care businesses: Says John L. Miclot, CEO of Philips Home Healthcare Solutions:
- “By leveraging our strengths as Philips Home Healthcare Solutions, we will improve quality of life for at-risk individuals through better awareness, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and management of their conditions – in the home.”
- “We are looking to a bright future as part of Philips Healthcare. We’re expanding our efforts to simplify healthcare by providing innovative solutions for the home that connect patients to their providers and support independent living for at-risk individuals.”
Should You Try For a Slice of the Home Health Care Pie?
- A Dog-Walking Service for the Homebound? – Pets are great companions, of course. But those who are physically challenged may have difficulty exercising their pets, washing them, trimming their nails or getting them to the vet. This business is similar to the pet care services provided for people on vacation, but would give you the benefit of regular repeat business.
- A Personal Shopper/Delivery Service? – “Have car, will shop or run your errands.” Many physically challenged people would appreciate having access to a service that runs errands and even does grocery shopping. Alternately, offer a service where you pick up and deliver meals from restaurants which don’t normally offer delivery. Anyone who has difficulty getting into and out of a car would be a prospect. Also, home-based business people who are busy would likely appreciate this sort of personal assistance.
- An On Call Barber/Beautician/Massage Therapist Service – Again, the concept is that you take your service to the client, and do the work at their home, saving them from the physical challenges of having to leave their home.
Not interested in providing an in-the-home service?
There are still thousands of other options. How about:
- A service where your clients call in daily, to confirm that they are OK, and receive some message or benefit in the process. Similar to the Lifeline service, this concept requires that your clients call you daily – at a pre-arranged time – to confirm that all is well. Of course, you can augment and personalize the service Lifeline offers in many ways. This would be a service many Baby Boomers who live far from their parents but have concerns over them would find beneficial.
- Or you might offer a subscriber service where prepare you deliver a daily blog post or podcast on a topic of interest – possibly even something as simple as reading aloud a chapter of a book each day.
- Another concept could be running a group call or teleconference on a daily or weekly basis.
- A “virtual book club,” for example.
- Or a specialized virtual support group – could be for people with a specific disability, like fibromyalgia, for example.
- Or possibly a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
- These virtual groups have the benefit of not being limited by geography. You could actually have people calling in from all over the country – your only limitation to a world group being time zones.
- Videos are great too!
- Could you create a series of exercise videos specifically designed for people with physical limitations of one type or another?
- What about a book, workbook, video and journaling program to assist people recovering from stroke or other life-altering illness to relearn skills they’ve lost? Possibly how to survive hip replacement surgery, for example. Or maybe how to learn to love your C-PAP machine – for those newly diagnosed with sleep apnea?
- Finally, my favorite: An Ombudsman Service for people who are challenged by working the American healthcare system. If you’re good at details and cutting through red tape, there’s a huge need for this service. And in some situations – such as arguing with insurance companies – you can do the work from home!
What Makes a Great Concept for This Type of Business?
- Ideally, your new home health care business will not be labor intensive: You are able to do it once, and get paid repeatedly. A subscription service, for example. Or a book you write once and sell many times. Possibly a combination of both…
- A service you provide that insurance companies will cover is also ideal, because it limits your customers’ out of pocket expense and means your payments can be automated.
- Look at your skillsets and figure out whether you can offer a product or service that is unique, solves a problem, and does not require you to “trade hours for dollars.”
- A product or service that is based on your own experiences and your concern for helping others overcome a challenge you have faced. The personal aspect really shines through! This then might be something you market through doctors or clinics which work with people experiencing the same medical challenge.
- And don’t forget the lesson Royal Philips teaches us: Strongly consider a product you can give away, which then allows you to charge a monthly fee for service or maintenance!
Now it’s your turn!
Put on your thinking cap, assess your life experience, and come up with some business concepts and ideas. Then develop a business plan that will put you in the game!
What are you waiting for? Go! Do! Now! The world is aging, and it needs your help!