"While a home monitoring medical device may be stationary, as in GE/Intel, Philips et al. offerings, or on a mobile personal companion robot such as our CareBot, we believe the ability to monitor throughout the home with only one set of robust sensors to be more cost-effective than incurring the cost and deficiencies of various fixed sensors with multiple installations per room. Due to the ability of our CareBots to automatically follow the designated care receiver using GeckoNav and GeckoTrak, GeckoChat can verbally remind the care receiver of medication events, and enable vital sign taking of the care receiver. This new home medical appliance provides all the benefits of fixed, stationary monitoring systems, but with significant additional benefits such as surrogate companionship and easier video monitoring and conferencing. This, and other desirable benefits such as easy expansion to incorporate more vital sign monitoring subsystems, such as blood sugar and/or blood oxygenation levels, further reduces the total cost of ownership and increases personal robot demand for new home monitoring medical appliances, such as the CareBot", observed Martin Spencer, President/CEO, GeckoSystems.
When it comes to developing devices to help doctors monitor patients' health remotely, we're talking multibillion dollar potential. This professional telehealth market is predicted to grow from $3 billion in 2009 to $7,7 billion by 2012. And with the 65-and-older demographic estimated to be more than 71 million people by 2030, telehealth, especially cost effectiveness in the home, promises to be huge.
The substance of this tremendous scope in home telehealth marketplace has been illustrated by significant investments by major international companies such as GE, Intel, Philips, and others. So when GE, the world's 12th-largest company by revenue ($176,6 billion in 2008) according to Fortune magazine, announced it is joining with the world's largest chip maker, Intel, to develop home-based health technologies, it signaled the continued transformation of an American icon to emerging 21st century marketplaces. The financial commitment by both companies is big - $250 million over the next five years - and so is the market potential.
Philips Healthcare - which restructured and rebranded in 2007 - is made up of multiple product sectors, including: Imaging Systems, Clinical Care Systems, Home Healthcare Solutions, Healthcare Informatics and Patient Monitoring and Customer Services. Philips claims that Home Healthcare Solutions is the largest in the market. They compete with the GE/Intel offering.
GE's QuietCare technology is a suite of motion sensors installed in multiple location throughout the home that relay information about the activity of care receivers in a way that allows long-term tracking of their behaviour. This can include everything from if and when the person opens their pill collection to indications that they are experiencing erratic movements that may precede a fall. This can be done more cost effectively by a personal companion robot that can automatically follow the designated care receiver such as GeckoSystems' CareBot.
What do GE, Intel, Philips, GeckoSystems, and others know? ... That these new billing codes are beneficial for the care receiver and the physician while increasing their potential market size. The new CPT On-Line Service Codes allow payments to the physician such that a consumer can e-mail messages to a physician and/or they can receive payment for their review of medical information sent via a "home monitoring medical device".
"The new Medicare/Medicaid payments for physicians' usage of home monitoring medical devices will cover multitasking, upgradeable personal companion robots such as the CareBot due to the cost-effective, robust, and efficient coverage readily available with minimum modifications to the home itself other than the comparatively simple installation of WiFi coverage. These new economic realities improve the value proposition of our mobile robot solutions for this marketplace, enhance the present pent up demand, and increase ROI for our stockholders", concluded Martin Spencer.
For in-depth information regarding the new CPT codes - and for suggested steps to utilize these new billable service codes - you can read the on-line article, "How to Maximize the Value of New CPT Codes: What to Do to Take Advantage of These New Billable Services for Physicians", from the June 2009 issue of Open Minds.
Since 1997, GeckoSystems has developed a comprehensive, coherent, and sufficient suite of hardware and software inventions to enable a new type of home appliance - a personal robot - the CareBot, to be created for the mass consumer marketplace. The suite of primary inventions includes: GeckoNav, GeckoChat and GeckoTrak.
The primary market for this product is the family for use in eldercare, care for the chronically ill, and childcare. The primary distribution channel for this new home appliance is the thousands of independent personal computer retailers in the United States. The manufacturing infrastructure for this new product category of mobile service robots is essentially the same as the personal computer industry. Several outside contract manufacturers have been identified and qualified their ability to produce up to 1000 CareBots per month within four to six months.
The company is market driven. At the time of founding, nearly 12 years ago, the company did extensive primary market research to determine the demographic profile of the early adopters of the then proposed product line. Subsequent to, and based on that original market research, they have assembled numerous focus groups to evaluate the fit of the CareBot personal robot into the participant's lives and their expected usage. The company has also frequently employed the Delphi market research methodology by contacting senior executives, practitioners, and researchers knowledgeable in the area of elder care. Using this factual basis of internally performed primary and secondary market research, and third party research is the factual basis for the company's sales forecasts.
The company's "mobile robot solutions for safety, security and service" are appropriate not only for the consumer, but also professional health care, commercial security and defense markets. Professional health care require cost-effective, timely errand running, portable telemedicine, etc. Homeland Security requires cost-effective mobile robots to patrol and monitor public venues for community assistance, crowd control, weapon detection, etc. Military users desire the elimination of the "man in the loop" to enable unmanned ground and air vehicles to not require constant human control and/or intervention.
The company's business model is very much like that of an automobile manufacturer. Due to the final assembly, test, and shipping being done based on geographic and logistic realities; strategic business-to-business relationships can range from private labeling to joint manufacturing and distribution to licensing only.
Several dozen patent opportunities exist for the company due to the many innovative and cost-effective breakthroughs embodied not only in GeckoNav, GeckoChat, and GeckoTrak, but also in additional, secondary systems that include GeckoOrient, GeckoMotorController, the GeckoTactileShroud, the CompoundedSensorArray, and the GeckoSPIO.
The present senior management at GeckoSystems has over thirty-five years experience in consumer electronics sales and marketing and product development. Senior managers have been identified for the areas of manufacturing, marketing, sales, and finance.
While GeckoSystems has been in the Development Stage, the company has accumulated losses to date in excess of six million dollars. In contrast, the Japanese government has spent one hundred million dollars in grants - to Sanyo, Toshiba, Hitachi, Fujitsu, NEC, etc. - over the same time period to develop personal robots for their eldercare crisis, yet no viable solutions have been developed.
By the end of this year, the company plans to complete productization of its CareBot offering with the introduction of its fourth generation personal robot, the CareBot 4.0 MSR. The company expects to be the first personal robot developer and manufacturer in the world to begin in home eldercare evaluation trials. More company news is available in the VMW September 2008 article GeckoSystems enables verbal control of mobile robots while their sensor fusion enables person following.