Vendors should seek geriatric care managers (GCMs) as a marketing channel

I am fortunate to have a paper copy of 'Inside GCM' in front of me (related website is caremanager.org) -- the publication of the "National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers" (NAPGCM). Geriatric care managers are typically trained and certified in coordinating care needs of seniors, referred by MDs or engaged by family members, particularly in long-distance care situations. They can be drawn from fields like social work, nursing, occupational therapy or other specialties. Practices can employ multiple GCMs and can be quite lucrative businesses. So why does this matter to vendors?

In the magazine is an article about how Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) can more effectively market their businesses to the community. So here's my question for today: 

Why don't vendors do a better job of marketing to GCMs?The GCM profession is 25 years old -- from the date when 'when 100 pioneering care managers met in New York City.' Today, there are 2000 members of the NAPGCM organization, 2095 profiled on GilbertGuide, perhaps a total of 7000 as mentioned in a NY Times profile last year. With the fastest growing age segment in the US as 85+, with seniors staying put in their homes, let's recognize that geriatric care management is a growing profession, even (or especially) in an economic slump. Today this professions is bolstered with NAPGCM certifications, graduate certifications and master's degree programs from schools like San Francisco State and University of Florida.

In this issue of 'Inside GCM', there was a great article about 'Pharmacology Issues Among Geriatric Clients' by Brian Wolstenholme, a board-certified Geriatric Pharmacist (CGP) that dealt with the plethora of issues that can lead to 'medication non-adherence', the new term replacing 'medication noncompliance', apparently to reflect the rights of individuals to refuse medications. [An aside -- the article noted that the elderly consume 34% of all prescription medications.] And at the end of an issue list, 'forgetfulness' is briefly noted, and the possible need for a medication reminder system, where the reader is sent to an online distributor, epill.com. No mention on that site of MedSignals, EMMA, or OnTimeRx, to name a few. 

Which brings me to a couple of points:

  1. GCMs are a referral channel for numerous senior-related services.  Although 7000 may not seem like a large market, GCM access is many times that number, due to their role as a coordinator of delivery of appropriate senior-related services. This includes (or should include) legal, financial, technical, care, health-related, assistive devices, social, pharma consulting, and on and on. Vendors need to educate themselves about this important referral channel. "Inside GCM" accepts vendor advertising, according to their headquarters in Tucson, AZ, see contact info on caremanager.org.
  2. GCMs needs information about products and services for their clients. There is no way that GCMs can be expected to stay current on new technologies without guidance.  Training programs use textbooks -- like Cathy Jo Cress's Care Managers: Working with the Aging Family that reference technology's usefulness, especially in helping family members with care issues -- but certification requirements do not include that content.
  3. Guides for GCMs about products and service are both feasible and useful. Beyond these soon-to-be-obsolete textbooks, GCMs would benefit from brochures and guides that they can use with their clients. Vendors should consider partnering with other synergistic vendors to produce such a brochure -- for example: "Communication tools to connect clients and family members" could include video, computer, amplified telephone, etc. Medication management for GCM clients is another category, Fitness is another. 

Next time I am lucky enough to read through an issue of Inside GCM, or read of an event, hopefully vendors of technology will be well-represented who can help GCMs improve care for seniors.

NOTE: Just to be clear, I don't sell ads for this magazine, get no kickbacks, have no conflicts of interest related, and I am NOT the right contact person for a list of magazines. This post is about the need to educate.

There is hope for medication management!

Great article! We have heard time and time again, how hard it is for families to coordinate the health care of their loved one, or how hard it is to manage one's medicine.

With RememberItNow! anyone can take control of their health or the health care of someone they love. One's health care really can be controled with RememberItNow!
Users can:
-receive reminders via text and/or email (this can be for medication, a doctor's appointment, or scheduling a new caregiver)

-create a private care community (users of RememberItNow! can invite family members, friends or caregivers to access their calendars or contact information; privilege levels are set with each invitation to the private care community)

-track health and wellness with our journal and helpful charts. By using our simple journal entries and entering your blood pressure, blood glucose levels, or weight, users can see a full report of their health and progress.

With much more like "Favorite Links" options, print-out options for anything like medication history, and a contact database, users of RememberItNow! can be sure to make care giving easier.

Thank you for your time. Feel free to email me at abettencourt@rememberitnow.com

Best,

Alex Bettencourt

Working with GCMs works out for us

What a great article. We, at MedMinder, have been working with several GCMs here in the Boston area and found this very valuable. First, the Geriatric Care Managers are knowledgeable and always have great insight. Second, they are happy to share contacts and in many occasions advise their customers to use Maya from MedMinder. As they know to identify the opportunities where MedMinder could help, most of the referrals end up in new business.

So, I agree that vendors should work closely with GCMs. This is mutually beneficial as GCMs are interested in learning about new technologies that might help their patients.

BTW: we are not offended that MedMinder (www.medminder.com) is not mentioned in the report... We formally launched the service only two months ago... Hope to be included in the next publication.

Eran

Old Wine in a new bottle?

Yes. GCMs, CAPS, OT's etc. are good "prospective" direct sales channels into homes of seniors who could benefit from AIPTs.

We're developing a direct sales channel matrix of the aforementioned prospective direct sales channels along with others we've identified.

We'll be using such direct sales channels when we debut The Silver Surfers Club ("TSSC") after Labor Day-initially on Maui.

The evolution of TSSC can be found at www.thesilversurfersclub.blogspot.com

We're very grateful to AGE IN PLACE TECH WATCH for it's unique and invaluable marketing intelligence and news!

GCM's

As a professional geriatric care manager and past president of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the NAPGCM I am always on the lookout for new technology,tools or resources that will help my clients and their families. I also have no problem about sharing these resources with my network of service providers, attorneys, trust officers, realtors, hospital discharge planners, social workers, churches, etc. The more that I know as a GCM about available resources the better I am about making appropriate recommemndations and crafting relevent care plans that help my clients remain as independent as possible.

There is an upcoming Conference for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the NAPGCM in 2010 that will be held in DC. And the National Conference for NAPGCM will be held in Santa Fe, Spring 2010. Either of these venues would be an excellent way to exhibit your services. Contact info can be found at www.caremanager.org.

Lynn Mercurio, LCSW, C-ASWCM
Mercurio Care Management and Counseling, Inc.
www.mercuriocare.com

Geriatric Care Mgers are a great channel

Thanks for posting - I have already posted on our dealerweb to get our dealers to read this article. Many are in the process of partnering with GCMs and Home-based care providers. It makes sense. Our dealers are generally more on the technical A/V side, but don't know this market as well. It's a perfect match and GCMs are just the advocates that need to be on board!

They are advisors, consultants in the industry, trusted experts! We have to get the information out to them first, show them how this can benefit their clients and most importantly help families stay connected to a loved one.

As always - thanks for the interesting information!

Laura Mitchell
GrandCare Systems

GrandCare is a complete communication, cognition and monitoring system to support active individuals and those who care for them

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.