The Home Care Agency of the 21st Century (Part 1)


By Mark Shea, MCDM

I try to think of every link that I create on the Web as a promise. Please don’t go away. This really is an essay about the Home Care Agency of the 21st Century.

As I thought about this essay, it was hard for me to know where to start. Context is important. The piece of the picture that I have that is probably represented by the fewest number of people reading this document and maybe the most important, is my Digital Media and Social Media perspective. This doesn’t make me better than you. It just means I can see something of the whole picture that you cannot. I need you to help me see your piece too. This topic involves so many different industries, perspectives…..well, it is a complex issue, one that we don’t even have a common language to discuss. Digital Media and Social Media enable all of us to share with each other to get a better look at the big picture and these media do this in some very democratic (small ‘d’) and surprising ways.

In the last essay I wrote about the impact that the Internet has had on journalism. The same will happen to Health Care and Home Care in the United States. I will tell you more about why and how I think this will happen. I have faith that if we all work together and share our perspectives, we can avert a great tragedy, the ‘Y2K +10 Problem’ discussed in Eric Dishman’s Ted talk. The great tragedy is not the total and complete transformation of Health Care and Home Care. That transformation is what will happen as a result of the tragedy. The tragedy is the catalyst for the total and complete reform of our system. It is because of my study, research, and work in Digital Media and Social Media that I believe this to be true. We’ll talk about Home Care Agencies but I really think it’s important to begin to gain understanding as a community and discuss this Internet stuff first. Feel free to disagree. That’s how this works.

We are different tribes converging on the same place to parlay and all of us are not sure how friendly the other guys are. These essays are from the world as I see it when I have my Digital Media hat on. Some of you know me and most of you don’t. If you want to know who the heck this guy is and why he is talking about this really weird stuff, you can take a look at my LinkedIn profile here. I speak for no one in these essays but myself. This is just my opinion and I am not speaking for any other company that I do business with…..this is simply all me. And consider before you bother reading any farther that you are looking at an article on a site with crackerbelly in the name.

Still with me? Wow….ok.

The problem is that we all have a piece of the picture but none of us has the whole picture. Here in these essays I intend to offer my hypothesis for what the whole picture might look like, now and in the future. This is my version of the story as I can see it from where I stand at this moment, in this place, and as it is filtered through my own bias. This means that I need you and many others to give just little glimpses of the picture from your perspective. I do not have the whole picture and this document is very much a Beta.

With just 140 characters at a time, people can create a big picture for any situation or problem by making very small and distinct observations, lots of them. I hear from people all the time who say something like, “Twitter is stupid because nobody wants to know what I’m eating for breakfast”. I tell them that General Mills cares or should care. Right now Chris Mills is getting a lot of their hate mail. Hopefully Chris and the General have this whole thing worked out.

The point is that there is a conversation going on and it is happening whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Did Twitter enable the Tunisian Revolution or not? Some say yes, some say kind of, and others say no. The Internet is a technology that now liberates mankind to have conversations that are like this, dynamic, fluid, global, profound, and unbound by time. We can talk over time and distance from different places. We are no longer bound to conversations in the town square. We can talk to people all around the world simultaneously or can do it by shifting time. This is possible and people do it because they have access to fairly simple and affordable electronic devices that connect to the World Wide Web from a robust network that is available over fast connections to a large number of the people in the world. The Internet is not restricted by time or place. On the Web, you no longer have to read the same newspapers or live in the same town to have a conversation with people who are interested in the same things you are. The world is flat after all.

We can help each other to understand the big picture on any problem that seems bigger than any one of us. We can work together to find very small things, very big things, seemingly insignificant things, or to solve the unsolvable. This is why I believe the World Wide Web surpasses numbers, written symbols, and the printing press, some pretty heavy hitters on the most disruptive technologies on ‘the history of humankind’ roster. It is important for everyone to know this because if they don’t, they simply won’t believe what I have to tell them. It is just too unbelievable. You will have no context to found a belief upon. You might stand on the shore of an Internet sea like the indigenous people of South America, who hundreds of years ago had Spanish Galleons anchored in their harbor but they could not see them because they had no context. They had no idea what they represented. How could they? This is why I think it is important to talk about it first. We need context.

Retro-Disclaimer: I should have added this to the beginning of this essay and the last essay. I’ll go back and do that tomorrow.

This is the nature of publication on the Internet. The Internet is dynamic, it is fluid and it never forgets. Every version, every iteration is Beta. Beta is a software development term meaning “under construction, enter at your own risk“. The whole Internet is an ever evolving social experiment, enter at your own risk. The point of publishing a document in the age of the Internet is to begin a conversation, to get it out in Beta. You begin where you are and develop from there with the help of an incredibly large number of people around the world who can and will help you to accomplish truly incredible things. It’s the very thing we are doing here.

So far I have been sending my rambling thoughts through E-mail, LinkedIn, Facebook and a Tweet here and there. Now, however, I am inviting friends and colleagues from other areas of study, other disciplines, and other industries to the conversation. I expect this conversation to fork off onto other social media platforms that cater to their particular interests and professions. I expect there will be conversations as engaging as ours here. The Internet or more specifically, the World Wide Web, is dynamic and fluid…..and represents a pool of perspectives that is infinitely diverse. If we all add our dot to the picture and then step back, maybe….just maybe….we will be able to get a true big picture. It never forgets for many reasons but if you doubt me, check this out.

Because it is dynamic and fluid, I’ll try to capture what is happening on other threads and bring them back to one site. For now it is here on wordpress but soon I’ll move this conversation to http://www.crackerbelly.me. I just registered the domain name. Like it? It cracks me up. Crackerbelly is my alter ego and I’ll tell you soon enough who he is. For now, just know that he is the character with a funny name who wants to talk about a mind-blowingly important thing. ‘Crackerbelly dot me‘ because Crackerbelly speaks for no one but him….me….self, well you know. He lives in Forks, Washington and he is a not so successful Home Care Agency owner, Lights Are on But Nobody Is Home Senior Care Agency. He is desperate and looking for a way to save his business. While doing research and analysis he discovers something startling, something scary, and something that gives him hope. What does he see? Home Care Agencies may very well become the hub upon which the entire Long Term Care industry pivots and at times he thinks maybe the whole Health Care Industry will pivot on, if not the Home Care Agency, then the home. The Home Care Agency could be the conduit through which average folk grant access to their care plan. The power of the Health Care system is about to shift away from a centralized system to a distributed system where most of the power resides with the individual. This is the disruptive and trans-formative power that the Internet brings to institutions, cultures, beliefs, and economies. It is in this context that we need to understand the Home Care Agency of the 21st Century. I know this because I have already seen it happen elsewhere, in other times and other industries. I want to let you know what is coming. It will be real cool and real scary. The essays that follow are in the spirit of this new world, the World Wide Web.

To some, I promised to share what I believe to be the tiers of work (or, if you prefer, revenue streams) for a Home Care Agency in the 21st century. I’ll discuss these more directly from my perspective as a Home Care Agency owner in my next essay or perhaps from Crackerbelly’s perspective. My word count is getting way too high in the lower left hand corner. I better close or lose my audience, if I haven’t already, to death by a wall of words and monotony. Here are those levels of work as I see them now:

  1. Home Care Consumer Electronics (point of sale)
  2. Home Care Consumer Electronics (support, subscription, design, customization, integration, architect, consulting, hosting)
  3. ‘Senior-ization’ of living spaces (Home Modification)
  4. Concierge Services (mom wants a hair-do…..why not)
  5. Home Care, including new services made possible by sharing the Web Dashboard with individuals

If you have stayed through the trailing credits then you are a true fan of Digital and Social Media. That being the case, try to answer this if you can. What is the significance of the license that I have on this page? If you don’t know, you might want to find out. It’s really cool and really scary. Check it out.

Creative Commons License
The Home Care Agency of the 21st Century (Part 1) by Mark Shea is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at wp.me.

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