CareStarter: Dawning the New Era of Pediatric Special Care

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John Relic, COO
As extraordinary a business owner Lamarque Polvado was, one event changed his life in its entirety. Nevertheless, it snowballed into an idea that would go on to serve a largely neglected population. When Polvado discovered that his young daughter was autistic, he was appalled by the fact the healthcare system had virtually nothing more to offer beyond a diagnosis. No further resources or information was provided to assist in her care. Yet, like any other father in his shoes, he left no stones unturned in providing her with the right aid to living with a disability. Polvado went on to sell his business and embarked on a quest to learn all he could about how to address meeting resources required for a child with special needs. He formed a not-for-profit, became a subject matter expert and national speaker on the subject, and even gave several informative presentations at venues like TEDx.

He came across several studies highlighting that 80-90 percent of modifiable health-related behaviors such as nutrition, education, housing, and other access to required resources impact health, while medical care only accounts for only a 10-20 percent contribution to healthy outcomes. In order to keep a family and child with special needs out of crises and obtain long-term resiliency, the delivery of social determinant of health (SDOH) resources has been shown to be a significant factor in the patient’s health and overall wellness. Therefore, providing patients access to resources specific to their child’s age and diagnosis and close to home is of critical support to a family’s needs as well as keeping overall healthcare costs down. However, the demand of providing patients with the required and available SDOH resources is not a new problem. Current methodologies are piecemeal and rely on manually-supported solutions. Further, these approaches have been limited in scope. They do not provide the resources specific to a patient’s needs. This is especially the case when dealing with families of children with special needs.

That’s why Polvado set the foundation stone of CareStarter to address this need by offering a solution that delivers essential SDOH resources required in the care of a child. “The goal was to develop a fully automated IT based delivery platform that addresses patients’ resources needs driven by advanced care modeling, management, and communication techniques. Further, the platform did not require medical provider or ancillary staff to be engaged in its delivery and use,” says John Relic, COO, CareStarter.

CareStarter is the first of its’ kind fully automated SaaS platform that can deliver all SDOH resources required for children with special needs. A typical engagement would begin with CareStarter developing a database of resource providers within the catchment area as defined by the client and patient needs. These resources are within the following six major areas of education, nutrition, recreation, medical, therapy, and family. CareMaps are developed using trauma-informed care and predictive crises modeling designed specifically to a child’s diagnosis, age, and zip code.


The goal was to develop a fully automated IT based delivery platform that addresses patients’ resources needs driven by advanced care modeling, management, and communication techniques

These CareMaps are then delivered to the family upon their diagnosis. This is done through interfacing with the provider-patient database. The patient is then sent their CareMap in an interactive PDF and through the CareStarter app.

Relic recalls an instance wherein one of the company’s FQHC clients demonstrated the significant value of the CareStarter Platform in the care of their pediatric population— for nearly two years. For 26,248 new patients in 2020, 312,620 CareMaps were delivered alongside a total of 1,154,912 resources (58 percent Well Care and 42 percent Special Needs Care). “Our clinic partner was thrilled to have accessed this volume of patients with essential resources. They could work without any staff. Based upon the literature, using a semi-automated solution would have required 3-5 social worker staff, with an overall average cost of $83,000— the projected savings was between 250,000 to 400,000 annually,” says Relic.

With many such success stories under its belt, CareStarter is focused on furthering the development of its CareMaping, resources data infrastructure scalability, and meeting the highest level of healthcare security demands. Currently, CareStarter, under a contract with the Air Force, is implementing its platform to the Exceptional Family Medical Program (EFMP), both adults and children. This effort will highlight the significant benefits and adoption of its platform. CareStarter intends to demonstrate that its automated platform delivers patient care and cost benefits to an exceedingly difficult patient population.

CareStarter is also looking to expand its market presence and product offerings in 2021. After extensive customer and patient feedback, efforts are underway to advance the software platform and its scalability. “Our customers will be presented with a fully compliant HIPAA and Federal required patient safety platform. New data resourcing and care feedback enhancements will provide our customer with the only solution addressing the ever growing demands for SDOH and Value Based Care requirements in a fully automated environment. Lastly, CareStarter intends to expand is platform beyond the pediatric space, as its approach is universally applicable to many other health care conditions,” concludes Relic.

Company
CareStarter

Headquarters
Austin, TX

Management
John Relic, COO

Description
CareStarter is the first of its’ kind fully automated SaaS platform that can deliver all SDOH resources required for children with special needs. A typical engagement would begin with CareStarter developing a database of resource providers within the catchment area as defined by the client and patient needs. These resources are within the following six major areas of education, nutrition, recreation, medical, therapy, and family. CareMaps are developed using trauma-informed care and predictive crises modeling designed specifically to a child’s diagnosis, age, and zip code