All in good health? Today’s and tomorrow’s healthcare market – and interview with Paul Lunow, Part 2

During our previous blog post, we introduced Paul of Nepos in a fascinating interview. At this point, let us resume our conversation about Nepos, a digitisation platform for seniors.

RealCast is a podcast series by fiveandfriends for the real estate industry. RealCast discusses relevant topics and mega trends of our day and age, the focus being on the communication and marketing of sustainable investment solutions.

Stefan Stüdemann: Of course, good health is not exactly a subject that is new, but it has definitely moved up on the agenda during the pandemic. Given the focus of our clientele, we are naturally most interested in the area of real estate assets and investments. And here, healthcare has been a mega trend for quite some time now, with no end in sight. I can vividly imagine the deployment of Nepos in this context. Have you already touched base in this sense? For instance, have you considered collaborating with operators of healthcare real estate?

Paul Lunow: Yes, we definitely have. We have had quite a number of talks, and we have already completed several projects.

“Over the past four years, the research took chief priority for us because, of course, we would not want to develop something that is oblivious to actual user needs.”

So, we took each of our prototypes to convalescent homes at a very early stage, setting up computer classes for seniors. One factor that ultimately stalled some of the projects we had planned for was the unavailability of Internet access in the rooms of convalescent homes. It is something I had not expected and would not have thought possible.

Stefan: I was just trying to imagine us, you and I hanging out in an otherwise lush senior living residence but without Internet! I think it would be the end of the world for us, right, Paul? But to be serious: Your role in this is that of the eye-opener as you vainly tried to bridge a certain need. How do you implement a basic digitisation of a senior living residence or of a care home?

Paul: The Internet is indeed something we would no longer want to be without. And just try to think of all the ways in which it could seriously simplify processes in a convalescent home. In those projects that do move ahead, we spend a lot of time raising people’s awareness, and we gladly host workshops for the staff working in those homes. You have to take a very subtle approach, and take a hard look at the facts on the ground, above all. Check what is necessary, and what is actually helpful.

Stefan: That means Nepos is to some extent a digital consultant for operators of properties occupied by elderly people, generally speaking, in order to provide an option for solving issues in better or more sensible and efficient ways.

Stefan: Perhaps it will also raise the level of contentment among the residents, leaving more time for issues that truly matter. Meaning the human issues that, sadly, tend to take the back seat to everything else. For me, this would seem like an USP or an asset for the operator. For the residents, it creates the option to use digitisation to participate in public life more actively without having to make any major changes. So, you provide the link to the public in this context, providing the consultancy for its use?

Paul: Correct, this is increasingly the case. While the user interface is our USP, we keep getting more and more requests for end-to-end solutions. Meaning along the lines of: We need 250 tablet computers for our residents along with mobile phone contracts and remote maintenance for all of them so as to keep the technical effort for us to a minimum. The idea being that the people who want such a device can use them in a carefree way. At the same time, residents with their own devices should also be able to access the same contents via their web interface.

Stefan: As far as your own outlook goes, Paul, if we were to assume you get to live in a well-pointed care home of this type as a senior: What would you wish for? What are the things the technology may be able to do for us in the more distance future that would represents a significant value-added for us?

Paul: I think communication is still what motivates people in our day and age, and it will motivate me too when the time comes. To remain in touch with people, with my family and friends, and to form truly close ties.
Among the highly fascinating things that we are already seeing are VR glasses that elderly people can put on to watch their grandchildren’s birthday somewhere across the globe, filmed with 360-degree cameras. It lets people look around and interact, and while this system is still in its prototype phase, things will, of course, keep moving forward.

“I simply hope that I will be in the lucky situation later to communicate, sound of mind and body, with my family whenever they are away for whatever reason.”

The main thing being to preserve the closeness of family even if another pandemic keeps us from seeing each other in person.

Stefan: An exciting topic, to be sure! It was a pleasure to talk to you about this subject. My takeaway from this conversation is that the main question to ask whenever I find myself in need of support and the assistance of others later in life, is this: Do you use Nepos? My decision for or against a given facility would definitely depend on the answer. And who knows, perhaps I will find myself living next door to Paul who, being a system admin, will squeeze some extra features out of the system for me. I’d love that! Thank you so much for taking the time!