Monica Stynchula founded REUNIONCare to bring the cost-saving and efficiency benefits of enterprise-level electronic health record systems to individual and family caregivers.
"When my father got sick with brain cancer, I found myself flying back and forth from my home in Florida to his home in Pittsburgh," she explained. "He received all his care at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center which had spent $1.3 billion on an amazing electronic health record system. As a result, he received the best coordinated care. He never unnecessarily repeated anything, including forms, because information moved flawlessly through the system. But as soon as he was discharged, all bets were off. People started showing up at our door at wrong or inconvenient times. People brought medical equipment that we didn't order. That's when it hit me that families caring for loved ones at home needed the same level of coordination that UPMC provides."
So was born REUNIONCare, a healthcare technology company that acts as a virtual social worker to connect families and caregivers directly with providers. "The average out-of-pocket expense for caregivers is $7,000 per year," Stynchula said. "We want to guide you so you spend that money judiciously. We provide a direct connection between providers and caregivers. The other solutions today either work on the provider level only or they are just an app for family members. We bridged those areas and brought them together."
Stynchula's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to make sure you have the resources, support and grit to complete a difficult journey. "Make sure you have enough money for three years, that your family and friends are aware and supportive of what you are doing," she said. "Understand that it is not a straight line. There is no recipe. Markets change, conditions change, you need to modify. It's not a simple process, but the journey is worth it."