SOURCE: eAdvocate


June 02, 2015 09:00 ET

eAdvocate Launches New Online Healthcare Marketplace Offering Affordable Self-Directed Care

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - June 02, 2015) - eAdvocate a new online "Caring Marketplace" is officially launching in southern Ontario. is designed to offer clients essential information, direct care services and innovative online tools to help them become better advocates when caring for their loved ones. eAdvocate offers clients more choice, more control and lower costs than traditional ways of finding care.

Canadians are highly invested in caring for their loved ones. More than 25% of us are involved in providing informal care for a family member or close friend, and over 500,000 Canadians pay for some form of private healthcare at home. The reality of the healthcare system today is that a significant portion of home healthcare is now being paid for privately, requiring families to shoulder the responsibilities of finding, managing and paying for care.

Traditionally, private care has been provided by agencies that hire caring professionals and then assign them to clients. What makes the eAdvocate approach different is they are not an 'agency', but instead have created a 'marketplace' for care. What makes this approach unique is that as a Caring Marketplace, eAdvocate provides a platform that eliminates the overhead of traditional agencies by allowing families and patients to find, screen, hire and coordinate health care practitioners directly. As a result, eAdvocate is able to offer clients better care for less, while also ensuring better recognition and enhanced compensation for caring professionals.

As homecare trends toward a more self-directed model, there is an increasing demand for more self-directed care options. Frequently, one family member takes the lead 'advocate' role in making key healthcare choices for a patient. eAdvocate's platform is designed to empower these patient advocates by providing the tools to facilitate better care planning, coordinate patient care, communicate with family and care teams, as well as manage budgets, payments and scheduling. Having a skilled advocate involved in patient-care is a common theme for successful health outcomes.

The marketplace model has proven its effectiveness in offering more choice and lowering costs in a diverse range of business sectors from accommodation (AirBnB, Homeaway) to transportation (Uber, Lyft) to a wide range of goods (Etsy, EBay). However to date, this 'marketplace' model has not yet been effectively applied to the Canadian healthcare sector. Developing a marketplace model requires specialized knowledge of the complexities of the healthcare, as well as experience in leveraging technology solutions to support the needs of caregivers.

eAdvocate was founded by Janet Balfour, a PhD with over 20 years of experience in social work and social policy, in partnership with her husband Rob Balfour an experienced digital technology entrepreneur. While working as a social worker, Janet was a passionate advocate, and was inspired to find innovative ways to offer more affordable, patient-centric care. She was equally committed to advocating for her caring professional colleagues to take more control of their careers, as well as be better recognized and compensated for their valuable caring work.

eAdvocate launched the first phase of their site in March, allowing caring professionals to register, learn more about our services and create professional profiles -- so far hundreds have signed up. The full platform has now been released, allowing clients to post Requests for Care, to receive proposals from caring professionals and to contract directly with them.

eAdvocate will be expanding their service to other Canadian provinces later this summer and will also be rolling out new tools including the ability for clients to receive lower cost care plans online and hire care coordinators to assist them in managing complex care. They also plan to launch a new bursary program, eAdvocate Cares, later this year that will dedicate 1.5% of company revenue to support families who may not be able to afford the urgent health and social services they need. eAdvocate plans to further expand to the US in 2016.

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