On-demand technology platforms are quickly becoming a staple for consumers. Banking on this growing trend, Cera, a digital care start-up, has announced its plans to work with on-demand ride service Uber, and the NHS to bring independence and mobility to seniors in UK.
Cera was backed by former and current heads of JustEat, Standard Chartered bank, UBS and the World Health Organisation, recognised for its new approach to elder care. It has also been chosen by the NHS to deliver social care to patients out of hospital quickly and transparently.
The partnership will allow Cera’s London-based carers to use Uber to get to the people they are caring for as quickly and seamlessly as possible. It will also give those who need care the freedom to book cars so they can get out and about when they would otherwise have been housebound, or had to rely on someone else.
Disabled customers, or those who need a little extra help, will be able to book UberASSIST – or a fully wheelchair accessible vehicle through UberWAV – driven by one of Uber’s hundreds of fully licensed partner drivers, who have been through a specially designed disability equality training course.
Alongside the partnership with Uber, Cera has also joined forces with several NHS hospitals and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) that cover over five million people, to boost quality and efficiency in the way social care is delivered. Barts Health NHS Trust and the CCGs for Harrow, Brent and Hillingdon, amongst others, will be using Cera’s services to improve care for the elderly, assist with hospital discharge, crack down on bed-blocking and prevent readmissions through higher quality and on-demand home care.
Barts Health NHS Trust is the largest NHS Trust in the country with a 16,000-strong workforce and turnover of £1.4 billion. Cera will deliver home care for Barts Health patients including those with dementia and cancer. Cera’s services include working with stroke units to improve integration across health and social care, and transform home services for those suffering from recent strokes.
Launched in November 2016 following a successful £1.3 million seed round, Cera uses state-of-the-art technology to match those needing care with a highly experienced carer, at the right time, at the right place. The service, which is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), is the only platform of its kind to get a carer to your door or hospital bed in under 24 hours.
The start-up, which has already delivered tens of thousands of hours of care across the country, allows anyone to book and coordinate emergency or long-term care from their smartphone. Family members can also send messages to and receive updates from the carer in real time via Cera’s online portal.
Co-founder and president, Dr. Ben Maruthappu believes partnerships through technology are the way forward to provide holistic care. “Today we’re firing the starting gun on revolutionising integration between health and social care through technology. These partnerships tackle major challenges in the NHS, cracking down on bed-blocking and delayed discharges, while providing high-quality and efficient care. Cera’s aim is to set the precedent for technology-led care solutions that benefit patients, families and the NHS alike,” he said.
Maruthappu is a practicing doctor who co-founded the NHS Innovation Accelerator, scaling tech innovations to over three million patients in six months. He was recently ranked amongst the 100 most influential leaders in health technology, globally and was included in WIRED’s top 10 Innovators in Healthcare.
The platform’s other co-founder, Marek Sacha, has also been featured in Forbes’ 30 under 30 along with Maruthappu, for Cera’s client-carer matching service. To date, Cera has already delivered tens of thousands of hours of care with a 99 per cent satisfaction rate, and has hundreds of carers on its roster. It is most active throughout London and in neighbouring counties. Cera recently won Britain’s Health Startup of the Year and is a part of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme.
For Maruthappu, it’s a matter of providing a vital basic need for an often forgotten demographic, and the new partnerships will empower otherwise home-bound people. “Older people and those with disabilities will now have access to the highest quality drivers, while carers will be able to efficiently travel to ensure they can provide services in the right place at the right time.”