April Creed, Executive Director / Co-Founder, ExSitu
Many people often live with several long-term illnesses. Through medical treatments are there to cure such diseases, it offers only limited benefits and often comes with painful, burdensome side effects. Advances in medical technology and treatment create difficult decision-making situations for patients, their families, and caregivers. Dedicated to addressing this issue, an influential business leader who’s creating a ripple in the aged care industry is April Creed, Executive Director and Co-Founder of ExSitu. ExSitu is a tool that walks participants through series of simple questions that help to identify their values and desires, documenting the answers and automatically presenting them in a legally recognized format.
April and her Co-Founder Rebecca Glover emerged from an Illawarra Retirement Trust Innovation Challenge launched in 2017 to encourage employees to submit their ideas for the reinvention of support services, care experiences, and housing solutions for an aging Australia. Passionate about empowering people to steer their own decision-making, April and Rebecca responded to the call and pitched their idea for ExSitu. They devised the idea in response to bridge a gap in service provision, identified through their 40 years of combined nursing experience in the aged-care industry.
“With ExSitu you can easily create values-based advance care planning documents to sit alongside your will, power of attorney, and substitute decision making documents,” asserts April.
They then launched and founded the company in January 2019.
With ExSitu’s unique and holistic app, the company helps patients clarify more than just their medical wishes. It captures individual values in valid legal and clinical documents. April explains that the tool is designed to care for a person holistically and deliver a tailored experience, taking into account the person’s clinical and medical requirements as well as their values and beliefs.
“It’s common for people not to plan for the later stages of life and when the need arises their voice can be lost in the system,” says, April. ExSitu is unique in helping people create documents that reflect their own voice and values to guide the direction of their healthcare. In an online interactive process, it helps people navigate difficult conversations about the later stages of life, recording their core values within advance care directives and other protective documentation that can be reviewed, signed, and shared via ExSitu.
“Ultimately it will help family and friends make better decisions for the ones they love when they can no longer speak for themselves in the advanced stages of dementia or palliative care,” affirms April.
The company provides an end to end solution, starting with a conversation and providing actionable insights about an individual’s values. It facilitates lasting, positive change in the delivery of authentic consumer-directed care, combining reflection with tangible outputs and it has the potential to help all older Australians in the broader community.
ExSitu’s unique reflective digital card sorting process empowers people to document what they value and download the resulting clinically recognized advance care planning documents. The platform supports people to answer the end of life questions in a nurtured way and allows them to easily use their own words to inform the outputs. It is also exclusively unique as it enables co-design of care in a consumer-led way that steps beyond practitioner-led care and aligns closely with the single aged care quality framework making it a valuable tool for aged care providers as well as the individuals they aim to understand.
The sophisticated predictive algorithms used in the backend, translate to an easy and intuitive front end that enables higher completion rates of advance care directives than paper-based and online short-form question platforms.
Overcoming the Challenges
During the outbreak of the global pandemic, COVID-19, many companies suffered the consequences. One of the biggest challenges ExSitu has met as a company was continuing to scale in a time affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The team had to find ways to continue to deliver solutions to aged care providers. “We also focused on building our direct to consumer product which we released in September 2020. A positive effect for us was the emerging appetite of both individuals and aged care providers for on-demand e-health solutions which allowed us to address the challenge of accessibility during Covid-19,” elaborates ExSitu.
In today’s dynamic market, April thinks alignment with cause, transparency, creating quality customer led improvement and human-centered design are the most important values. She also advises the budding entrepreneurs to seek feedback frequently from all the clients who use their products.
“ExSitu will continue to grow. I would like to think that every business step or application we create in the future will be solving consumer problems,” concludes April.