ZIONSVILLE — Ask anyone who's had a loved one in a nursing home or extended care facility about how they kept current with patient information and care plans and you're probably in for a horror story.

That's what happened to Matt Pracek, whose grandfather went to an extended care facility with traumatic brain damage while Pracek was a student at Ball State University.

Pracek quickly discovered how hard it was to get basic information on his grandfather, not necessarily because the staff didn't care, but sometimes because they were overwhelmed by the volume of calls and inquiries they received.

Pracek figured there ought to be a way to manage this information, most of it confidential and protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), so it could be easily accessed by patients, relatives and caregivers.

That was the genesis of SafeKeeping, a computer and smartphone app that does just that.

And that was how Doug Wilcox came to be chief executive officer of SafeKeeping.

“Matt founded and started the company as a Ball State student — senior year project as part of the entrepreneurship program,” Wilcox said. “Then, roughly a year ago, I was admitting my mom into a small facility in Anderson. It just so happened that it was the one pilot location Matt had just started.

“The Admissions Director there gave me a homemade flyer Matt had created and casually mentioned that they had a resident engagement tool started by a 'kid from Ball State.' I instantly recognized the gap Matt was trying to fill, as I had experienced the same frustration as he had with his grandfather's situation,” Wilcox said.

“I was just exiting another start-up and had been working with start-ups and high-growth tech companies for the past 10 years, so I called Matt on the way home, introduced myself and said I would like to learn more about what he was working on and see if I could help,” Wilcox said.

At that time, Pracek didn't have a working platform but was working to finalize the concept.

“I joined full-time to help him with day-day operations, company strategy and go-to-market strategy. We eventually went live with SafeKeeping in mid-July and were post-revenue (signed our first contract) a few weeks later on Aug. 1,” Wilcox said.

“So there is not only a strong business need for SafeKeeping and our offering, but both Matt and I have personal passion behind what we are doing, as we know the frustration and difficulty millions of residents and families are having in trying to have meaningful communications with caregivers, and that caregivers experience that same frustration on their end,” Wilcox said.

He, Pracek and Howard Nodine, chief technical officer, are equity partners in the company.

SafeKeeping is one of the startup businesses being fostered by zWORKS, an economic development organization that provides shared work space, along with programming and resources for entrepreneurs, startups, freelancers and remote workers.

ZWORKS has two spaces in the village of Zionsville. The original co-working space began in the historic firehouse at 85 E. Cedar St. A second, expanded space offers more conference rooms and startup offices nearby at 75 E. Pine St. Both locations are just off the brick Main Street.

“We are integrated with one of the largest medical record providers,” Wilcox said. “Most facilities have electronic medical records and are required to put everything in their database.”

Whenever a patient is admitted to one of SafeKeeping's customer facilities, they sign a release that is included with their admittance paperwork. The facility assumes power of attorney, authorizing them to determine who should have access to patient information.

Then everyone involved — the patient, relatives and caregivers — can use the SafeKeeping app to see up-to-date information about the patient and his or her care.

For more information on the company, visit the website at safekeepingapp.com.