It appears that speed is of the essence among high-profile tech startups looking to shake up how home care providers connect with clients. Seniors will be able to connect with home care professionals in 12 minutes or less thanks to a new 15-point algorithm developed by California-based startup HomeHero, a company that’s been likened to “the Match.com for elder care.”
The announcement comes on the heels of home care startup Honor unveiling an on-demand feature to its caregiver booking portal, which guarantees that customers will receive an initial evaluation within two hours of their request.
The HomeHero algorithm launched last week and improves upon HomeHero’s older formula, which took up to six hours to pair a senior and a caregiver, CEO Kyle Hill tells Home Health Care News. Now, HomeHero can generate three or four matches within its promised 12-minute timeframe.
The rise in on-demand home care matchmaking and appointments has led some to refer to the “Uberization” of the industry. But that’s not the comparison Hill aims for.
“I really do put an emphasis on quality over speed, but we’re doing both really well right now,” Hill says. “I think we are more similar to Match.com than we are to Uber, since care is something that isn’t all about speed. It’s about building a long-term relationship with somebody you may spend the rest of your life with.”
As part of the process, clients must take a brief quiz to outline their preferences, including location, schedule and care needs. A caregiver’s attributes ranging from punctuality to language abilities are weighted (except for gender and live-in preference), which could immediately exempt a caregiver depending on a client’s preferences. Then, using an algorithm that scans HomeHero’s database of more than 1,500 caregivers in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area, the quiz results and provider attributes are compared to create matches.
From there, customers can watch online interviews with the caregivers they’ve matched with and decide who might be the best fit. Hill says once clients have selected their caregiver, services will begin either the same day or the following, and HomeHero “proactively calls them” to confirm appointment times, answer questions and ask about the arrangement process.
“Part of the beauty in this is understanding where to interject technology and where to interject people,” Hill says. “You could go through this all by yourself if you wanted to, but we’ve found that most of our clients do like speaking to us on the phone. We have a lot of information on our website, but they still like to hear someone on the phone when they’re deciding on something as important as a caregiver.”
Administratively, Hill says quantifying punctuality, credentials and the like has resulted in some backlash from caregivers who aren’t receiving the same amount of job offers as before. But this provides an opportunity for improvement, he says.
“What it’s really allowed us to do is put more emphasis on the quality of care that goes into a home,” Hill says. “There has been a little bit of a shuffle on the caregiver side about who’s getting those job offers, but it’s for the benefit of the entire industry. I like to believe that we’re lifting the quality across the board, in all four of these cities, in terms of what we have decided is a quality caregiver.”
The recently announced algorithm comes months after HomeHero secured $20 million in funding to expand into new markets, and Hill says he expects HomeHero to spread beyond California by the end of the year.
Written by Kourtney Liepelt