Home care startup Honor has added an on-demand feature to its caregiver booking portal that allows seniors to request visits on an as-needed basis, enabling rapid responses for patients being discharged from the hospital and in other situations, the company announced last week.
The new facet of Honor, deemed Honor Now, guarantees that customers will receive an initial evaluation within two hours of their request, according to a news release. This on-demand service will initially be offered in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Honor currently operates.
“We’ll continue to offer scheduled service, but people really like flexibility,” CEO Seth Sternberg tells Home Health Care News. “They don’t want to be pigeon-holed.”
After securing $20 million in funding in April, Honor originally launched in Contra Costa County, California, and services then spread throughout the Bay Area. It’s a system that matches private duty care workers with clients and provides monitoring capabilities so that family members can track care administered to their loved ones. Since Honor’s beginnings, the company has prioritized recruiting a roster of care professionals, and Sternberg told Home Health Care News in April that every worker is “deeply background checked and personally vetted.”
The quick-response home care services allow for customers’ care needs to be more immediately address and stem directly from what users indicated they want, Sternberg says. Specifically, he cites hospital discharges as instances when Honor Now proves beneficial, because discharge times typically aren’t set in stone and hospitals oftentimes require home care arrangements to be made before patients can leave. He also says situations where elderly spouses are caring for one another might require fast response times from caregivers should either person need assistance.
“Between those two, we realized we have to make this a priority and get that on-demand service set up,” Sternberg tells HHCN.
While Honor has been likened to the “Uber for home care,” Sternberg stresses that the comparison is not entirely accurate. One important differentiation is that the on-demand ride service does not prioritize matching up users with the same driver on a consistent basis, while Honor does strive to foster long-term connections between caregivers and clients.
Even with this new rapid response on-demand service, Honor is trying to enable consistent match-ups between care professionals and clients, Sternberg tells HHCN.
“Customers are asked how they liked their care pros after any given appointment. If they liked them, then we optimize to get that person back to them, and the converse is also true,” he says. “Obviously, with ad hoc service, you can’t always have the same person due to scheduling, but we then optimize to the least number of people who any given customer rates highly.”
Honor releases a new model every three days to keep operations fresh and constantly improving, Sternberg says, but Honor Now’s launch required the company to revamp some of its inner workings further. The technology had to be updated to better reflect where care professionals are at any given time; staff had to be added to cover all hours; and Honor as a whole had to be at a point where it had a dense enough customer base.
As for expansion beyond the Bay Area, Sternberg says Honor must ensure operations are manageable and care remains at the level it is now, but that the company is “pretty close” to being able to increase its footprint.
“We’ll expand when the quality will be as amazing anywhere else as it is here,” Sternberg says.
Written by Kourtney Liepelt