The caregiver shortage is frequently named as the top challenge for home-based care providers, which is why technology companies in the space are making a push for tools to help solve the issue.
One such company, Swift Shift, has teamed up with one of the nation’s biggest home health care providers, New Jersey-based Bayada Home Health Care, to ensure caregivers are given a full work load and reduce caregiver turnover. Bayada, which has more than 325 locations nationwide, is making the platform available to all its offices.
Swift Shift offers a workforce management system through its mobile platform that aims to cut down on “bench time,” or the down time for caregivers between shifts. Too much bench time can result in higher turnover rates among caregivers.
Swift Shift, which is based in New York and has clinched more than $3 million in two funding rounds with venture capital funds since its inception in 2015, has also nabbed an enterprise-wide agreement with Aveanna Healthcare, the nation’s largest pediatric home health care company. Aveanna, which announced its new name in April 2017, was formed through the merger of PSA Healthcare and Epic Health Services.
One of the biggest issues related to caregiver retention is ensuring that new workers are given cases right away. New employees, in particular, are more likely to quit if they are not given a case within 48 hours, according to Assaf Shalvi, CEO of Swift Shift.
“What we hear is that if new caregivers don’t get a case within 48 hours, they are likely to go somewhere else,” Shalvi told Home Health Care News. “We spend all this money on job ads and interviewing and onboarding and uniforms and vetting, but if we don’t manage to put them on a case within 48 hours, we lose them. And all that investment goes down the drain.”
What the platform provides is a means for caregivers to view available shifts and apply for them through their own mobile device. Nurses can input their own settings, including their availability, any specialty skills, the distance they are willing to travel and more, to find shifts that may match their profile.
From the provider side, a company like Bayada can publish an available shift to its network of employees—even across nearby offices—to find a good match for a client. Providers can review profiles and have more choice in who is interested in the shift and who may be the best fit for the client.
The automated approach enables caregivers to find work quickly and fill up their schedules, while also freeing up schedulers in the office who no longer have to call or text employees to fill an opening.
As consistency is an important aspect building a relationship between clients and caregivers, nurses who have worked with a patient before or over a long period of time are given priority to take the shift.
While the platform is still in its early days, Shalvi envisions the technology will create a “network” of home health care workers that will cut down on turnover rates, as workers will be able to pick up shifts quickly that are well suited to them.
In-Demand Workforce, On-Demand Scheduling
With a shortage of caregivers and high demand expected over the coming years, adding efficiencies that reduce turnover is a top priority for home health care providers.
Other systems that call or text employees and ask them about availability to fill open shifts can be “intrusive” from the employee perspective, according to Shalvi.
“Today, nurses and caregivers are a scarce resource, and everybody is chasing them,” Shalvi said.
Instead of badgering caregivers, the platform allows nurses to view shifts that are available and apply for the spot if it fits their schedule. The platform also has other functions, including messaging, push notifications, email and phone calls, which also help streamline communications between providers and caregivers.
After a successful pilot round in Philadelphia, Bayada opted to make the technology available for all its locations. Bayada has been using Swift Shift for about a year and a half, the company told HHCN.
One of the biggest boons to Bayada has been in dealing with new cases, as the company can now more confidently accept new clients knowing they will likely be able to fill a shift quickly.
“Historically, when there wasn’t a huge nursing shortage, we had people picking up shifts all the time,” Michelle Cashwell, application manager at Bayada, told HHCN. “Now, we’re a lot more confident that we can push out [a new case] to a ton of people, versus calling 100 people and trying to find someone [to fill the shift]. We’re a lot more confident saying yes to our audience.”
Bayada anticipates the technology will increase efficiencies for schedulers.
“We estimate this will reduce the time case managers are on the phone trying to find someone, improve their ability to manage more clients and connect with clients as well as new employees,” Melinda Phillips, chief recruiting officer at Bayada, told HHCN. “It reduces the administrative burden to fill shifts.”
Efficiencies at Scale
With two major home health care providers among its clients, Swift Shift understands that its applications are best suited for larger providers.
“The sweet spot for Swift Shift is 200 to 300 employees, at least,” Shalvi said. “Those are the numbers where you start to see return on investment. That’s where we can add value. The bigger you are, the more value you can get from Swift Shift.”
Swift Shift also counts locations with home care franchisors Home Instead and Senior Helpers among its client base – two companies with a significant footprint in the private duty market.
Looking ahead, Swift Shift is focused first on completing its rollouts with Bayada and Aveanna as the company continues to expand. Swift Shift is also undergoing another funding round to raise another $2 million, Shalvi told HHCN.
“We’re a small startup,” he said. “Our entire team is less than 20 people. We just captured two big whales and want to make sure they are happy.”
Under its enterprise agreement with Bayada, Swift Shift is currently rolling out its technology at a rate of roughly 20 Bayada offices per month until complete adoption, according to Shalvi.
Written by Amy Baxter