One newly launched company is meeting the consumer-driven desire for on-demand health services in the home. The startup, Carol Health, features an the online platform designed to send a registered nurse within two hours of a client requesting it.
Carol Health has launched its pilot program in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Unlike home health care or typical private duty home care, Carol Health offers an RN in the home to provide a range of services, from wound dressing to medication management and more. The cost rings in at $65 per hour—well above the average national price for private duty home care.
Co-founders Mike Czechowskyj and Anthony Lazzaro started the company hoping to close a hole they see in the in-home care space.
While private duty care can cover many services at home, it doesn’t offer medical services that a registered nurse can do. Carol Health—shortened from “Care for All”—sends an RN to a home of a client within two hours of the call being placed and being screened for the right services.
“What we have found is our customer is really the caretaker, the most connected resource to the parent, who is dealing with the first-hand problem,” Czechowskyj told Home Health Care News.
The system enables a family to set up care for a loved one and remain looped in on the process. The pilot will run over the next five months, during which time the company hopes to see 320 signups. So far, with just a week of marketing, 20 people have signed up, and the company is starting out with two nurses.
The idea was born out of Spectrum Health Innovations, a division of Spectrum Health, a Michigan-based managed care system. The Innovations division receives ideas from employees, some of which are selected to be developed to bring to market. Spectrum Health Innovations also funded the startup.
While the technology allows for clients and their families to be connected to the care wherever they are, it’s the service itself that Czechowskyj and Lazzaro see as innovative.
“We’re not creating anything where we’re expecting people to make serious changes in their lifestyle to successfully use the product,” Czechowskyj said. “It’s as simple as possible but effective…Now is the right time to do this because it’s the way consumers expect to get services.”
Staffing for the on-demand component is something Carol Health hopes to accomplish as it ramps up over time; the founders hope that nurses who work full time in a hospital or health system will see the platform as an opportunity to supplement hours elsewhere.
“We are tapping into the resource of nurses working long shifts,” Czechowskyj said. “This is another way for nurses to pick up extra hours. Instead of working 8-hour or 12-hour shifts, which they can’t do if they have other commitments, this would allow them to still pick up hours on their time.”
The model works on a 1099 contract basis with nurses.
“Our goal isn’t to have full-time nurses who quit working in the hospitals,” Lazzaro said. “We are stretching the supply of nurses without straining them. This provides a better lifestyle without [touching] that burnout rate.”
After completing its pilot program over the next five months, Carol Health hopes to expand beyond Grand Rapids, potentially offering additional services down the line, such as looking at specific patient populations to reduce hospital readmissions or offering a platform to deliver physician care. Carol Health also aims to be part of value-based care systems and opportunities with payers down the line.
“Decreasing [readmissions] is what we are looking to start and how we add value to hospitals,” Lazzaro said. “Carol is here as a support system, not a competitor. We aren’t trying to steal patients, we’re trying to support patients and add value to the health system.”
Written by Amy Baxter