Anyone working in care knows the challenge of being a home caregiver.
For Ilya Vakhutinsky, it’s personal.
Born in Ukraine, Vakhutinsky moved to the United States with his family when he was about one year old, with his mother becoming a caregiver and home health aide.
“I have early childhood memories of her doing that work, and the difficulty she faced, emotionally, spiritually and physically,” he says. “I remember the sights and smells of the places she brought me to. I developed a passion, almost a Robin Hood-mentality, around wanting to help caregivers.”
During his high school years in New Jersey, Vakhutinsky watched his mother become a director of nursing at a home health agency. He spent his summers working alongside her in the office.
“That’s where I learned the day-to-day of running an agency, and that’s what sparked my entrepreneurial interest in wanting to build tech for that space,” Vakhutinsky says.
The challenges he saw his mother endure, both as a caregiver and in management, left him with a compelling belief that the solution to many of these challenges is to provide greater resources — including better software — for agencies. That solution would eventually go from idea to reality with his founding of Careswitch, an agency management system built to minimize the number of different software tools agencies need while also reducing the software learning curve for caregivers.
Turning Ideas Into Action
In high school, Vakhutinsky met a kindred spirit interested in using technology to solve major problems in the healthcare system: Mark Fayngersh, his future Careswitch co-founder. The two friends each used their college years to take steps toward their eventual partnership: Ilya won a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship for what would be the first version of Careswitch, while Mark studied computer engineering at MIT. They worked together as founding members at successful mental health startup Quartet Health, and then decided to break off on their own.
Their work quickly attracted attention. Careswitch was covered in Newsweek, and in 2020 Ilya and Mark received the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 award in health care.
Over the next several years, they acquired funding from major venture capital firms; built a team that included alumni from companies like IBM, Home Care Pulse and SYNERGY HomeCare; and acquired home care software startup Rappora, which became part of the foundation for the current Careswitch platform.
The first free home care software
As of July 2022, Careswitch now operates on a freemium model where its agency management software is free, with the option to upgrade to its built-in payroll system.
Agencies that use the free system will have everything they need to run their agency on day one, benefiting from advanced user-friendly design that Vakhutinsky believes is critical to building software caregivers can learn easily and utilize fully.
“One is the idea of being caregiver-first, putting myself in the shoes of caregivers and asking what are the nitty-gritty problems that they’re dealing with and determining how we can address those in the software?” Vakhutinsky says. “A lot of stuff that is out there looks and feels like Windows ’98. We’re bringing that modern craftsman approach to building software,” he adds, emphasizing the importance of software that is intuitive, practical, and pleasing to the eye.
Caring For Those Who Care
In the end, Vakhutinsky wants to do for agencies what he saw his mother do for caregivers: help them care for patients.
“If you take care of your caregivers, they’ll take better care of your clients,” he says. “That’s the big thing here: we hope that our tools allow the agency to put their caregivers first, ultimately saving agencies money which can be spent on staff, and ultimately earning them more money in the long run.”
This article is sponsored by Careswitch. To learn more about how to use the new Careswitch platform for free, visit careswitch.com.