As home care providers increasingly embrace creative solutions to long-standing industry challenges, the use of engagement platforms, or “gamification,” has become more common.
This means that more companies that can aid providers with this process are emerging on the scene. One of the newest is New York-based Ava — an AI rewards platform that serves the home care space.
Caregivers using Ava have the opportunity to earn points as they are working the job. For example, caregivers can earn points for clocking in, as well as for making referrals. Ava connects directly with providers’ EMR systems, and the company uses AI to track caregiver engagement and form incentives based on their specific needs.
Currently, the East Coast company has clients throughout the U.S., and there are over 10,000 caregivers using the platform.
As a company, Ava is focused on solving caregiver retention, recruiting and engagement, according to CEO and co-founder Victor Hunt.
“Our focus is on turning every agency into a destination employer, in order to help them really solve those core issues,” Hunt told Home Health Care News. “We do this by building an incentives program, and really automating that whole chief people officer role in their business. We are pretty much focused on ensuring that every caregiver who comes in the door wants to stay there long-term, feel satisfied, and that the agency doesn’t feel overwhelmed or stretched too thin.”
Hunt and Ava’s other co-founder – President and Chief Technology Officer Daniel Tian – both have Silicon Valley backgrounds. But they were also both familiar with the home care space.
“I have family members who have operated in home care, and one of the first things that Daniel and I would do was spend time moonlighting at home care agencies in Queens, New York,” Hunt said.
It was during this time where Hunt and Tian found inspiration for the company’s name, one that aligned with its mission of incentivizing caregivers.
“One of the agencies we would work with had a story about a caregiver who just stood out above everyone,” Hunt said. “She would champion every initiative the agency had. Whenever they brought a new technology, she was the one really advocating for it to get the other caregivers riled up. She would also do things like visiting clients in the hospital. In her 10 years working there, she referred over 100 new caregivers. Her name was Ava.”
In other words, Ava, the company, wants to create a workforce that is filled with caregivers like Ava, the person.
Though the company has only been around for just under a year, Ava has already begun to garner some impressive metrics.
“We’re regularly seeing improvement in retention in the 30% to 40% range, and [getting] 85% of caregivers on board in the first week,” Hunt said. “We see a six-fold increase in referrals, a near perfect EVV compliance and a massive drop in call outs down to, really, low-single digits.”
Right at Home Gainesville recently began utilizing Ava in order to more effectively reduce caregiver turnover.
“We run the business through a set of KPIs and metrics, and two of the key metrics we were utilizing regarding Ava were: looking at reducing caregiver turnover in the first 90 days and [demonstrating] improved engagement across our caregiver population,” Pete Morrissey, co-owner of Right At Home Gainesville, told HHCN. “These two metrics have been met and exceeded whereby we have been able to reduce our turnover rate by 30%.”
Hunt believes that what sets Ava apart from possible competitors is that it goes further than rewards.
“This isn’t an antiquated rewards program where we go, ‘Hey, thanks for showing up, here’s a buck,’” he said. “Instead, we’re going to get deep into the details of the EMR. We’re automating, and understanding, ‘How is the caregiver showing up every day? Where are they feeling like they need support? How can we automate them to get ahead of the issue, even before they have to bring it up to any kind of manager?’”
Looking ahead, Tian believes that there’s room for Ava to grow alongside home care increasing visibility.
“We really think that home care, and home health, is going to be the most important industry this decade,” he said. “With our Silicon Valley background, we’re really excited to bring in people who normally are not in the industry into this industry.”