Elara Caring, Choice Health at Home Praise New Home Health AI Tool ‘Apricot’

A new artificial intelligence tool has emerged in the home health space. And this one comes from one of the industry’s own operators.

Trent Smith, the CEO of the Oklahoma City-based Accentra Home Health and Hospice, is behind the new startup, Apricot, which leverages generative AI specifically. Accentra has been using Apricot for months, but now Smith has other providers signing up for it, namely Elara Caring and Choice Health at Home.

The ethos behind Apricot is around giving time back to home health nurses. The generative AI can help cut documentation time by “over 85%,” according to the company.


Beyond those time-saving qualities, there is massive potential upside elsewhere. For instance, reduced turnover costs, more clinical capacity, greater value-based care capabilities and Medicare Advantage (MA) opportunities.

“When I discovered generative AI and started messing around with it, it occurred to me that this technology could be used to help our industry in a number of different ways,” Smith told Home Health Care News. “I thought I could build a tool and use it for my own agency, so we built one to help nurses complete their startup care documentation accurately and quickly.”

On Accentra’s end, it delivers home health and hospice to over 500 patients across the state of Oklahoma.


Apricot, on the other hand, officially announced its launch last week. It is backed by the venture capital firm Cortado Ventures, which is also based in Oklahoma City.

While the AI tool was initially created for internal use only, Smith realized its enterprise value after an emotional conversation with a nurse who said the reduced documentation time gave her the opportunity to watch a movie and cuddle with her daughter after work.

“That is when I realized that this was something that I could give to the entire industry,” Smith said. “We pivoted from it being an internal tool for my agency to turning it into a business that we were going to give to all agencies.”

After that, Choice Health at Home CEO David Jackson was one of the first to get a glimpse at what would become Apricot. Jackson later mentioned the tool in a HHCN story, which then caught the eye of Elara Caring CEO Scott Powers.

Smith, Jackson and Powers all believe the tool will make the role of a home health nurse far more desirable, a prominent goal for an industry dealing with staffing shortages and burnout. Smith said Apricot is on track to serve more than 800 nurses and 20,000 patients monthly.

Both Choice Health at Home and Elara Caring are currently in the pilot stage of embedding the tool into their operations.

“I just saw a solution to some problems that we had,” Smith said. “And I was fortunate to know people that could help me build it. We found a nail and then went and built a hammer for it, as opposed to building a hammer and looking for a nail.”

Apricot’s application

Smith described Apricot as the “scribe in the scrubs” of nurses. Jackson described it as a tool that “pulls sources of truth from all over.”

“The Oasis specifically is a big, intimidating document,” Jackson told HHCN. “And very small sections of it are patient facing. We have documentation softwares, we have scrubbers, we have all this different stuff. It’s very hard to get everything to do one thing. But what I love about this is it’s pulling sources of truth from all these different places.”

Part of what Jackson is excited about is how the platform can augment work in home health care, in general. He believes it’s the best industry to be in, given the flexibility.

If Apricot can improve workflow and reduce burnout, it could be a mitigator to staffing shortages in the industry.

“We have the best gig,” Jackson said. “You go to the hospital floor, you can’t leave in the middle of the day to go to a doctor’s appointment, to pick up a kid from school. In home health, you can do that. But with that autonomy, it creates some difficulties for nurses. When you have a lot of autonomy as an employee, the documentation can crush someone. It’s very overwhelming. So, this doesn’t create the documentation for them. It doesn’t come up with the documentation for them. It just helps them get it into your system. And it helps them do it largely at the bedside.”

Powers called out the discrepancy between net promoter scores among home health patients and home health workers. With more time spent documenting than actually delivering care, home health clinicians only have an NPS of 29, Powers said. Patients, on the other hand, have an NPS of 94.

That’s why Powers had been searching for ways to “bring joy back to the job.” It’s been one of Elara Caring’s main focuses of late, which is why when he saw Jackson mention Apricot, he inquired further.

“If we can bring the joy back to the job, we can give more flexibility and we can actually provide people more care,” Powers told HHCN. “And, it’ll actually probably lower the costs for all of us, which also allows us to provide more care to people, and provide more benefits and all the kinds of things we all want to do. When we saw the article, I looked at my team and said, ‘Why the heck aren’t we doing this?’”

After staff satisfaction, there are a host of other areas where Smith, Jackson and Powers see Apricot helping.

One that Smith pointed out specifically is the ability to take on more MA patients.

“If you can increase the amount of patients a nurse can see in a standard eight-hour day, your incremental costs to adding more patients to your roster is minimal, and almost zero cost in a lot of cases,” he said. “Even if 100% of your additional patients are MA patients, those turn into great gross margin patients. And those are the exact same patients that we’re all struggling to accept. A lot of agencies just simply can’t afford to take the 40% pay cut on revenue when taking in these patients. But by decreasing this documentation time and allowing nurses to see more of them, we’re all able to say yes a lot more.”

Elara Caring and Choice Health at Home have pilots underway, with a strategy to expand utilization across their organizations in the near-term future. Specifically, Powers said that Elara Caring is handing the tool to clinicians that will likely be willing early adopters of a new technology.

As for Smith, he’s hopeful that Apricot will eventually spread across the home health industry.

“We’ve just been super lucky,” Smith said. “And we’re looking forward to onboarding more customers in the future.”

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