On a recent flight heading to the Home Instead annual convention in Omaha, I was reflecting on how much technology has disrupted nearly every facet of modern day travel. From booking my flight on kayak.com to catching an Uber ride at the airport to using my iPhone to secure a hotel room via the Hilton Honor’s application – every step of my travel was enhanced by technology. The icing on the cake? I actually completed and submitted my taxes on the in-flight wifi, courtesy of United Airlines. Technology is bleeding into and disrupting just about every aspect of our lives and every remote corner of business. So given our mission at ClearCare – to empower home care agencies to operate as efficiently as possible and grow, and to improve healthcare and aging — it’s only natural to ask how technology will improve the delivery of care to our aging population.
Let’s consider Home Hero, a company that takes high-definition video interviews of local caregivers and connects care recipients directly with those caregivers for direct hire — over coffee. This model bypasses the traditional agency-managed home care model. Their website even claims that their model is the “...fastest, most-affordable way to find in-home care for seniors.” This group has been in business for nearly three years and aspires to expand beyond their home market of Southern California. Another recent entrant into the direct-to-consumer home care market segment is Honor. A couple of weeks back, Honor emerged on the scene, boasting a $20 million round of funding. Honor aims to be something of a “tech-enabled super-registry.” Through a combination of technology tools for caregivers and the families that they serve, Honor claims to make the delivery of home care more efficient. In fact, Honor envisions arming families with the ability to summon a caregiver in one hour increments. They are effectively seeking to “Uber-ize” the home care industry. They are certainly not the first to market with this value proposition, and they certainly won’t be the last.
I welcome technology advancements in the delivery of care for seniors – or more specifically in the delivery of care to our parents. The home care industry has been largely under served by technology. But we need to take pause in our rush to Uber-ize the world. Sure, I admit to trusting an unknown driver to shuttle me a few city blocks, but caring for seniors is fundamentally a different proposition. Seniors represent a highly vulnerable class in our society. Ensuring the proper local oversight in the care for our parents is vital. And combining that local oversight with world-class technology is powerful. Today at ClearCare, we arm an army of home care agencies with a breadth of technology solutions that allow our parents to be served in their local communities with compassionate home care agencies who hand pick, credential, support, and deliver quality caregivers to this vulnerable class of citizens. And by leveraging the ClearCare software platform, our agency partners deliver peace of mind to the sons and daughters who care for their parents.
When I created ClearCare almost five years ago, our premise was to deliver a world-class technology platform to home care agencies; agencies who deliver the last mile of care for our aging population. We have not deviated or waivered from this principle. In fact, these ill-advised, Uber-like direct care start ups have only strengthened my -- and our company's -- dedication to being the leading technology partner to home care agencies. I mean, has anyone followed the performance of care.com, another tech-enabled offering that bypasses local home care agencies, since its public offering?
For me, delivering care to the parents who raised me, as I watch their health declining, is a very personal issue. I can’t imagine whipping out my iPhone, opening an app, and arbitrarily dispatching care for my parents. It seems so cavalier. Recently, my wife and I were blessed with a new addition to our family. The instant love and connection that is forged at the moment of birth is truly awesome. And just as I am intimately involved with the delivery of care to my parents, so too will my son and daughter as I begin to age gracefully and am in need for some additional care. Why? Because it’s personal. It is really that simple.