I’ve shared my thoughts on the challenge of caring for the world’s aging population. And the challenge of scaling that care. Now I want to turn to solutions. Because what is technology for, if not providing solutions to big, meaty challenges? I don’t claim to have all the answers yet. But our experience and explorations at Honor are revealing some of them. And if they’re helping us scale, they can probably help others in the healthcare space scale, too.
One company alone can’t solve the care crisis. It will take all of us in the healthcare space innovating and sharing our success stories to ensure those most in need of care will have access to it throughout their lives. To that end, here’s what seems to be helping Honor scale the right way. And by “right way” I mean scaling our impact—the number of people we can bring high quality care to—not just scaling our business.
It doesn’t just matter for clients. It matters for the people who are hired to care for them. We call these people Care Professionals, because that’s what they are. Care Pros are trained to perform an essential job that’s both demanding and in high demand. They deserve our respect and support as a group and as unique individuals in order to thrive in that job and do their best work.
So one of the things we do at Honor is offer highly personalized jobs to our Care Pros. We look at data to understand which homes and which kinds of clients will make a Care Pro more successful. What kinds of data? Obviously, we ask Care Pros what their preferences are—everything from max distance to a client’s home, to pets in the home, to shift times. But there are other ways that people express their preferences, including through their behavior. So we also observe what they do to discover “revealed preferences.”
For instance, a Care Pro may state that she prefers to work in a home without pets. But when we look at her schedule, we see that she frequently accepts overnight shifts that clearly identify that the client has a dog. It would appear that this Care Pro values overnight shifts, regardless of the presence of pets. So we’ll send more overnight shifts her way as they become available.
If you pay attention to revealed preferences, you can offer Care Pros more of what they really want—more than what they could have asked for. We’re designing the job around them, rather than the other way around. As we continue to create better, more personalized jobs for Care Pros, we attract and retain more Care Pros. Which in turn allows us to serve more clients.
Technology makes personalization possible
In the example above, I talked about personalizing a job for one Care Pro. And humans can do that pretty well, up to a point. Then we tap out. Our brains can only keep track of so many Care Pros’ preferences, with a bias for the most recent ones. But computers make these observations at an extraordinarily high scale, with no bias. This lets us offer more Care Pros the jobs they really want. And the more Care Pros we employ and clients we serve, the more likely we are to have the next incrementally right Care Pro for the next incrementally right client.
Technology doesn’t just allow us to scale exponentially. It helps us create a much more human and much more personalized experience for our clients and Care Pros.
Measurement is crucial
Care can’t scale until there’s a common understanding of what good looks like. So far, no government body has suggested success metrics that home care providers should strive to meet. We can’t sit around and wait for them. We have to create measures for ourselves. What could those success metrics look like?
- Phone answer rates
- The frequency with which a client sees a given, preferred Care Pro
- Hard metrics like Care Pro availability rate and resultant speed to start care
- Customer satisfaction metrics like clients and Care Pros who report being happy
- Observed behaviors like Care Pros blocking clients and clients blocking Care Pros
Referral providers should be able to ask any home care company to share its metrics, so they can take an evidence-based approach to referring clients to the best home care provider for them.
It’s up to the leaders in our industry to create our own yardstick, then measure against it all the time. It’s a highly disciplined, tech-reliant commitment that we need to embrace. It’s a commitment that Honor is working toward as I write.
When all home care providers aim at the same target, we all have more clarity on which areas of our business need improvement. Leveling up in those areas levels up care quality, client satisfaction, and Care Pro satisfaction. All of that can help attract and retain more Care Pros to the industry as a whole, which will allow us all to scale—the right way.