Caregiving Tools and Technologies:
An interview with Bryan Smith and
two of the co-founders of
Gary Barg: What tips do you have for
people looking to hire well with regard to homecare?
Bryan Smith: Set the expectations upfront
and have times where the family caregiver or, as we like to say,
careseeker and the professional caregiver agree to connect and
talk about the loved one. You also want to seek or solicit
advice and recommendations from your professional caregiver.
It's also a good way to know they truly have your loved one's
best interest at heart.
Gary Barg: You're actually talking
about a partnership.
Bryan Smith: That's it exactly. A
partnership is when things tend to work best, rather than your
traditional relationship where employer tells employee what will
be done, when and how. That is not the ideal relationship for
Barg: So, walk me through it. I'm a family caregiver or
careseeker and I come to Helpio, which, by the way, is a great
name. What happens when I come to your site?
Adam Chez: Careseekers will be able to sign
up, make a profile for their loved one, and post a job. We have
a service called The Care Concierge, where we work hand-in-hand
with the careseeker to help put together a team. They can get a
list of caregivers, see their qualifications, history and
references. Then, if the caregiver and the careseeker agree to a
rate, start the job. It will all be managed through our
app. The app will bring accountability and transparency. It'll
notify the careseeker when the caregiver's on the way to their
loved one's house and when they arrive. There is even a time
card feature that starts calculating how much time they've been
there. Once they clock out, the bill will be submitted to
Gary Barg: It sounds a lot like a flexible, open market.
I, as the employer, have an opportunity to interact with the
caregivers and decide if I want to work with them or not, even
in advance of their coming to the home.
Bryan Smith: That’s one of the benefits I love about the
program. Careseekers can go through hundreds of caregivers in
their market, interview them themselves—making decisions on
their own and striking their own chemistry. We feel that with
all of the caregivers we provide in our marketplace, we have a
lot better probability of finding very good fits for people.
Gary Barg: What prompted you to create Helpio?
Adam Chez: Careseekers want to know that the caregiver is
on the job and be notified when they start or leave. We can do
all of this through our app, plus provide background checks. We
feel that we can help connect caregivers with the careseekers
and loved ones, since there are three people in this
transaction. We can bring it all together through our app with
the accountability, transparency, and ability to be flexible
that is needed to make sure the careseekers’ loved ones are
getting the right care. Careseekers are allowed to create a team
and can control the amount of care they're receiving through our
Gary Barg: Who are the people that are signing up to be
the caregivers with Helpio?
Bryan Smith: They're coming from various walks of life. We
have students in the medical or care professions. We have a lot
of retired CNAs that want to come back to care. And the third
category is people that have been family caregivers.
Gary Barg: It seems like a great opportunity for people
once they've stopped family caregiving, but have picked up a
skill set and they don't want to stop caring. And can make some
money at it.
Bryan Smith: That's exactly right.
Adam Chez: Helpio is a people company, but it's also a
technology company. Technology is a hurdle for people in some
cases. But our app is so simple and it brings accountability and
transparency, and enhances the care that their loved ones are
going to receive.
Bryan Smith: Helpio is a marketplace and community where you now
have options. You are empowered to control your loved one's
experience, including everything from choosing your caregiving
team, direct communication and contacts, and negotiating rates,
with transparency for the entire process through simply smart
technology, like your cell phone. The app allows you to
understand where your caregiver is, what you're being billed at
any time, and even make payments through your smartphone. We
allow caregivers to be flexible. They can work 40 or 5 hours
per week. And we give them the ability to be self-employed. We
give them the platform to be able to go out and do what they
love to do.
Gary Barg: So, this is actually, to use a Silicon Valley
kind of word, disintermediation. In other words, you are getting
the middleman out of the way.
Bryan Smith: It's a disruptor, no doubt about it. On both
sides, it's cleaner, more efficient and just an overall better
experience, which benefits the careseekers and their loved ones.