In February this year, IntelyCare raised $45M in new equity and debt financing, with Endeavour Vision as lead investor. In this interview, CEO and co-founder David Coppins discusses the nurse shortages affecting the post-acute care industry – and how innovative algorithms can help….
As a co-founder of IntelyCare, what attracted you to healthcare staffing?
When we began exploring healthcare staffing around 2015, we found that this was an industry struggling with outdated methods that had not, at that time, benefited from any significant technological innovation. It was also achieving lacklustre results, with an average of 15-20 percent shift-fill rates; a situation not helped by a national shortage of nurses.
How can technology address the shortage in nurses?
Most traditional staffing agencies require their nurses to provide availability weeks – sometimes months – in advance. So when shifts become available, nursing professionals have often already picked up a shift elsewhere. This limits the true supply of available nurses. The gig model that we use, based on an app that matches nurses with available shifts, creates a larger pool of people looking for the flexibility to work as and when it suits them. The technology allows us to achieve this economically and provides an efficient and streamlined experience for both nurses and facilities.
Can you explain how the technology works?
We use machine-learning algorithms to match a facilities’ nursing needs with available nurses, dynamically pricing every shift according to the ebb and flow of supply and demand. Our predictive algorithms also support facilities with the timely scheduling of shifts according to previous patterns, which increases the likelihood of shifts being filled. The data science is the engine behind the system, allowing us to achieve a shift-fill rate of 70-80 percent – approximately three times the industry average.
You were recently ranked #41 in Inc.’s 5000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. Tell us about your phenomenal growth.
We are excited about the ranking and about the growth drivers for our business. Since establishing IntelyCare in 2016, we have built a customer base that includes thousands of nurses and nurse aids who had filled 3 million hours of shift time by July this year. We have hundreds of healthcare facilities registered with us across thee Unites States, and we are entering new states and new markets every month.
What else is on the horizon for you?
Geographical expansion in the U.S. is a key focus for us, and we see opportunities to bring even greater value to both our customer groups. One such initiative is a new technology-based platform to support healthcare facilities in scheduling shifts for their permanent staff. We’re also working on a nurse education programme delivered via a mobile-based app to provide on-going training to our nurses. As part of our nurse education drive, we developed a COVID-19 training programme earlier this year that was translated into four languages and provided free-of-charge to all nurses worldwide – a staggering 522,000 COVID-19 trainings were completed.
Your nurses were at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. Can you tell us about the experience?
When the pandemic first struck, there were challenging times and a lot of fear, primarily due to the many unknowns. One of the first things we did at IntelyCare was to implement track and trace into our technology, allowing us to quickly identify any nurses who may have been exposed to the virus in facilities where cases had subsequently been detected. We were also able to share real-time updates with nurses about the COVID-19 status of healthcare facilities offering open shifts. Over time, the panic has subsided, and we all have a better understanding of how to manage the virus.