INDIANAPOLIS — CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions is launching a tech start-up company that aims to reduce the delay in connecting Hoosiers with home care service providers.
“We have so many clients that are just going day to day without any care that they need to stay home,” Chad Bales, assistant director of Flourish Care Management with CICOA, said.
CICOA helps plan, develop, coordinate and arrange for supportive in-home and community-based services for older adults and people with disabilities.
“As a care manager when we are looking for providers, we are often working on a list that sometimes includes more than 400 different agencies and the clientele we work with they want that power to choose and they have the right to choose who does their care,” Bales said. “I would often time start calling, smiling, and dialing and wait until we got a yes.”
The process can be time-consuming and often times it takes several months.
“I think it’s extremely important when you talk about quality of life, when you talk about access and ease of access to services that is key," Tauhric Brown, president & CEO CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions said. “The longer it takes for those services to begin we all know that quality of life is being compromised.”
Bales knew there had to be a better solution using technology. He saw this as an opportunity to make a difference in the home healthcare industry and get people the care they need.
Bales and colleague Jonathan Haag began brainstorming solutions and thought a function like a dating app and marketplace app would be beneficial.
They received funding from CICOA’S Board of Directions and Foundation Board of Trustees to conduct market research and test applications. The non-profit partnered with Collective Works, creating CICOA'S first for-profit company, Duett.
“One of the greatest stories we heard from our staff, they had spent several months looking for an agency that could go to rural Shelby County. They had spent days calling different providers,” Bales said. “We put the test full product out there and within six hours not only did a company raise their hand, but they were on their way to the patient’s home to evaluate and provide care.”
“Let’s say there are 125 families waiting for care. It told us what they were needing, how many hours they were needing and most importantly gave us a zip code, so we knew what side of town they were needing staffed,” Tim Paul, president of Comfort Keepers and Heal at Home said.
Comfort Keepers took part in the initial testing of the Duett.
“It became so successful for us that we started an entire division called respite nursing division," Paul said. "We went from zero clients now we have over 72 families that were working with. It’s greatly enhanced their lives and it’s been so rewarding. Without Duett, it wouldn’t have been possible.”
CICOA is Duett's first client, but they will begin marketing the services to similar agencies in Indiana and across the country.