Better Quality of Care: How a Matching Algorithm for Elderly Care Helps to Find the Right Caregiver
Episode

Anja Silberbauer, CEO at Harmony&Care

Better Quality of Care: How a Matching Algorithm for Elderly Care Helps to Find the Right Caregiver

In this episode, we are privileged to host the outstanding Anja Silberbauer, CEO at Harmony&Care, an Austrian start up that focuses on supporting elderly home care. 

Anja talks about her company’s mission to help find the right match for the elderly and sourcing caregivers better. She shares the benefits of both the patients, families and the caregiver agencies, reducing the turnovers and lack of satisfaction in care. She also shares some of the key learnings she made when she began her company.

It’s exciting what other countries are doing on the home care front, so make sure to tune in to learn about Harmony&Care!

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Better Quality of Care: How a Matching Algorithm for Elderly Care Helps to Find the Right Caregiver

About Anja Silberbauer

Anja is the CEO at Harmony&Care. She takes care of the operative management of the startup and benefits from her economic and legal background.

Better Quality of Care: How a Matching Algorithm for Elderly Care Helps to Find the Right Caregiver with Anja Silberbauer, CEO at Harmony&Care: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Better Quality of Care: How a Matching Algorithm for Elderly Care Helps to Find the Right Caregiver with Anja Silberbauer, CEO at Harmony&Care: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Saul Marquez:
Hey Outcomes Rocket listeners! Saul Marquez here, and thank you so much for tuning back into the podcast. Today, I have the privilege of hosting the outstanding Anja Silberbauer. She is the CEO of Harmony & Care. She performs duties and operations for the startup and really benefits from her background in economics and the practice of law. They're doing fantastic work around helping agencies support the care of the elderly population, and I'm excited to hear about what she and her team are up to working in the country of Austria. We can all learn from each other and benefit from the global perspectives, and so really grateful to have you on the podcast today, Anya.

Anja Silberbauer:
Hi! Happy to be here.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, so glad you're joining us. And so before we dive into Harmony & Care your company, I'd like to learn more about you. Tell us what inspires your work in health care.

Anja Silberbauer:
I mean, it was like, I think it was a rough start for me because I was twenty 25, like graduating university. I just had the chance either to work at the National Bank of Austria or being a part of a startup. And to be honest, I didn't really know what was coming or waiting for me over there, but I was definitely deciding to work for a startup because I wanted to to gain or get new experiences. So yeah. And what inspires me working in the startup is that we can change the world in elderly home care, and we see daily that people live longer and healthier when they use our services. And then I think that thing is really something you know you can be proud of and also some kind of quality in work.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, for sure. I don't blame you for picking health care startup over banking. Nothing against banking. We need the money to run the companies, but certainly understand your your choice there and the focus and specifically on you around elderly home care. So talk to us about Harmony & Care and what you and your company are doing to help.

Anja Silberbauer:
Yeah, I mean, we were always focusing on the idea that there is no real matching in elderly care. So one of my founder, he has both parents in twenty four hour care, which means they're living in a house and taken care of by a caregiver. Mostly, caregivers are coming from abroad because Austria's western European country and we also have a higher GDP. So we often use caregivers from the South East more or less to take care of our elderly. And we saw daily that caregivers are just sent to his parents house and there was no looking for fit, like for psychosocial fit. They were just sending them and seeing if it's working out and mostly just caregivers, they're staying for a whole month, twenty four hours to really live with these elderly people at home. And so we were thinking of why there is no matching in the system. And then, together with the University of Klagenfurt, which is in the south of Austria, we more or less tried out and piloted a test like around 80 questions to caregiver and the patient has to fill out. And then we see based on this question who is fitting to whom and then people are sent. So this is more or less it's a matching algorithm for elderly people with their caregivers to sum it up.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, yeah. I think that's important. And you know, that fit is so key when you have just, hey, pick a name off a list and send them to take care of somebody that you love. It could become a challenge when they're not a good match. And so talk to us, Anya, about what you believe makes your process and the way of sourcing caregivers better. Or how does it improve outcomes?

Anja Silberbauer:
Hmm. I mean, in general, as I told you, in the beginning, caregivers were just sent by big agencies to families, and often there was a mismatch, a misfit between the caregivers and the patients. So after a few days, the caregiver was again sent home because, you know, they couldn't get along with the patient in the very end. So the caregiver had to go and there were a lot of costs involved, like transportation, administration and everything, and all of the agency were more or less intermediate in the system. They didn't think on such a psychosocial system. So when we mostly sold it after having it piloted for two years to big agencies and they saw rapidly that 80 percent of the changes of the caregivers they would use because of our service and 20 percent minus administration costs. So for them it was really a big deal also for the families, you know, when you have then in the end, one or two caregivers, they work for years with your families, for your mom and your dad, and you can trust them. That makes a real big change in the whole market. So. Yeah, that's great. We also then develop something for stationary home care centers because they should also be more focused care, patient care or a patient centered care also involved. And so I think, you know, this is something not just for the European market. I mean, the European market, we are already super strong, but also maybe for the American market, because this psychosocial matching, I think for elderly care, it makes a lot of sense in the end.

Saul Marquez:
I would agree, too, you know. And thinking about it from patient's perspective, the person's perspective, the family, but also from the home care agency perspective. You know, having to deal with all of the turnover and the challenges of a bad match could be really a big burden that ultimately leads to lack of satisfaction. And so I think it's a really great point that you make, Anya, that, you know, not only are you helping optimize those matches, but you're lessening the burden of the care agency. All right. So as you think about the matching algorithm and building the business, Anja, what would you say is one of the biggest setbacks you've experienced and what was the key learning?

Anja Silberbauer:
I think because I mean, my founding team members, we were founding our first startup all together in 2015. I mean, we made a lot of small mistakes. You know, when it's your first time founding something. It's always like you make mistakes. For example, we should have piloted the product with many more agencies. We were relying on just too few feedbacks, so we were sometimes developing something in the beginning in totally wrong direction. So I think we should have listened to many more agencies, more companies in order to develop the product, maybe faster and if not developing, you know, something which might not be needed by so many. And also what we experienced is that care or elder care is in every European country a little bit different from the legal circumstances and how the whole organization is focused on Germany, Austria and Switzerland, which are really similar from the circumstances. But when you go to other countries like Spain or France or Italy, you always have to read yourself inside the legal kind of system. So this is also something we thought, OK, we can scale it up super fast. But then, you know, you also have to see what the different kind of circumstances are in the country in Europe.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, yeah, so from the applications of home care agency to home care agency to cross border or differences outside of your main area, there's definitely some of the things you learned. I mean, now that you've been around the block, I'm sure as you think about the future innovations, you've got a better model to scale it.

Anja Silberbauer:
Yeah, I mean, I think also in Europe, what can be seen right now is that with COVID, there's a big digitalization wave in elderly health care, health tech, and I think COVID really spurs the digitalization. So I see also the systems agencies are using, they are more getting more and more similar. And also they're using more tech because what I've seen with elderly care companies, they often are using even like, you know, technological means and everything and digitalization, they were really behind. Like, so I think right now there's really a leveling off the structures of agencies for Europe. I think maybe even worldwide, which is also making it much easier for us to offer the net product which is fitting, you know, or you scaling up in the end.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, yeah. You know, and the there's a saying that says you measure twice and you cut once. Yeah. And what meaning care your company is doing is you're measuring twice. And before you send the caregiver, you make sure that it's the right one. And that extra time that technology to back up that that selection process is the big difference maker. So tell us, are you are you offering this solution in the in the U.S.,

Anja Silberbauer:
We are thinking to entering the market even last year. But then COVID came and we also then offered ourself like twenty four hour care, like inhouse care in the market and recruiting our own business. Well, so we really also have a training center and everything, and we see that this kind of business is super big. But yeah, we are aiming to start off also in the US. But you know, it's always like a little bit difficult. So because I think if you like to enter the American market, you have to have a good partner and you should do it in the right way because many Austrian or German speaking start ups burns, the thing is going over. So I think we should if we move. I mean, if somebody listens and would be interested in a partnership or offering something, yes, for sure we would. But I need someone you know whom to trust and then make a good kind of entry in the American market. So it should be well-prepared in my mind.

Saul Marquez:
Totally. Yeah. So if you're listening to this and something strikes a chord with you that you're like, Wow, this is something that could work here in the U.S., we'll definitely give you Anja's contact information, the best way to get a hold of her at the end of the podcast here and also in the show notes. So make sure to check that out if it's of interest. What are you most excited about today on you?

Anja Silberbauer:
I think the really good thing about this whole COVID crisis is that really the digitalization is arriving into elderly care and also, you know, so many things are right now used, which, you know, we're talking to the companies in the saying, No, I don't like to use it. And you thought, OK, there will be five to 10 years until those kind of start up apps or whatever is used. But right now with digitalization and also people, they are using much more apps. Also like the children of elderly care patients, you know, the demand is just much bigger, and I think it can be really the use of the elderly people in the end as well to use all this assisted living technologies and also apps to track the health kind of status. So I think that there are many, many more kind of opportunities right now outside also when it comes to investors for digital health tech startups, I mean, right now, I think also COVID crisis showed that those startups in the end, even, you know, often it takes longer for them to break even or something really interesting for investors and also have long term success in the end.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, I agree on you that the environment, while it's been a big challenge, it's definitely paved the way for a lot of digitization, and it's exciting to hear the work that you and your team are doing on the home care front, making sure that these people and their families are receiving the right match to care. It can mean such a big difference, and I really thank you for sharing it with us today and would love if you could give us a closing thought. Let us know what we should be thinking about and then the best place that the listeners could get in touch with you if they want to explore the solution or find ways to partner.

Anja Silberbauer:
I think, like always what I'm thinking like, you know, you individualize your sneakers, your Nike's whatever. And I think why don't individualized elderly health care, you know, like the caregiver you living together with or you're spending so much time in the elderly home care center? So I guess meeting is really important at this kind of stage. And, you know, if you then match interests and also hobbies and like of cooking styles or whatever, I think it can really prolong your life or at least the last months can be much happier. So I guess this is one thought I'd like to share, really. And yeah, people can find me for sure on LinkedIn and add me. Yeah. And otherwise, I think you will anyway share my contact details.

Saul Marquez:
That's right. That's right. Well, Anya, thank you and really appreciate you sharing the work that you and your team at Harmony&Care are doing. Really looking forward to seeing this type of high touch and customization be applied here in the U.S. too. So make sure you contact Anya. Something today resonated with you. You'll find all of the ways to get in touch in the show notes. Anya, thanks again for spending time with us today.

Anja Silberbauer:
Yeah, thank you for the opportunity. Yeah.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • If you are developing a product, get more feedback from different agencies and companies. 
  • Elderly care in European countries are different in legal circumstances. 
  • In Europe, there is a big digitalization in elderly health care due to COVID. 
  • Measure twice, cut once. 
  • There are many more opportunities right now for digital health tech startups. 

 

Resources

Connect on LinkedIn: Anja Silberbauer – CEO – Harmony & Care | LinkedIn

Send Anja an email: anja.silberbauer@harmonyandcare.com

Website: https://www.harmonyandcare.com/