IntelyCare’s app allows nursing facilities to instantly request staff and for clinicians to take … [+]
Nursing technology start-up, IntelyCare has recently announced the completion of their Series B funding round. Totalling $45 million, this large scale investment represents the biggest-ever venture round in Nursing and was led by Endeavour Vision, with participation from Kaiser Permanente Ventures, and Generator Ventures.
Co-founded by former biotechnologist, registered nurse and a hospital IT manager Chris Caulfield, the mobile app and associate platform hopes to offer a solution to the current nursing crisis within healthcare by disrupting nursing scheduling and leveraging gig economics to close the projected 1 million nurse shortfall by 2030.
Chris Caulfield, cofounder of IntelyCare
When working in biotechnology at Siemens Healthcare, a desire to serve others compelled Caulfield to study nursing and once qualified, he not only became aware of the many logistics issues facing the profession, but had amassed the knowledge through his career to consider practical solutions.
The key issue he wanted to address was nurses becoming ‘stuck’ after shifts. Given the immense strain on his colleagues, nurses often cancelled just before they were due to work, meaning other full-time staff were unable to be relieved from their post. As a UK-based anaesthetist, I can recall ICU shifts where nurses were sometimes a few minutes late, or occasionally nurses on opposing shifts would trade hours with each other, but Chris described a problem that I was fortunate never to see in a UK hospital setting:
“You’re stuck if the next nurse doesn’t come to work. You’re literally forced to stay. We’re talking hours, double shifts even. In the extreme, I’ve seen situations of 24 hours stuck in the facility.”
This strain on resources leads to burnout and attrition amongst staff, ultimately limiting patient care. IntelyCare’s digital solution aims to apply gig economics and advanced data science technology to optimise the existing talent base and close the widening gap between supply and demand.
The software allows nursing facilities to instantly request staff and for clinicians to take control of their schedule, potentially picking up shifts in less than 72 hours, which gives flexibility to nurses booking shifts. An associated machine-learning algorithm also matches prices and people, and based on previous behaviour, Caulfield tells me that it can predict staffing-gaps before they happen, which appears to be solving problems at scale.
Given the growing burden of chronic disease and ageing populations globally, solving issues for the staff addressing this demographic is more pressing than ever and there is a significant role for new technologies. Healthcare has an integral resource often left neglected by new technology: clinicians. Businesses with solutions that save clinicians time and make their lives easier often struggle to demonstrate cash-in-hand savings for providers and other buyers, but Intelycare has grown exponentially since its founding in 2016, consistently doubling it’s revenue and user-base annually between 2017-19.
Along with a good business model, successful innovation often comes down to timing and Chris notes that a well timed culture of disruption helped him found the company, stating that IntelyCare “saw a need at the same time Uber were crushing it.” It’s perhaps no coincidence then that its software allows nurses to pick up extra shifts in much the same way as Uber’s drivers.
As an ex-clinician, myself, that often felt too thinly spread across my patients, it’s encouraging to see this new funding round aiming to fuel a positive change in workforce management. IntelyCare plans to solve the frustration staff feel towards a rota that can often feel arbitrary and to inflexible leave policies that are, in the extreme, dehumanising.
In March 2019, The Guardian published an article detailing the “petty tortures of doctors denied leave,” despite, for example, experiencing stillbirth or having a child or partner in intensive care. Outrageous, but not surprising for anyone that has been front-line in the NHS. Whilst this is UK-based and IntelyCare’s solution is aimed at US institutions, I have no doubt that the same pressures, prerogative and purpose weigh just as heavy on healthcare staff around the globe.
At a time when a modern adage is “look after your staff and they will look after your company,” solutions like Intelycare could help channel this sentiment to healthcare workers who want to optimise their work-life balance and their ability to care for their patients.