In his article entitled “CareLinx’s New Model for Home Health Care” from October 25, 2012, Nick Lieber discusses the relatively new, innovative company CareLinx that aims to drastically change the homecare industry by eliminating the middleman of actual homecare agencies and allowing those in need of a caregiver to seek out a willing worker and independently agree upon things such as a consistent paying rate as well as schedule of meetings. Onetime Merrill Lynch derivatives trader, Sherwin Sheik founded CareLinx back in December and currently maintains a database of 5,500 home-care workers out of San Francisco. “Visitors to the site can search the listings based on criteria such as work experience and overnight availability or post a job for free.” While homecare agencies “generally charge $15 to $20 an hour and pay workers $10 to $12 an hour,” the worker can take home anywhere between $12 to $15 on average per hour.
What really interests me the most about this new model is that it is essentially the Match.com of homecare. Not only does CareLinx allow a truly personal experience that allows the caregiver to receive more money for their services, it also offers the opportunity for those in need to potentially not have to be placed in an institution. While the caregiver is still practically a stranger, the individual or family seeking a caregiver will now have a plethora of knowledge about the worker available at their fingertips. An interesting outcome of Sheik’s model could be that significantly sized agencies also have access to his site. Instead of spending an indefinite time seeking help or requesting interviews, agencies can now use CareLinx’s in depth services and information and hire, effectively putting money into Sheik’s business while effectively competing with them.
Moving forward, CareLinx can add a user review system that allows those who used the caregivers services to provide feedback and give the caregiver some sort of score that will allow future clients to see just how good he or she is. Large agencies could also partner up with CareLinx by dispatching workers to reduce the cost of having actual physical institutions.
While this new model seems to be promising, there are still potential shortcomings. By having access to the information of the caregiver, there is a possibility of people having preferences based on gender, race, or age. They can single out certain groups of people based on personal likes or dislikes. Ultimately, this could negatively affect the company and opportunity for certain caregivers to find work. Also, by not having some sort of physical space, this could prove detrimental if the database fails. Large industry agencies still have years and years of reputation and experience of operations that CareLinx cannot simply provide. As a society, we tend to buy the brand rather than the product or service because of the reputation that surrounds whatever we by. Therefore, large homecare agencies have a name to rely on that CareLinx does not.