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Episode 33

How to train caregivers quickly and effectively – a conversation with Nevvon

Jeff Howell (00:01):

Welcome to Home Health 360, a podcast presented by AlayaCare. I’m your host, Jeff Howell, and this is the show about learning from the best in home healthcare from around the globe.

Jeff Howell (00:18):

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to Home Health 360 where we speak with leaders in home care and home health from across the globe. Today’s guests are here to help you up your training and continuing education program for your caregivers. I have Allan Levine, the SBP of Growth and Revenue for Nevvon, a leading online education system to enhance the healthcare education sector and collect data to help home care agencies, train caregivers fast, train them well, and help deliver the care we would want our loved ones to receive. Alan, I counted six educational degrees on your LinkedIn profile, including two MBAs, , thanks for coming on the podcast today. Thanks,

Allan Levine (01:00):

Jeff, appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Jeff Howell (01:02):

And we also have James Cohen, the CEO of Nevvon, who is coming up on his fifth anniversary as CEO. James. I have to say that your LinkedIn company description on your profile is probably the best I’ve seen. I think it’s about eight paragraphs of storytelling and a description for the need in the industry that really hooked me in on what you folks do. So thanks for being here today.

James Cohen (01:29):

Thank you, Jeff, for having us.

Jeff Howell (01:32):

And then I also saw on your profile that you took a couple of courses on Coursera. It’s not quite two MBAs, but you know, we were still happy to have you on today, James . So guys, give us a little bit of background. Who’s Neon?

James Cohen (01:48):

Sure. I I I’ll take that, Jeff. So myself, I, I’ve been in the healthcare industry for 21 years. The first decade was very much around brick and mortar facilities. And then about 10, 11 years ago, I founded a home care agency that provided care across two countries, United States and Canada, in multiple provinces in multiple states. I ended up exiting that business around four and a half years ago. And that was ultimately sold to Baia at Home Care, which of course, we all know. This ca, this company, Navon, was born with the idea of solving a pain point when we were running navon and we were operating it clearly. One of the biggest issues we had, and still goes on today, is around workforce issues, recruitment, retention, and of course training. We had thousands of caregivers that we needed to train on a yearly BA basis, and we were doing it just like many of the agencies were doing it back in the mid 2000 and tens, where we were bringing each caregiver into the office for 12 hours a year.

(03:15):

As you can imagine, if you’ve got hundreds or thousands of caregivers that work for you, it’s quite difficult to bring them all in. It’s disruptive, it’s broken, it’s expensive, and it does definitely does not create operational efficiencies. In 2017, the Department of Health came out with a new regulation that you can now do your continuing education or otherwise known as in-services online, and that’s when Navon was born or the idea was born, that we felt that we can create better training and have a faster, better, and cheaper for the home care agencies. And I’ll let Alan introduce himself as to what he’s doing here at Nevvon.

Allan Levine (04:07):

Awesome. Thanks James. So Alllan Levine, I’m the Senior Vice President of Revenue and Growth here. So my career started in Human Capital Management, actually. I started with a company called Work Brain, who I’m sure some of your Canadian listeners will be familiar with. Kind of came up the ranks there and for the last 15 years, been in healthcare and FinTech and, and working with, with high growth companies and helping them accelerate and grow. And that’s a part, a lot of what my role is here with Navon, is to help us to continue, continue to grow, make sure that we’re, we’re solving our customer pain points. And it’s, it’s a fantastic industry to be back in after as a, as a second stint,

Jeff Howell (04:50):

It’s surprising to me that it was as late as 2017 that everything sort of officially came, came online, was there, was there much in the way of online learning prior to 2017?

James Cohen (05:02):

The, the, there was some online learning, but it was more of a nice to have where agencies wanted to upskill their caregivers, but from a regulation standpoint, which is a must have at that just wasn’t regulated at that time. And in 2017, as technology got better and the EC efficacy of, of online training got better the department had felt that it was good enough to now do your inservice.

Jeff Howell (05:38):

And I remember you saying to me one time, James, that, you know, one of the differentiators as you guys focus on snack size content, I’m curious, like how would neon differentiate itself in the market?

James Cohen (05:51):

Yeah, so, so gr great question. I think the way we’re different in the market than some of our competitors is that there are really two lines of business to what we do over here. There’s the technology side and the education side, and we own both. And what that means is that we built our learning management system from scratch. As we know there are many LMSs out there in the world, hundreds, maybe thousands of them. And when we looked at them to potentially host our content or educational content, what we quickly realized is that the l m s was not built one for the mobile workforce. As we know in home care our, our workers are in the field at all times. And two, for an industry or for the caregiver, home health aid worker who ha ha might have more challenges adopting to new technologies.

(06:54):

These were these LMSs that we saw there were more built for the desktop or for the laptop, and they weren’t built simple enough for the caregiver to use. So we built our technology with a caregiver in mind. It’s very caregiver centric. Everything’s very simple to use. On top of that, when we want to create operational efficiencies between different softwares, we have APIs that can talk to other softwares that are synergic in the industry. So for example, Jeff, at your company at All Eli Care we can pull rosters of caregivers right into our system to know when they have to learn. And that makes it much easier from an administrative point of view. Instead of having the agency coordinators email us, you know, a number of caregivers that have to do their training. And then as we know there’s a big turnover in the industry, let us know when they no longer work at that agency.

(08:01):

Now it all happens in real time, automatically with the APIs that we have with other softwares. So we have many other robust uses for the APIs, but we’re able to do that because of our technology. And the second line of business is that we have within here is the education. We build all our education in-house. We feel that’s probably our secret sauce. Our education is built in bite-size lessons. We know most caregivers have to do 12 hour, 12 hours a year of learning. It’s very difficult to take 12 courses one hour each when the home health aide or CNAs have different schedules. Their schedules are not, definitely not 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM they’re all over the place. They’re, they’re working weekends, they’re working on Christmas healthcare of course doesn’t stop. So we figured if we can build bite-size lessons, which are anywhere from three to 10 minutes long, it’s a lot more digestible to learn. We’ve done really well with that. Of course, we’re multilingual. We teach our lessons in up to nine different languages, and we have a, a very, very high adoption rates of our finishing of our of our lessons. And I think that’s how it makes a difference.

Jeff Howell (09:32):

So rather than me scheduling time and sitting down in front of my computer, I could be in my car waiting to start a shift and log into my mobile and do a three minute like segment of a course right then and there.

James Cohen (09:45):

Absolutely, Jeff. And, and even more so, if you are going into a shift as a home health aid and you’re looking at your plan of care, and you’re realizing that this elderly person that you’re caring for is, has a Hoyer lift, and you might have not used a Hoyer lift in two, three years, you can now go into your Nevvon app search Hoyer lift, and instead of being forced to watch an hour lesson on a Hoyer lift, which is not really realistic you can watch a short lesson as a refresher as how to use one. So we see many of our caregivers in our data going back to refresh their, their, their learning and their teachings. And the hope is that with better training, they can hopefully deliver better care.

Jeff Howell (10:37):

Hmm. And the fact that you you insource the production, so you guys are basically like a, a media education company. What’s the norm in the industry? Like, I, I’m just trying to figure out how this, how other companies might outsource this, and can you bring us through like what the content catalog looks like?

James Cohen (11:00):

Yeah, of course. So the, the way we do it is, is very stringent in terms of how we build our, our learning. We look at it from different points of view. There’s a point of view of regulation. Every state has its own regulated content that has to be on the platform or the home health aid has to take. We look at it from it from a compliance standpoint. We look at it from a clinical standpoint. Of course, we don’t want to teach any caregiver anything that’s wrong, so we want to make sure that clinically it’s correct. But maybe the most important thing we do is our instructional designers. If you’ve never heard that term, instructional designers are exactly what it sounds, what it says. They’re the ones that design instruction. And the way they design the instruction is they look at, okay, what are we learning?

(11:59):

What are we teaching? Who is the learner? And what do we feel the best way to teach this method? So the caregiver can retain that knowledge. Because of that, we have different modalities of training. So we have animation, we’ve got green screen, we’ve got actors, we do gamification. We try to keep it interesting so the caregivers can be engaged and learn in the best way possible, rather than have a nurse in front of a blackboard speaking for 12 hours. We feel those modalities of training will really help the caregiver be more engaged rather than press play, walk away and not really learn

Jeff Howell (12:43):

Anything. Right. Yeah. And, and I’m sure you guys know o one thing that’s really popular these days is cohort-based learning, because a, a real challenge, we, we deal with this challenge internally too, is you get this lms, you get tons of content you think it’s gonna solve all the problems, and then it’s like a, people’s habits have to change and people have to proactively dedicate time to investing in themselves.

James Cohen (13:07):

A hundred percent. Yeah.

Jeff Howell (13:10):

So what I mean, what’s your market? I’m I presume the biggest market would be private duty, home care, but you know, are you, are you guys, do you guys also service the Medicare world facility based care? Like what, give us a sense as to the market share and, and the, the sort of target customer that you guys go after?

James Cohen (13:30):

Yeah. So, so historically it, it’s been the Medicaid and the private pay world let’s call it the non-medical caregiver. Of course, we all hate the, that word, the unskilled caregiver, so we’ll call it the non-medical caregiver, is who historically we are training in 2023. We have some beta customers in the Medicare world and the facility based care. You’re going to see our library, our library rapidly expand into the Medicare world and the facility based care coming into 2023. We have a very, very robust library for the Medicaid and private pay world, not as big for a Medicare facility based, but you’ll see a huge ramp up in 23.

Jeff Howell (14:21):

Hmm. And what, what would you guys say, like, what does the industry look like today? Because when I hear you say that the Department of Health, you know, sort of officially cut the ribbon in 2017 saying, we’re now gonna be sponsoring all of this, you know, the in-services online in effect, your industry is very young, and I’m curious, what does it look like in terms of how competitive it is, how many players there are, how quickly it’s growing, what impact Covid has had?

Allan Levine (14:52):

Yeah. I’ll take, excuse me, sir, I’ll take that one. So let, let me, let’s start at the top, right. So the industry overall, as I think we know, it’s growing, the, the elderly population is getting older, obviously, and, and there’s a more of them coming in every, every day. So the population on the elderly side is growing. I think the last stat that I saw is something like three to 4 million aids in the market right now, and the need’s gonna be on the demand side of 7 million by 2025. Mm-Hmm. the, you know, there, they’re in home care specifically, it’s still very fragmented and it’s, there’s, there’s a lot of consolidation happening in the industry. You know, as we know, there’s a caregiver shortage right across healthcare, both in Canada and the United States that, that everyone’s dealing with. And the focus right now is, you know, recruitment retention on the agency side, how can I save money?

(15:46):

What type of administrative efficiencies can I create? And then when we kind of narrow it down to to training there’s a lot going on. You know, it, it’s more than just compliance training. Now, there, there’s a, the agencies that are doing better and well are focused more on upskilling career advancement. You know, what else can we, what different value can we provide to, to the caregiver to make it an attractive place to work and, and, and make sure that they’re successful in their role as, as an aid. COVID was, you know, there was a move to online before covid, and, and I think the shift was start, well, the shift was starting before covid, and then COVID was, was really the accelerant, and it forced a lot of different agencies to, to make the move because they had no choice.

(16:40):

And, you know, everybody was working from home, and these were frontline healthcare workers that still needed to do their compliance training or, or upskilling whatever the need was. So a lot of agencies started to quickly adopt technology, including training during covid. And now that, you know, we’re starting to come out the other side, we’re in more of a, what we call kind of a hybrid type setup, where there’s a situation where agencies are, are still adopting to online because they see the how efficient it is and how standardized the content is and, and how much the aids enjoy learning online when it’s, when it’s fun and it’s gamified and, and all the features and benefits that a company like us can provide. But as I’m sure you know, Jeff, as we were talking before we started to record, there’s still a desire to go in class or, or into the office per se. So the hybrid model is, is is where things are starting to, to land. So AIDS are doing training on, on a mobile platform, but they’re still going into the office to do some, you know, upskilling or, or whatever it is. People like to see faces. And it’s important from a cultural standpoint as well.

Jeff Howell (17:49):

Yeah. And people wanna be part of a community as well. What is there a kind of a magic number in terms of, you know, if we think that maybe there’s 25,000 home care agencies in the United States, what percentage would you see as having a, a learning management strategy in place? And is there a, a size that they get to, like, what size was, is this table stakes and you can’t survive without it?

Allan Levine (18:15):

Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean, from our perspective, we still see it in our data where we’ll see you know, a, a prospect come to us per se, and, and we obviously, one of our qualifying questions is, how are you training your a right now? And surprisingly, there’s still a big chunk of them that say, we’re training in class but we, we’ve heard how great this is, or, or we’ve heard, we, we, you know, if somebody else told us, or they’re a franchise and, and their franchise is, is saying, you know, this is a move you should make whatever it ends up being. I mean, if I had to put a number on it, I would say about 40 to 50% are still doing some form of online training sorry, of, of in-class training. You know, I, and that’s just based on the data that we see.

(19:02):

But you know, more and more are picking up on the on the online side of things because it’s just, it’s so much more efficient and the quality of the content is just, it’s fantastic. Mm-Hmm. , you know, an l m s fits pretty much any agency size. You know, obviously there, there’s, there’s advantages. The larger you get, the, the, the bigger the advantages you know, the more complex your training needs are just based on the sheer number of caregivers that you have in the number of locations, it’s, it’s grossly inefficient to be doing stuff in class. You know, you roll at an lms, you can standardize your training, you can monitor your training, you’ve got reporting on compliance and who’s completed training. All of the things that you need to do as, as an organization from a compliance standpoint can get tracked in a platform, which, which is a huge need and a must have.

(19:56):

The larger you get, you know, outside of that, you’ve got the, the idea of you know, rolling out new content, it’s easy, it gets a, a caregiver can get notified on their phone when new content comes out. You know, our team will do some heavy lifting for you to work with the caregiver to get them to start and complete their training. So there’s all sorts of efficiencies that are created from that standpoint. For the large agencies. For the smaller ones, they’re seeing benefits as well. So an example of that I can share with you is we just, we are rolling out right now what’s called our mentorship program. It’s called Legacy of Care. And we’ve got some small agencies now that are approaching us saying, you know, we wanna roll out a mentorship program. We don’t know how to do it. We love the product that you guys have from a mentorship standpoint.

(20:43):

So can we roll out our mentorship program, a mentorship program on the Navon platform, while still keeping our training in class? You know, they might have 10 or 20 caregivers, so they’re in a position where they can bring their aids in once a day for one day, once a year, and take care of their compliance side of things, but they want to create a scalable mentorship program. So they’re kind of, that’s, that’s kind of their first step, or they’re, they’re dipping their toe in the water and that hybrid type model. So it really fits any size agency, but clearly the larger you get, the more efficiencies that you, you are able to create.

Jeff Howell (21:18):

I saw that legacy of Care on LinkedIn. I was wondering what that was. That’s great.

Allan Levine (21:23):

Yeah, it’s, it’s a really cool program. It’s something we’re super excited about. Effectively what we’re doing is it, it’s kind of a mentorship in a box. We, we work with, with agencies of any size to roll out a, a mentorship program where we’ve got some training pieces, we’ve got some toolkits and some exercises. We, we have this process that takes about, you know, we recommend about 60 days. And there was a pilot that beta pilot that was run with six agencies in New York, and we saw an 89% retention rate in the first 90 days of hire. So something we’re super excited Wow. To roll out. And that really has an impact on, on retention,

Jeff Howell (22:07):

Well, exiting caregivers, the number one reason that they cite as to why they’ve left the agency is lack of communication. So in addition to getting the shifts they need, they also need to feel the love.

Allan Levine (22:19):

Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Jeff Howell (22:21):

What trends do you guys see taking shape over the next two to five years?

Allan Levine (22:27):

I mean, go ahead, James.

James Cohen (22:29):

Yeah, yeah, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll take that one. You know, I think that the workforce shortage, which we’ve been struggling and many industries have been struggling with, will continue to be the biggest issue in our industry. And what I think will happen is that even with the minimum wage going up in many states and forest wage parody solutions across other states, especially on the east coast we still will struggle to recruit new caregivers into our, our, our industry. And ultimately what happens is it falls onto the family caregiver, the care falls onto the family caregiver. And we’re seeing different pilots happening across the United States where family caregivers can be trained and paid to care for their loved ones. We’re seeing a really innovative one that’s taken off in Colorado right now around mothers taking care of their children which, which is really interesting.

(23:44):

The consumer directed program, especially out in New York, has exploded. That’s when we’re the consumer, which is the patient is directing who their caregiver will be, and that’s really taken off. We’re seeing more and more pilots coming up throughout the country and we think we’ll see more and more of that. So training that family caregiver will be key. I think that’s one trend we’ll see over the next two to five years. And then finally, I think, you know, our industry has been laggard in adopting new technologies. As we know, there has been billions of dollars invested in technology to service the home care world. I feel over the five, over the next five to seven years, we’ll see a lot or two to five years I should say. We’ll see a lot of agencies finally start to use the technologies that we’ve built for them and embrace them in a much better way.

Jeff Howell (24:55):

Any tips, guys on an agency looking to get the most out of their training program?

Allan Levine (25:00):

Huh? I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s our bread and butter. You know, for, you know, it starts in the top down, there’s no doubt about it. You, you can’t, like you said before, you can’t just buy an lms, put content in and expect people to, to go use it. You really need to have buy-in for management and your executive level write down in terms of rolling something like this out. You’ve gotta set goals you know, from a compliance standpoint, that’s, that’s obvious, right? You, you know, your training starts and completions is, is super important when you’re thinking about compliance. But when you go beyond compliance training you know, it becomes a little bit less obvious. And, and, you know, I’m thinking about, you know, to, to James’ point about technology, you know, a big part of what’s coming in the next two to five years is data and value-based payments.

(25:47):

So, you know, if you’re entering into the vbp world and you wanna roll out some VBP training, what are your goals there? Is it outcomes based? Is it, is it something else? Is it trying to level up to, to a different level? Is it increasing customer satisfaction or patient satisfaction? You know, what are your goals there? Or maybe it’s specific to clients’ needs around dementia. And I think agencies should really spend some time around what their goals are when it comes to training. You know, training in the, in, in caregiver’s native tongue, I think is also something that really helps. We get it all the time. I mean, navon translates to nine different languages right now with, with more in development. And there’s a hu there’s huge value there when a caregiver, and we all know what that caregiver persona is, if they can learn in their native tongue, be it Russian, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, whatever it is there, there’s a huge benefit there that, that really does also lead to better care.

(26:46):

You know, understanding your training needs just beyond, beyond compliance. I think surveying your population is something that’s extremely important and leads to better feedback. What do caregivers wanna learn? You know, caregivers are, are, should be more inclusive now as part of the agency to help with that culture and create that better culture. So survey them, ask them what they wanna learn you know, show, show the caregiver that training can lead to, to greater roles and responsibilities and celebrate those achievements. You know, talked about goals. A big push that we do, that we’ve seen a lot of success with when we’re rolling out agencies now is setting new hires from day one helping them adopt technology, do it right in orientation, set the level, set the expectations, get them to download the, you know, the ELI Care app. Get them to download the Nirvana app, start their training in the class, make sure that they understand and mentor them.

(27:41):

You know, talked about it before, but, but there’s huge value. If you can mentor your new hires, you’re gonna see higher retention rates, higher job satisfaction, and, and a lot of other net new benefits that we’re seeing. Make it fun, gamify it, you know, make sure that the learning isn’t press play and forget it. You know, it, it’s interactive, it’s fun, it’s short, micro lessons, you know, learnings reinforced through quizzes, all of the things that, that lead to that better, you know, better care. There’s a lot of cool stuff now with technology. You know, some of the conversations, Jeff, that I’ve had with your team is around, you know, obviously caregivers can train anywhere, any, any, anywhere, anytime with navon. But you know, when, when a when training is completed in Navon, it pushes a skill into all I care. You know, how can an agency use that skill to lead to a better schedule, as an example? Start to use the technology that they’ve got at their hands. That’s now, you know, in that, that fancy term interoperability to their advantage, you know, meet the needs of the caregivers using the technology that you have. I think are are pretty hefty list, but that’s where the agencies that are doing those types of things are the ones that we’re seeing that are far more successful with their training.

Jeff Howell (28:59):

Love it. What’s the best way for an agency to knock on your door and get in touch, guys?

Allan Levine (29:05):

I’ll put my sales hat on here and you know, you can reach us@navon.com, N e V v o n.com. You can reach out to me directly if you have any questions. And my email is Alan a l l a n@navon.com. Submit a form on the website, you know, there’s partnership page on the Eli Care app ELI Care website. You know, we’re, we’re pretty easy to find if you just Google Nevvon.

Jeff Howell (29:31):

Well, I have a full page of takeaways here. I love doing these episodes cuz I always learned something new. I’m floored by really how you, you really, the switch was turned on just five years ago for you guys and sounds like you guys are up to some super exciting things and going from three to 4 million aids up to 7 million by 2025. You guys have a lot of work to do to train those aids. guys, thanks for coming on today and now that we’re sort of back to normal, I look forward to bumping into you guys at the next conference.

James Cohen (30:05):

Thank you Jeff for having

Allan Levine (30:06):

Us. Yeah, thanks Jeff. This was great. Appreciate it.

Jeff Howell (30:11):

Home Health 360 is presented by AlayaCare. First off, we wanna thank our amazing guests and listeners. To get more episodes, you can go to alayacare.com/homehealth360, that’s spelled Home Health 360, or Search Home Health 360 on any of your favorite podcasting platforms. The easiest way to stay up to date on our new shows is to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. We also have a newsletter you can sign up for on alayacare.com/homehealth360 to get alerts for new shows and more valuable content from all care right into your inbox. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.

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Home Health 360 - Episode 33

Episode Description

Training home care agency care workers fast and well is the key to delivering the care we would want our loved ones to receive. We sat down with caregiver education and training experts from one of our partners, Nevvon, Allan Levine (SVP of Growth and Revenue) and James Cohen (CEO), to talk about how agencies can enhance their business through efficient caregiver training. Listen to learn about the tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your caregiver training program.

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