ReciproCare: Transforming the Way People Age in Place

3/31/17

By Henry Mortimer, Editor-at-Large

Charlene Brown, MD, MPH

The good news is that, thanks to modern medicine, people are staying healthy and living much longer than ever before. The bad news is that, because people are staying healthy and living much longer than ever before, there are more people in need of modern medicine — senior and long-term care, in particular.

In fact, a recent AARP Caregiving Innovation Frontiers report predicts that 117 million Americans are expected to need assistance of some kind of assistance by 2020. Such a boom is a major threat to an already overburdened industry, says Charlene Brown, MD, MPH, and CEO and founder of ReciproCare.


“We are experiencing the largest elder population in our history and there’s a shortage of caregivers,” says Dr. Brown, a board-certified physician with specialty training in public health. “We don’t have the workforce to meet the needs that are coming.”

There aren’t enough trained professionals available, says Dr. Brown, who until recently served as a Medical Officer for the US Agency for International Development. Most — nearly two-thirds — of America’s 2.2 million paid caregivers are not working full-time. What’s to blame? The home care industry’s capacity to recruit and on-board caregivers is struggling to keep up with the rising demand.

The traditional home care recruitment model can be slowed down for simple reasons like a missing CPR certificate or a change in caregiver availability making it hard for agencies to hire caregivers in a timely fashion to meet rising customer demand. Worse, it’s extremely costly: on a national scale, the industry is spending billions on recruiting, hiring and training caregivers.

So Brown quit her job to form ReciproCare, a business-to-business online marketplace for the long term care industries. Other products exist for helping paid caregivers to find employers, she says, including Craigslist. But ReciproCare targets paid caregivers who work in the long term care industry matching the excess capacity of underemployed workers with home care agencies and other employers in need. More important, says Dr. Brown, ReciproCare’s solution has streamlined the application and matching processes to accelerate the time-to-hire. 

“I want to transform how home care agencies find caregivers, and how caregivers find jobs,” Dr. Brown says.

Connect with Charlene on LinkedIn

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