BOSTON, MA – An aging population and a global pandemic has made our healthcare system more important than ever. Patients depend on their caregivers, and healthcare employers need to ensure that their staff members are well-trained to deliver care. Helen Adeosun, founder and CEO of CareAcademy, saw a way to improve the field. She launched CareAcademy, an online learning platform for caregiver training and certification. Even as the company weathers this severe health crisis, Adeosun never lost sight of her goal: helping caregivers complete their training.
“Healthcare has become a vastly different landscape, so we want to distribute as much information as we can in order to upskill workers and provide better care for those who are the most vulnerable,” said Adeosun.
What is CareAcademy
Adeosun has always had a keen interest in public education, a trait made clear by her early career with Boston Public Schools and Teach for America. While in graduate school, she began considering how to start her own company. She took the core idea of flexible training accessible from anywhere and built it into CareAcademy. The service offers video classes with a wide variety of healthcare topics. Some include clients’ rights or emergency procedures, while others are more specialized, dealing with Parkinson’s disease or coping skills for caregivers. The classes offered are based on client demand and individual state requirements. The program is approved in all 50 states and some parts of Canada and the specific classes needed are assigned automatically depending on location.
As Adeosun explained, these classes aren’t meant as a replacement for in-person learning. Instead, they build upon a skillset to help users master these topics. Adeosun considered it an “augmentation” for traditional seminars or workshops. In her eyes, the benefit of online information was that it could be accessed at any time and from any device. CareAcademy also sends automatic reminders to help with compliance and retention.
“On the administrative side, we wanted to think ahead and make it as easy to use as possible while addressing some of the major concerns for employers. Caregivers stay engaged with the material because of the notifications and other ‘nudges’ we use to keep their interest,” said Adeosun.
Of course, the largest concern for both caregivers and the company was the arrival of COVID-19. Adeosun knew by February that the virus would present a major challenge. To her, CareAcademy had a responsibility to address some of the many questions on everyone’s minds. Healthcare workers couldn’t wait for the pandemic to blow over – they had to keep caring for patients, so they needed guidance right away. By early March, CareAcademy began posting information on their blog. On March 20, they released a free COVID-19 certification class, which was then expanded upon and rereleased on July 6. The class covers a variety of protective disinfection techniques, something crucial when caring for a patient who has tested positive.
Next Step: Funding and Scaling
To Adeosun, the situation has certainly been a challenge. The company was in the middle of securing Series A funding when the pandemic hit – luckily, they were still able to secure 9.5 million. Finding funding is hard enough as it is without extra complications, but Adeosun said the struggle was part of her duties as the founder and CEO. Her view was optimistic: even if it took some time, the company would manage and survive. It was difficult, but she’d dealt with plenty of challenges as an entrepreneur.
In talking about her launching process, Adeosun had plenty to share. She said that starting a business meant learning how to do everything: marketing, operations, funding, human resources, and more. Learning all these skills was crucial, but her end goal was to find people who could fill those individual roles and outdo her.
“After all, if I can do your job better than you, you’re out!” she joked.
To her, this was a constant process of evaluation and improvement. She suggested that other entrepreneurs carefully consider what positions are needed and think of how to “optimize beyond yourself.” This could mean scrutinizing individual tasks or considering the overall vision or goal of the company.
For CareAcademy’s big picture, Adeosun said that the major focus was to continue expanding. While the program is available across the United States, she wants to ensure that CareAcademy keeps growing with customers in individual areas. New classes are being added as needed, and she keeps a careful eye on user engagement. This requires constant reevaluation. Even before the pandemic hit, healthcare was a constantly changing field. Likewise, CareAcademy takes an adaptable approach to better suit the industry and support those seeking care.
“We currently have the largest generation of older adults in recent history,” Adeosun said. “We have to meet their needs. We need to think about other people, and how the world will continue to change. I want this generation to be able to advocate for their care and be able to take care of themselves.”