Since May, home care franchise Right at Home has been in the process of strategically adding corporate-owned locations to its overall portfolio. The move will allow the company to plant additional flags and create testing sites for new technologies and operational models.

Founded in 1995, Omaha, Nebraska-based Right at Home boasts a network of nearly 500 U.S. locations. Right at Home and Right at Home International are wholly-owned subsidiaries of RiseMark Brands, also based in Omaha.

Typically, the franchise model gives companies the ability to scale at a rapid pace. But for Right at Home — one of the largest home care franchise organizations around — the opportunity to grow further has become difficult.

“Right at Home has grown exponentially over the last several years,” Kerin Zuger, senior vice president of growth and innovations at RiseMark Brands, told Home Health Care News. “We are one of the largest franchise organizations, which means our ability to grow at the same rate is starting to decrease.”

As a part of Right at Home’s growth strategy, the company has begun accruing corporately owned locations. The first of these locations opened this year in May. By October, the company had two more corporately owned locations.

“As we look forward to our growth strategy and how to continue growing at the same rate we have over the last several years, one of the ways that we can do that is through a corporate-owned strategy,” Zuger said. “Objective No. 1 is helping Right at Home to fill the map.”

To be more precise, the company wants to double its current 492 locations over the next several years, particularly in metropolitan service areas, in order to leverage scale and diversify revenue streams, according to Zuger.

Maintaining a corporate-owned location is technically old-hat for Right at Home. The company held a corporate-owned location from 1995 until 2015, Brian Petranick, CEO and president of Right at Home, told HHCN.

“This was our original office that Allen Hager, [founder and executive chairman of Right at Home,] started back in 1995,” Petranick said. “This isn’t necessarily new for us, though that [original location] did convert to a franchise. As time has gone on, we’ve realized that there are some things we miss about having that location.”

These locations will enable Right at Home to open the door for experimentation and innovation, functioning as testing sites for new technologies, as well as new operational and staffing models.

“We don’t know if these types of things will be successful so we want to be able to leverage our own offices to test them for the broader market,” Zuger said. “We can bring better value to the system, as a whole, by first testing them out and then rolling out the things we know are going to be helpful from a growth standpoint for our other franchisees.”

For now, Right at Home is tight-lipped about the exact technologies and operational models the company will be testing, but Zuger said that technology will be especially important in trying to mitigate the impact of the caregiver workforce shortage.

“We recognize that with the shortage of caregivers across the country we are going to have to figure out the most appropriate way to include technology to augment the care that we provide,” she said. “There are a hundred different ways that you could go about that, but sensory and predictive analysis are two key things.”

Also on the agenda for the company: finding new ways to address loneliness amongst older adults.

In general, social isolation, or loneliness, is a major problem within the senior population. In fact, for older adults, social isolation and its health consequences are linked to an estimated $6.7 billion in additional Medicare spending annually.

However, Right at Home already has a number of pilots in the works the new strategy will allow the company to hone in on new data.

“The important piece that comes out of any pilot is the data that you can pull,” Zuger said. “Within our corporate-owned offices, one of the bigger underlying values to help us dictate path and priority is consistently being able to capture the data we need to make better decisions.”

Looking forward, the company plans to add a number of corporate-owned locations, but only time will tell how many, according to Petranick.

“At this point, I don’t know what that number is going to be,” he said. “It could ultimately be pretty substantially. It could also just be a handful. Strategically, there are markets that are important for us to be in, to leverage opportunities within the healthcare ecosystem.”

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