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CareTouch is a Peak Sponsor for the 9th Annual Hike for Hospice in Morrison, Colorado

Denver, CO – July 22, 2014 – CareTouch Communications, Inc. has formed a new employee-driven outreach program called CareTouch in the Community. CareTouch™ employees will select causes they are passionate about throughout the year, and provide hands-on support in line with their mission to help people in and around the community improve their health. The program’s first cause is Hike for Hospice, to benefit the Butterfly Program of Porter Hospice.

On Sunday, September 14, the CareTouch in the Community team will climb to 7,600 feet (approximately 2.5 miles) to the top of Olinger Mount Lindo, home of the illuminated cross in Morrison, Colorado. As a Peak Sponsor for the 9th Annual Hike for Hospice, the team will be raising funds for the Butterfly program, which provides pediatric palliative care.

“Over the last year we’ve dialed in our company’s mission, which is to be compassionate communicators partnering to improve people’s health,” commented Matthew Dolph, CEO of CareTouch. “I’m proud that our new CareTouch in the Community program crystalizes this mission in a way that will provide hands-on help and support for people in our own community.”

Learn more about our fundraising efforts here.

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CareTouch: Through the Eyes of a CSR

iStock_000023173199_MediumAt CareTouch, our Client Service Reps (CSRs) are the lifeblood of our company’s success. Our highly-trained CSRs reach out to patients on behalf of healthcare providers, to make sure they are current on their supplies and are adhering to their therapy. We asked one of our fantastic CSRs, Angie, to provide a little insight about her job . . . and here’s what she had to say!

I’ve been working for CareTouch for the last 2 years and enjoy reaching out to people every day. When you think of “call centers” you might conjure up a feeling of uninformed, disconnected people at the other end of the phone trying to sell you something. The call center at CareTouch is anything but that. We are a group of dedicated, compassionate communicators, reaching out to people to help them stay on their therapy and get the supplies they need right on time.

This way of thinking stems from our internal culture. We have a great team that works and plays together, and our customer’s best interests are always at the top of our minds. We love connecting with people from all over the country. As the day goes on we make calls from the east coast to the west coast, subconsciously picking up subtle nuances of culture change. A CareTouch CSR is also good at identifying different personality types and predicting how a call might go within seconds. For example, we know if we have the rushed business person or the free spirit with all the time in the world on the other end of the phone.

This job is all about people. I can honestly say I have had a conversation with every type of introvert and extrovert you can imagine. From the eleven-year-old boy who uses his nebulizer because he runs faster on the basketball court, to the eighty-year-old woman whose cat keeps putting holes in her CPAP tube, we talk to people of all ages and demographics. I always find it amazing how through many thousands of conversations, we remember certain names and stories.

We help people especially during the times when they think of their therapy as a chore, rather than a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We take the time to listen to their frustrations. Once they feel heard, it is amazing how often they talk themselves back around to the positive aspects of their home medical equipment. Witnessing this positive shift is fulfilling, and the commitment we make is to encourage this healthy change with each call we make.

Working at CareTouch has shown me what makes a meaningful conversation. It has shown me that you don’t have to be someone’s best friend, family member, neighbor, or teacher to have an engaging conversation with lasting impact. When you give someone the care and concern they deserve and truly listen, they open up and allow you to help. And that gives me the greatest satisfaction imaginable.

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Angie Pagan has been working at CareTouch since September 2012 after graduating from the University of Missouri with a degree in International Studies. Her study abroad experiences helped her learn the Spanish language which she is able to use frequently at CareTouch with Spanish speaking patients. She is very involved in the outdoor recreation community and enjoys rock climbing on the weekends. Her passion for people living active, creative, healthy lifestyles has greatly aided her work at CareTouch as a CSR.

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The Science Behind Patient Encounters

CWhen CareTouch was formed back in 2005, we were in the long term care space with a notification service for the family and friends of the residents. When the resident had a change of condition, our service would notify assigned family members and friends of the change.

Since that time, we’ve grown to be a leader in the resupply space and have completed well over two million patient encounters which is a series of questions that make up an outbound call flow or Web flow. In order to get this part of our business right, there was a science behind it. We set out to learn what patients preferred in terms of automated communication and outreach, and explored many areas critical to driving patient responses.

Through a variety of focus groups, interviews and surveys, we asked patients several questions regarding their follow-up care preferences, including:

  1. The time of day/day of the week they’d most prefer to be called
  2. The number of calls appropriate during the course of a day/week
  3. Whether or not they preferred to have a voice mail message left
  4. The preferred length of the call
  5. The types of questions they’d like to be asked, e.g. get straight to the point and get their supplies replenished or inquire about how their therapy is going

Each of these elements was critical to the development of our call outreach program, and has established CareTouch as a therapy-focused company that grows revenues for the HME providers we serve.

Our business is all about communication, and it is only with good, reliable and patient-focused communication that we are able to help our HME providers increase their supply revenue. If you don’t call your patients on a regular basis, you simply miss out on the opportunity to serve them. That’s what we do. And even though it’s not rocket science, I challenge you to find someone in our space who will take care of you and you patients better.

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Matthew Dolph is CEO for CareTouch Communications, Inc. and brings 20 years of service management experience to the company’s operations. He has helped design, implement and manage numerous patient communication solutions for CareTouch customers and business partners. He coaches numerous soccer teams and lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

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CareTouch Improves Service Offering with Billing System Integration

CareTouch Communications, Inc. released an enhanced version of their CareTouch360™ platform that supports One-way and Two-way billing system integration. The open system solution communicates with most billing systems, pulling data directly from the Home Medical Equipment (HME) provider and enabling streamlined implementation of patient outreach.

One-way integration allows the HME provider to pull their own patient order reports from the CareTouch360™ platform and manually enter orders. The Two-way integration solution goes a step further and uploads patient orders directly into their billing system. Two-way integration eliminates the need for data entry, and sometimes double data entry, saving the Home Medical Equipment providers time and money.

Home Medical Equipment providers using Mediware’s Fastrack™ or any billing software with a web services interface can immediately take advantage of the CareTouch360 platform enhancements.

“CareTouch is always looking for ways to make it easier for our customers to keep their patients healthy,” commented Matthew Dolph, CEO of CareTouch. “Adding the integration element takes our solution to the next level, resulting in happy patients and increased revenues.”

Schedule an online live demo of CareTouch solutions by clicking here.

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CareTouch: Through The Eyes of an Intern

SOver the last few years, I’ve spent my summers either playing competitive baseball or working as an umpire. As a business student entering my last year of college, I wanted to do something different. Really different. So, here is what I’ve learned so far.

Coming into this internship, I did not know much about the healthcare industry, or for that matter, what CareTouch even did. My first several days were spent training on sleep apnea supplies and learning the customer service side of CareTouch.  This was a great way for me to begin understanding the business and how we help people get their medical supplies. After training, I quickly learned what an intern actually does: stuff letters in envelopes! There was a two day period where all I was doing was stuffing envelopes because the company brought on 10,000 more patients. Even though this was not the most intriguing job, it was my job.

My experience here so far has been amazing, in most part, because of the people that work here.  CareTouch has a great staff and everyone is willing to help out. Since I sit right by the live call team all day, I hear how well they interact with the patients we reach out to. I also see how they’ve built great relationships with one another.  This is not just true with the call team; everyone in the office gets along and has created a great company culture. I believe this is an essential part of why this business is thriving and growing.

The most surprising thing that I have seen so far, is how much fun everyone has doing their job.  Even though we get a lot of work done, we find ways to have fun and enjoy our jobs.  From the live call team 3pm popsicles, every-hour-on-the-hour one-minute workouts, and after work foosball, the company has created a productive yet enjoyable work place.

This brings me to my biggest lesson so far. In future endeavors, I want to find a career where I will enjoy going to work every day. I’ve learned from our CEO that building lasting relationships is a very important key to success in the business world. Here at CareTouch, I have learned that relationships are just as important within the work place as well.

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Ryan Silva is a business student at Colorado Christian University, attending on a baseball scholarship, and plays center field. At CareTouch, Ryan is the summer intern that tends to any requests around the office. When he’s not stuffing envelopes, attending classes or playing baseball, he enjoys spending time with his friends and family. He’s also very active in the community, doing many service projects and mission trips with his baseball team. Ryan is home for the summer and will be heading back to complete his senior year in August.  

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Gaining Value from Shared Experiences

Networking4In May, I attended The Innovation Element Seminar in Denver. The evening brought together executives from Colorado’s small and midsize companies to hear a fast-paced lineup of speakers addressing innovative ways to drive measurable growth via inbound marketing strategies.

There were a few stand-out presentations that really resonated with me because of how they related to the initiatives we’re taking on at CareTouch.

John McCarvel, former CEO of Crocs, was the keynote speaker and brought the perspective of a successful company that had withstood hard times along their journey to success. Mr. McCarvel spoke of Crocs’ 3 Cs, which stand for Creed, Code, and Culture. This captivated me because of the initiatives that CareTouch is implementing, including creating a clear mission and vision, and a culture that speaks volumes about who we are and what we stand for. I was further energized knowing that all of these initiatives are hard to implement, but in the end, they have extreme value and are well worth the effort to pursue and perfect.

Mark Mitton, president of Carbon8, provided insight as to what makes a website great. One of the many nuggets I gleaned from this presentation was about why prospects come to your site. Most of the time it’s to get information, and many times, to get information on price. Previously, CareTouch had not listed pricing on our site, but after hearing the compelling reasons why this is so important, we implemented this change immediately.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Ben Jones’ presentation about including video in your marketing efforts. ImageBrew is known for their unique video production abilities, and Mr. Jones shared some of the innovative ways they were creating memorable videos for their clients. One of my favorites was the Water for People video. It showed people clad in their bathing suits, “floating” in a pool with no water and playing Marco Polo. The audience got a good laugh, while also internalizing the message that people really do need water. After looking at some of ImageBrew’s other video examples, CareTouch is actively working on creating a whiteboard video to show our prospective customers how we make their business easier and their revenues grow.

The lesson learned in all of this is, quite simply, that there are always lessons to learn as you are growing your business. When you open yourself up to the opportunity to hear how others have solved some of the very same issues you’re grappling with, it can cut your learning curve in half and you can gain immeasurable value from having shared the experience with some of the best.

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Matthew Dolph is CEO for CareTouch Communications, Inc. and brings 20 years of service management experience to the company’s operations. He has helped design, implement and manage numerous patient communication solutions for CareTouch customers and business partners. He coaches numerous soccer teams and lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

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CareTouch Triples Their Live Call Center Staff to Accommodate Rapid Growth

Denver, CO – May 30, 2014 – CareTouch Communications, Inc. announced that it has more than tripled its live call center staff since February of this year in order to accommodate an influx of new patient accounts. CareTouch reaches out to patients on behalf of healthcare providers in order to maintain patients’ supplies for sleep apnea therapy, diabetic testing, incontinence, oxygen therapy and nebulizer treatment.

“One of our key differentiators is that we offer our patients the ability to reach another human being at any time during their encounter with CareTouch,” commented Matthew Dolph, CEO of CareTouch. “It’s an exciting time to be here right now because of the growth we are experiencing and the opportunities we have to serve our customers better.”

CareTouch merges Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology with their live, multi-lingual staff to provide the highest level of customer service to patients who rely on regularly-stocked medical supplies. Competing providers utilize IVR-only technology, or have outsourced call centers. CareTouch hires and trains staff to work out of their Westminster, Colorado based office for maximum efficiency and superior service.

CareTouch provides online live demos of their solutions.

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Building Lasting Success

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Everyone talks about the necessity of creating a solid business plan for success, and a new book, entitled The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success, by Rich Karlgaard, shows how successful companies use what he calls the “soft edge” to become great. He studied dozens of very successful companies and relates how great companies have a viable “health pyramid” that enables them to function optimally.

This, of course, intrigued me, being part of a company that helps healthcare providers manage their patients’ health.

Imagine your company’s health pyramid as an equilateral triangle, with your solid strategy as its base. Along the two remaining edges of your triangle is:

  1. The “hard edge” (your supply chain, distribution, etc.), and
  2. The “soft edge” – the human element (your customers, partners, investors, and employees)

In his book, Karlgaard suggests that many companies do a poor job of managing the “soft edge” of the business. Without this important element of the triangle, the business simply falls flat.

On the other hand, great companies have one thing in common: they have mastered their “soft edge” by sticking with their deepest values and letting them coexist alongside their strategic base and their “hard edge” execution. He identifies five key elements that make up a company’s “soft edge”:

  1. Trust – The key here is developing a culture that embodies trust, allowing people to take reasonable risks and get to the next level faster.
  2. Smarts – This is all about staying relevant and keeping your employees educated and growing.
  3. Teamwork – This element is critical to forward-movement because you can use everyone’s individual strengths to be even more successful together.
  4. Taste – The takeaway in this element is to find the right mix of data points and emotional response in order to provide the products and services that connect with your audience.
  5. Story – Successful companies create great stories that employees can tell in their own unique ways to bring about excitement and passion for the company.

When companies get good at fostering and nurturing the elements of their soft edge, there’s no place to go but up.

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Cindy Skerjanec is Marketing Director for CareTouch and brings two decades of strategic marketing and branding expertise to the company. She leads CareTouch’s brand initiatives, strategic marketing direction and tactical execution. In her spare time, she leads marketing workshops and teaches yoga. She lives with her husband and two children in Colorado.

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Therapy-Focused or Pure Resupply?

HOver the last few months, I’ve been sharing information about what healthcare providers should consider when choosing a communications partner to provide patient outreach. Recently, I addressed outreach modalities and discussed the pros and cons of the various communication modalities. This month I wanted to discuss the purpose of patient outreach, which is often viewed purely as a method by which patients can obtain their equipment, and resupply revenues can be gained.  At CareTouch, we are focused on these two objectives, but there is a third objective that is without a doubt, even more important.  I am biased.  My amazing wife Karin is a clinical nurse manager, and has engrained in me throughout my work at CareTouch that it is unacceptable to be in communication with a patient and not ask how they are doing with their therapy. Your resupply program is your on-going communication link to your patients.  Adding a couple of therapy questions to your resupply program can:

  • Give you a way to remain on top of the health of your patient population
  • Provide early warning signs of a potentially larger problem for a specific patient
  • Allows you to better manage your entire population

How a Therapy-Focused Resupply Program Helps You Better Manage Patients

A therapy-focused resupply program allows you to filter through your patient population and identify the patients that need personal follow-up.  For example, if you have 1500 patients on a CPAP resupply program, it is likely that 5% of them are having minor issues with their therapy.  In this case 75 patients are having some sort of issue.  Without an outreach program, it can be difficult and expensive to identify the patients that need intervention.  With a therapy-rich outreach program, these 75 patients are easily identifiable. The types of questions to ask are common and rather simple.  A few sample therapy questions to ask include:

  • What is your overall satisfaction with your therapy?
  • Is your therapy controlling your symptoms?
  • Do you need to talk with a healthcare provider?
  • Are your symptoms the same, better or worse?
  • Do you need to schedule an appointment?

Asking just 2 or 3 of these questions will allow you to better understand the patient’s situation, and take appropriate follow-up action.  In addition, looking at these answers from a population perspective will provide unique insights into your business.  Comparing the results from one location to another, for example, can be incredibly insightful.

How Not Having a Therapy-Focused Program Diminishes Financial Returns

Not having a patient outreach program, or having one designed for pure resupply is short term and will provide a diminishing financial return over time.  One example of this is through your referral sources, i.e. physicians, who care significantly about outcomes.  If your patients are going back to their physicians with complications, worsening symptoms, or complaints about lack of follow-up, it is likely that they will begin to refer patients elsewhere – that is, your competitors.  Losing a referral source can have a significant financial impact on your business.

A resupply program that includes therapy focus can solve minor patient concerns prior to them becoming  larger issues, enabling you to identify patients that need a follow-up physician visit.  Referring these patients back to their physician due to warning signs that were discovered through therapy-focused outreach permanently alters the relationship between you and your referral source because you become a real bidirectional partner with them.

The takeaway is simple. Outreach is important on many levels, and can benefit the patient and your business in measurable ways when done right. By developing a therapy-focused outreach program, the end result is win-win-win: for the patients, their physicians, and your business.

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Matthew Dolph is CEO of CareTouch Communications, Inc. and brings 20 years of management experience to the company’s operations. He has helped design, implement and manage numerous patient communication solutions for CareTouch customers and business partners. He coaches multiple competitive soccer teams and lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

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People: Our Most Valuable Assets

Foosball tableThe way that we motivate our employees has been cause for great discussion around CareTouch for the last several months. As Matt expressed in his recent post we have taken a deep-dive into revamping our vision, mission and culture at CareTouch. Our initial efforts have brought about some great successes. We’ve learned a lot about one another, what makes us want to come to work each day, and what makes us successful.

I came across an article that piqued my interest because its title was “3 Questions That Will Motivate Your Employees”.  The article pointed to the problem that 71 percent of the American workforce is not engaged in their work. As a small company, CareTouch is always looking for ways to keep our employees actively engaged – particularly our call center team, as they are the face of our company. Our call center team spends tireless hours on the phone, speaking with patients, answering their questions, and helping fulfill their medical supply needs. If our call center team is not engaged, we are not being effective.

To us, motivation and culture go hand-in-hand. Part of our recent culture work involved revamping our office space to allow for more “play time”. As the motivational article describes, it is important to understand what motivates your employees and then work to be that catalyst. Our employees are generally happy, healthy people, but when anyone spends hours at a time talking on the phone, ineffectiveness is bound to set in.

Our employees needed a little time for a fun, energizing break in order to provide the best customer service to our HME partners and their patients, so we brought in a Foosball table. For a few days, it just sat there, unused, but these days, you’ll find a spirited game going on in the middle of the day when everyone just needs to get re-energized. The laughter and camaraderie gained by such an innocuous addition as a Foosball table has paid immeasurable dividends already.

I think that this question of motivation should be addressed in companies large and small, in any industry. If our people are our most valuable assets, what are we doing to motivate them to be their best every day?

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Tod Cooper is VP, Client Services for CareTouch, managing the staff that provides support to all CareTouch clients. His role is to ensure that the needs of the customer are being met and to identify potential enhancements to the product line. Tod and his wife own and operate a small horse boarding business and he also serves as president and chairman, in a volunteer capacity, on the Jeffco Fair, Inc. board, which operates the annual Jefferson County Fair in Golden Colorado.

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