Therapy-Focused or Pure Resupply?

Her healthcare providers have her confidenceOver 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.


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

FAS_Foosball_table_1The 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?


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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Company Culture and Employee Morale Go Hand In Hand

organizational culture, analysis and development conceptA few weeks ago, I came across an article in the Business Insider that resonated with me. In recent months, CareTouch has had a keen focus on who we are as a company and how we foster our culture. Last month, we told you how great companies have a culture that embodies their brand – in other words, they walk their talk, and in our recent strategy planning sessions, a significant portion of our discussions have revolved around how we develop that culture in a way that speaks volumes about CareTouch.

We work hard to enrich patient-provider relationships through innovative communication solutions and we want that to emanate from everything we do, what we say, what our office looks like, and how we work and play together.

The referenced article describes some innovative corporate perks that are beginning to infiltrate startup companies – from a cubicle decorating allowance to paid time to work for a week from wherever you’d like! While not all of the suggestions are ones I’d seriously consider, the point is that in order to provide the best customer service, we need to start with bringing out the best in our employees.

We’ve started this process by listing perks we’d like to bring in to our own company to foster our culture. Some of the ideas included gym memberships, a Foosball table in the employee break room, fresh fruit available in the kitchen and fitness balls around a white board just outside the conference room for brainstorming meetings. While these might not seem like much, they are the things that can make bring a little more work-life balance to our employees, and increase job satisfaction which translates directly to the customer experience we provide.

So, whether you offer your employees a decorating allowance, an on-site masseuse or free laundry service, the question is, how will that improve your employee morale – and how does that translate to better customer service and ultimately, better revenues for your company?


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: Walking the Talk

Great companies have a culture that embodies their brand. Plain and simple. The good ones walk the talk, and their customers see the true value in their offering because they approach every day by living up to their vision and mission.

Last November, CareTouch embarked on the difficult, introspective, and collective-soul-searching task of defining our vision and mission statements. Having led these types of discussions with other companies, I knew how difficult it would be to nail everything that our company stands for in a couple of short statements. The question that remained after creating these statements was, “Can we walk our talk”?

Our vision statement is “To enrich patient-provider relationships through innovative communication solutions”. The proof behind how CareTouch stands up to a statement like that shows up regularly in the solutions we provide to our customers every day. When OSF Home Medical Equipment reached out to CareTouch after November’s Midwest storm to get critical supplies to patients, we responded. When Argosy was looking for ways to ensure their patients received consistent contact in order to ensure their supplies were current, CareTouch’s live call team increased Argosy’s reorder rate by 78%. Walking the talk with our customers is how we translate our expertise to their success.

Our mission states that “We are compassionate communicators partnering to improve people’s health”. A few days after our mission statement posters had been gracing employees’ desks, we received a call from the daughter of a patient in another state. Her father had been experiencing problems with his CPAP equipment and wasn’t able to maintain his sleep apnea treatment. She was having a difficult time reaching her equipment supplier, so she called CareTouch. Shortly after the call was made to us, we reached out to our customer, the HME provider. We consider each of our customers partners, and they appreciated our proactive assistance with this patient. The HME provider acted quickly and professionally, providing the patient with replacement equipment overnight. About a week later, we received a call from the patient’s daughter expressing her sincere gratitude for acting so quickly to get her problem resolved. In fact, she said that she now considered CareTouch part of her family and was sending a special thank you gift in the mail for the team. Walking the talk is how we partner to improve people’s health.

Great companies have a culture that embodies their brand. Great companies walk the talk, and that’s exactly what we do at CareTouch.


Cindy Skerjanec is Marketing Director for CareTouch and brings two decades of strategic marketing and branding expertise to the company. She has led CareTouch’s brand initiatives, strategic marketing direction and tactical execution for the last year. 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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CareTouch Helps OSF Patients Get Critical Medical Supplies In Storms’ Wake

Denver, CO – January 28, 2014 – CareTouch Communications, Inc. announced that patients affected by November’s Midwest storm received immediate assistance through fast response initiated by OSF Home Medical Equipment and implemented by CareTouch.

Shortly after severe weather and tornadoes damaged homes in the Washington, Illinois area in November, OSF Home Medical Equipment contacted CareTouch to initiate an emergency outreach effort to patients who might need oxygen and other medical supplies. CareTouch created a call-flow that communicated OSF’s concern for their patients, reaching out to 300 people to identify their need for replacement medical equipment and obtaining temporary address information to enable immediate delivery.

“We spoke with one patient’s mother who had lost her home in the wake of the storms and couldn’t remember where she had gotten her son’s medical equipment,” said Carolyn Kreeger, Director of Client Services for CareTouch. “He needed replacement supplies and equipment, which were immediately delivered to their temporary hotel refuge.”

“Utilizing CareTouch’s highly-trained live call team was critical to reaching patients quickly,” said William Linn, Clinical Manager of OSF Home Medical Equipment. “We recognized the need, took immediate action, and were able to help a lot of people who would otherwise have gone without the medical supplies they needed for days, if not weeks.”

“It is HME providers like OSF who really make a difference. CareTouch simply responded to their request and executed the program quickly on their behalf,” commented Matthew Dolph, CEO of CareTouch.

CareTouch provides live demos of each of their solutions.


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The Power of Communication in the Wake of Life-Threatening Storms



A devastating storm is a hardship for anyone in its path, but when someone relies on medical equipment on a daily basis, a storm can severely compromise one’s health. On Sunday, November 17, severe weather and tornadoes caused devastation in Washington, Illinois.  With hundreds of homes damaged in the area, one HME provider knew they needed to act quickly to help those affected by the storms and replenish necessary medical equipment that was lost.

Early Monday morning, CareTouch received a call from the clinical manager at an HME located in Illinois asking if we could call patients in the areas most heavily hit by the storms to see if they needed any critical medical equipment.  He knew that it was important to reach the people who may be in need of oxygen or other necessary devices and wanted to make sure that his patients received the medical equipment they needed as quickly as possible.

CareTouch was on board immediately and created a call-flow that communicated the HME’s concern for their patients.  We reached out to about 300 patients, identified the people in need of replacement medical equipment, and noted if they were staying at a temporary address.  We spoke with one patient’s mother who had lost her home in the wake of the storms and couldn’t remember where she had gotten her son’s medical equipment.  He needed replacement supplies and equipment, which were immediately delivered to their temporary hotel refuge.

This Illinois-based HME demonstrated great care and thoughtfulness for their patients that week.  They took action and called their patients using the CareTouch360™ platform, reaching out to individuals in their time of need.  It is comforting to know that there are companies out there who will look out for their patients’ medical needs so those people can focus on rebuilding their homes and community.

CareTouch was more than happy to help in this effort. Our live call team and ability to adapt quickly to the HME’s need – as in the case of this emergency situation – keeps us on track with our mission to be compassionate communicators partnering with healthcare providers to improve people’s health.


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CareTouch Grows Argosy Group Patient Reorder Rate by 78%

December 18, 2013 – CareTouch Communications, Inc. announced that its replenishment program has increased Argosy’s reorder rate by 78%, resulting in vital new revenue.

Argosy Group recognized that patient outreach is critical to resupply orders, and discovered across an aggregate of their client base that 40% of resupply orders were being lost due to a lack of consistent contact with the patient. Their clients had been achieving only a 32% reorder rate and after partnering with CareTouch, they have seen this rate increase to 57%, an overall increase of 78%. The reorder rate has remained consistent since starting the program.

“Utilizing CareTouch’s highly-trained live call team was critical to the early success of the program.  The patient demographics combined with the need to articulate the changes in the program, led to our decision to start all of the patients with a live call, and CareTouch delivered remarkable results.  Switching to CareTouch was one of the best business decisions I’ve made this year,” said Douglas Stallbaumer, partner, Argosy Group.

“Argosy contacted us on a Thursday to discuss a replenishment program in an effort to stimulate resupply orders, and we were able to start the program for them the following Monday,” commented Matthew Dolph, CEO of CareTouch. “CareTouch prides itself in our ability to be agile when it comes to meeting our customer’s needs, and not only were we able to respond quickly to Argosy’s request, we were able to execute a custom program that involved a significant amount of live call.”

CareTouch provides live demos of each of their solutions.


About Argosy Group, Inc.

Argosy Group, Inc. ( brings together technology, people and resources to provide the healthcare industry with cost-effective, efficient solutions that drive success and profit. Specializing in compliance, A/R management, consulting, interim management, accreditation preparation, billing and reimbursement solutions, Argosy is passionate about improving the standards and quality of health through the businesses that help patients stay healthy. 


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Outreach Modalities That Benefit the Patient-Provider Relationship

iStock_000020146237_MediumOver 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 independent versus integrated solutions and discussed the pros and cons of each.

In today’s market, making the best use of technology seems like a no-brainer, but many businesses, including communications providers, don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle figured out just yet.  A complete communication solution must incorporate an IVR (Interactive Voice Response or Automated Phone System), call center, postal mail and a suite of web services including: email, web, text and chat. More importantly, they must all be designed to work cohesively, be configurable to meet your business needs and allow for the best possible patient experience.

An IVR is the workhorse of any patient communication service; it handles the bulk of patient communication. All too often, IVRs are configured to minimize costs.  If your IVR calls patients 10-15 times a day, never leaving a message, and waiting to get a live person on the phone, it is configured to save money and not configured to maximize the patient’s experience.  Your patients despise these systems and will typically stop responding, eroding your response rate over time.

Maximizing the Experience

A communication provider whose IVR is configured to maximize a patient’s experience will have a few simple traits.  These providers will:

  • publish their caller ID
  • leave voice mail messages
  • easily allow patients to reach a live person
  • support both outgoing and incoming calls

Once you reach a live person who is supporting the IVR, these CSRs (Customer Service Representatives) must be knowledgeable in the healthcare sector they are supporting.  According to survey conducted by Liel Leibivitz, from the University of New York, almost 83% of respondents said, “…they’d like to be given the option of effortlessly reaching a live CSR at any point in their interaction…”

Can your customers reach a CSR at any time during the call?  If your communication provider offers a customer service option, do their employees answer the call or do they simply transfer the customer to you?  A good communications provider will have their own call center with employees in the USA who are multi-lingual and more importantly, are experts in the healthcare field they are servicing.

Web Services in Demand

In addition to IVR and a live call team, patient demand for web services is growing.  Having the ability to communicate with customers through email, web, text and chat will become more important in the second half of the decade.  Is your communication partner able to utilize these modalities to reach out to your patients?

CareTouch has seen our web services grow from 2% in November 2011 to 14% on October 2013.  We expect to see this rapid growth rate continue for the next several years.  The makeup of these web interactions is still heavily dominated by the personal computer. Here are some of our stats:

  • 83% of CareTouch web interactions are initiated by a PC
  • 12% from a mobile phone
  • 5% from a tablet

Is your web service solution able to handle the varied devices patients use on a daily basis?  Again, a key component of a successful web services solution is providing your patient a seamless way to reach a live CSR.

The Power of Snail Mail

Your solution should include the ability to send printed material through the US postal service.  The power of a letter, postcard or other written communication is undeniable.  Does you current solution support sending information via your patient’s mailbox?  If you are starting a new service, an introduction letter will increase the response and adoption rates anywhere from 5-10%.  An ongoing program on either a three or six-month cycle will help you maintain a strong response rate over time.

Customization to Meet the Patient’s Individual Preferences

Finally, your solution should be configurable.  You should be able to use the solution to interact with any patient.  You should be able to customize the entire patient interaction from beginning to end.  Several of the patient communication companies have market or product specific solutions.  Seek a communication provider that can service all of your patients.

A robust communication solution must include an IVR, call center, web services and a printed mail solution.  All of these outreach modalities must be cohesive and configurable to maximize the customer experience.

If you are not sure where to start, focus on the most important piece of the puzzle: an IVR supported by a live call center.  According to the same survey by Liel Leibivitz, “…respondents across the board overwhelmingly stated that having a good IVR system was extremely important, and that a lack of one would result in refusal to give the company future business.”

If you’re curious about how CareTouch brings all of these outreach modalities together to help increase your revenue, set up a live demo of our CareTouch360™ platform today. If you have questions about the next steps, call us at 888-333-1456.

Source: Liel Leibovitz. Holding the Line: Customer Perceptions of Interactive Voice Response Systems. Interactions: August 2012


Matthew Dolph is CEO of 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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HME Specialists Partners with CareTouch to Provide Superior Care and Outreach to Sleep Apnea Patients

Denver, CO – November 19, 2013 – CareTouch Communications, Inc. announced today that HME Specialists has chosen the CareTouch360™ solution to automate and simplify patient management through regular patient outreach and engagement.

In November, CareTouch began reaching out to HME Specialists’ patients who are on sleep apnea therapy. The outreach program utilizes the patient’s desired method of communication, including IVR, live call, email or web to monitor the adoption of PAP therapy, document compliance and manage resupply orders. The program also alerts the staff at HME Specialists if there are any immediate patient issues that require attention.

“Partnering with CareTouch enables us to focus our time on helping our customers at intake and fulfilling their resupply orders,” said Dave Evans, Vice President of HME Specialists. “The program helps us reduce costs by automatically reaching out to patients and helping them stay on top of their therapy.”

“We’re excited about working with HME Specialists because they understand the importance of consistent patient contact,” commented Matthew Dolph, CEO of CareTouch. “We help HME Specialists manage their patient population by exception so the focus is only on those patients who need assistance. This saves them time and reduces their costs.”

CareTouch provides live demos of each of their solutions.


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CareTouch Hires Zuri Nance as Sales Manager

Zuri Nance-4x6CareTouch Communications, Inc., a leader in advanced patient engagement, communication and management, announced the addition of Zuri Nance as Sales Manager. Nance is responsible for developing and nurturing new client relationships and brings a variety of experience in research, client cultivation and contract negotiation to the CareTouch team.

Nance spent three years in health-related fields, gaining experience in patient intake, management, and sales development, working for companies including US Nursing and Conovan Healthcare/MESA Medical.

“Zuri brings a great deal of energy to our team, along with an impressive track record of building business relationships through his strategic connections,” said Matthew Dolph, CareTouch CEO. “He’s working to grow CareTouch to become a leader in our space by connecting the dots between what healthcare providers need and how we can help them achieve their goals.”

Contact CareTouch to see a live demo of each of their solutions.


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