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Peas and Guacamole?

Elderly and Technology

If the title of my blog caught your attention, it caught mine, too, when I saw those two words used together in a recent Wired magazine article. It stated, “Technology and the elderly go together like peas and guacamole, which is of course to say, they don’t go together at all.”

The article was about how the government is looking for ways to better utilize technology to manage the aging baby boomer population, and their movement to find new ways to scale senior care without compromising quality of care.

Utilizing technology to help people sums up the CareTouch business model, and is also one of the biggest motivators behind our recent acquisition by ResMed, a world leader in products and solutions to improve the quality of life for patients.

CareTouch has always been about combining technology with personal patient care. We use our IVR (interactive voice response) technology and the Web to reach out to patients on behalf of Home Medical Equipment (HME) providers. But, the real quality of care aspect comes from combining personal, human contact with the best technology. Our goal is to ensure that the people we reach out to have the equipment and supplies they need to remain on whatever therapy they’re on. That can be CPAP therapy, diabetic therapy, or maintaining supplies needed for other conditions like incontinence.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, in order to create a true connection with the person on the other end of the phone, we have to always remember that the customer is king. Everything we do revolves around that mission, and combining technology with our interactions with people – no matter what their age – is the way that we gain efficiencies for HME providers.

Why are quality patient interactions important? Simple. People who are on therapy for sleep apnea, diabetes or other conditions must remain vigilant to their therapy in order to remain healthy. If a piece of equipment isn’t working properly or supplies are running low, patients are in danger of not remaining compliant with their therapy. Maximizing state-of-the-art technology – like an IVR that sounds human and always lets you get to a live person – enables patients to feel cared for and keeps them compliant. This is critical for the HME provider’s resupply program as well, since 78% of providers say that they’ve used technology to increase compliance rates, as a recent HME News article points out.

So, while technology and the elderly might not always go together, there is a way to make the two work in harmony so as to benefit people’s lives. Simply stated, even though peas and guacamole are very different, they’re both green!

Matthew Dolph is CEO for 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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ResMed Acquires CareTouch

ResMed Acquires CareTouch, a Leader in Resupply Solutions for the Home Medical Equipment Industry

SAN DIEGO, July 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — ResMed (NYSE: RMD) today announced it has acquired CareTouch, a provider of internet-based solutions and therapy-focused resupply programs for home medical equipment providers (HMEs). CareTouch enables healthcare providers to efficiently provide patients the personal attention, equipment and supplies they need to maintain therapy without interruption.

“With this acquisition, ResMed is further helping HMEs streamline communications with their patients about ongoing therapy needs,” said Raj Sodhi, president of ResMed’s Healthcare Informatics Global Business Unit. “Because the CareTouch portal offers personalized and targeted communications between HMEs and patients, they are able to easily stay in touch with, build, and manage their patient populations with customized therapy-focused outreach.”

Personalization and Efficiency

The CareTouch 360™ portal enriches the patient-provider relationship by:

  • Managing and monitoring their patient populations in one easy-to-use solution
  • Providing live, multi-lingual call center contact with patients via their preferred mode of communication
  • Checking therapy adherence, taking orders, handling payments or collections, and providing customized reports.
  • Enabling HMEs to customize patient engagement protocols for both automated and live call center outreach

“We are thrilled to join forces with ResMed, a global powerhouse in data-connected solutions for HMEs serving patients with sleep apnea and other related respiratory conditions,” said CareTouch chief executive officer Matthew Dolph. “Our team is excited to start a new chapter as part of ResMed. Together, we will offer more complete and valuable solutions for HME providers and their patients.”

As part of the acquisition, CareTouch will be rebranded ResMed ReSupply. CareTouch employees, including chief executive officerMatthew Dolph, have joined ResMed’s commercial team in the Americas.

Ongoing Support
CareTouch will continue to support its existing products through its client service associates team, available toll free at (888) 333-1456, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Standard Time.

About CareTouch
Headquartered in Westminster, Colorado, CareTouch was founded in 2003 and has connected with more than eight million patients on behalf of its HME client base.

About ResMed
The global team at ResMed (NYSE: RMD) is united in their commitment to changing lives with every breath.  With more than 4,000 employees and a presence in over 100 countries, the company has been pioneering new and innovative devices and treatments for sleep-disordered breathing, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other key chronic diseases for more than 25 years. ResMed’s world-leading products and innovative solutions improve the quality of life for millions of patients worldwide, reduce the impact of chronic disease, and save healthcare costs. For more information about ResMed and its businesses, visit www.resmed.com or follow @resmed on Twitter.

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Customer is King

 

Customer KingWhen people ask me what CareTouch does, my standard response is that we reach out to patients on behalf of Home Medical Equipment (HME) providers to ensure that they have the equipment and supplies they need to stay healthy. That’s our business model in a nutshell, but what people don’t often recognize is the behind-the-scenes activity that makes our outreach second to none.

Our customer service representatives are the reason that CareTouch is so successful, and we’re always looking for ways to improve the patient’s experience when they are on the phone with us. Recently, I came across a blog on ServiceSkills.com about the ten best customer service techniques.

The one that really stood out to me was: PRETEND IT’S YOU

The article went on to say that:

If you’re working with a customer, either on the phone or in person, and they need something, pretend it’s you. What would you want to have happen? What would make you happy? What would make you satisfied? Here’s a great place to remember the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Several months ago we were wrestling with some of the same questions. We wanted to know how we could improve the patient’s experience when we were on the phone with them. The question that kept coming up in my mind was – how would I want our customer service team to handle things if they were on the phone with my own mother?

One of the ways we bring value to our HME providers is by increasing their outreach exponentially. HME providers don’t often have the time or the resources to maintain regular, consistent contact with their patients. This can lead to patient dissatisfaction, non-compliance with their therapy, and poor health. But, exponential outreach means nothing if you don’t make that patient happy.

We were discovering that many times when we were on the phone with patients, they had questions for the provider. Oftentimes, we had to document the question and send it over to the HME for future follow-up. Now, if my own mother had a question about her CPAP equipment or supplies, I’d want her to get an answer right away – not wait until the chain of communication had reached the right person.

So, we changed things up at CareTouch. Now, when a patient has a question that goes beyond placing an order for equipment or supplies, we take it all the way through the process. We contact the HME provider immediately, get the question answered, and relay that answer to the patient. If my mother was on the other end of the phone, I know she’d be happy with that kind of service. So would I.

That’s why so many HME providers trust us to call patients on their behalf. We treat them just like we would like to be treated. And, isn’t that what great customer service is all about?

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Matthew Dolph is CEO for 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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Extending Hope to the Community

 

IMG_0172In 2014, CareTouch started an employee-led outreach group called CareTouch in the Community. As a company, our vision is to foster a culture of compassionate communicators who partner with Home Medical Equipment providers to improve people’s health. What better way to show our compassion for people’s health than getting out in our own community!

This past weekend, the entire CareTouch team woke up early on a Sunday morning to participate in the Leaves of Hope Run/Walk and Cancer Survivors Celebration in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. The event was put on by Cancer Centers of Colorado at Lutheran Medical Center and the Lutheran Medical Center Foundation. So many of us have been touched by cancer, and we felt that it would be a great way to show our support for people who have survived cancer, and those who are currently battling it. Over 1,000 cancer survivors, families, physicians, staff and neighbors came out for the event.

After weeks of rain, and recent tornadoes and hail storms in the area, we woke up to a beautiful blue sky and a nice cool breeze. Donning our blue CareTouch in the Community shirts, and accompanied by friends, family members, a couple of dogs, and a few strollers, we approached the starting line as a group. Along the way we saw hundreds of other participants, each with their own stories of personal cancer survival, or stories of the battles their friends and family members had won.

I saw one older woman who was walking in-between two gentlemen, who looked to be her son and her husband. They were constantly cheering her on as she fought to complete her first 5K, and I’m happy to report that she did!

I heard some folks asking my teammates what the CareTouch in the Community shirts were all about and it made me proud to be part of this company. How many companies do you know that walk their talk? We did it this past weekend – literally. I believe that the experience will continue to be a reminder of our true mission as we work to master our outreach efforts – this time, to the patients of the Home Medical Equipment providers we serve.

Check out the YOUTUBE VIDEO of our great day!

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 two years. In her spare time, she leads marketing workshops and teaches yoga. She and her husband have two grown children and they enjoy living in Colorado.

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Maximizing Your Value with Just the Right Mix

 

In the 21st century workplace, you’ll find a healthy mix of Millennials, Gen X’ers, Baby Boomers and Veterans/Traditionalists. One company, regardless of size, can employ all four generations, which begs the question: How can you make your business work seamlessly with all of these different age groups and working styles?

I came across an Inc. article  recently that addressed this very issue in a fresh way that I hadn’t seen before, promoting the concept of co-mentoring. It’s brilliant because each age group brings a unique perspective on the way the world works, the use of technology, how we communicate, and how we approach business.

Each generation has a set of common characteristics, so we can use our understanding of those characteristics to build a better, more cohesive workplace that learns from one another. I dug a little deeper into this concept, as CareTouch employs at least 3 of the 4 generations, and found some interesting traits emerge.

First, consider the Millennial, or Generation Y (those people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s). Gen Y is the newest generation to enter into the workforce. They grew up in a multi-cultural world, enabling them to work well on teams with diverse co-workers. Here is an abbreviated list of Gen Y characteristics I found:

  • Group socialization, comfortable working on teams
  • Wants to make friends with people at work
  • Communicates in snippets (IM, text, Facebook, email)
  • Technologically savvy
  • Needs constant feedback and in particular, praise
  • Figures out the best, fastest way to complete a task and then considers themselves done

Generation X includes people who were born between 1965 and 1980. This generation grew up in the era of emerging technology – where mimeograph machines turned into high-speed copiers, bulky  adding machines were replaced by handheld calculators, and computers the size of entire buildings were turned into one that sat on your desk. Some of the characteristics of Gen X workers include caring more about their productivity than the number of hours spent on the job, and:

  • Being adaptable and independent
  • Striving for high-quality as the end result
  • Seeing themselves as a marketable commodity
  • Technically competent
  • Want to achieve a balance between work and life

Baby Boomers comprise the third generation set (people who were born between 1946 and 1964), and still includes roughly 41% of the U.S. workforce. They embrace the value of having to sacrifice to get ahead. Some of their characteristics include:

  • Prefer face-to-face communication
  • Value inclusive leadership
  • Job status is important; as is recognition with a wide public profile
  • Team oriented
  • Always learning

Getting back to the Inc. article on the co-mentoring concept, I started to put together the pieces of my own team and how they fit into these categories. More importantly, I began to consider how we are already on the path towards working in a co-mentoring mode. The significance of this is to be able to benefit the company as a whole by merging the positive values of each generation. For example:

  • Baby Boomers can teach Millennials the value of face-to-face communication.
  • Gen X’ers can mentor Baby Boomers on ways to increase productivity through technology.
  • Millennials can show Gen X’ers how to utilize team building and socializing for the benefit of productivity.

By utilizing the strengths that each of these generational dynamics offers, companies can maximize their value to their customers by becoming a provider that understands how to make things work together for the greater good.

Matthew Dolph is CEO for 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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CareTouch is a Friend Sponsor of the 2015 Leaves of Hope Run/Walk

 

LOH 2015 logoCareTouch Communications, Inc. announced today that they are a Friend Sponsor of Cancer Centers of Colorado at Lutheran Medical Center’s Leaves of Hope run/walk. The race will take place on National Cancer Survivors Day, June 7. This is the largest National Cancer Survivors Day event in Jefferson County, where people gather to show that there is life after a cancer diagnosis, and it’s something to celebrate.

The company’s employee-driven outreach program, CareTouch in the Community, was formed last year, and selects causes the employees are passionate about, providing hands-on support. CareTouch in the Community’s mission is to help people in and around the community improve their health. The CareTouch in the Community team will include employees, their family members, and friends.

“We’re excited about our second CareTouch in the Community event and look forward to coming together as a team to support cancer survivors in our community,” commented Matthew Dolph, CEO of CareTouch.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to support the CareTouch in the Community team, please visit the CareTouch in the Community information page.

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CareTouch in the Community to Participate in Leaves of Hope

Runners

CareTouch in the Community supports the health of people where we live and work. It is the heartfelt passions of our own employees that brought this program to life.

We are excited to announce that on June 7, the CareTouch staff will participate in The Leaves of Hope Run/Walk, to celebrate cancer survivors and support those who are currently battling cancer.

If you’d like to join us for the run/walk or support Exampla Lutheran Medical Center Foundation financially, learn more by visiting our CareTouch in the Community Page.

Thank you!

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Proactive Outreach in an Emergency

 

Spring has sprung at our headquarters in Colorado, but we know that the weather isn’t always sunshine and roses! You’ve likely seen the latest news stories showing pictures of ominous tornadoes, torrential rainstorms resulting in sink holes, and other natural events that could leave your patients without the critical supplies they need. That’s where CareTouch comes in!

We’ve workred with numerous Home Medical Equipment providers to implement emergency outreach programs in order to connect with people fast. One of our recent outreach efforts came when an HME provider wanted to warn their customers of an impending northeastern blizzard. The goal was to reach patients in advance of the storm to identify their need for oxygen supplies, as well as to educate them about which tanks to use first.

CareTouch quickly put a call program together and reached out to about 800 people to identify their need for oxygen. The call included best practices content, incorporating information on which tanks to use first in the event of a power outage. This information was critical to their customers since some of them didn’t even know the storm was coming.

This level of preparation is critical to people who rely on supplies to remain healthy. The CareTouch360 platform makes it easy to quickly create call flows based on your unique situation. Imagine reaching all of your patients in as little as 24 hours to make sure they have what they need in an emergency.

If an emergency hit your region, could you reach your patients fast? We’d be happy to speak with you about how we can help you reach out to your customers on a regular basis, and be on call for when an emergency arises. Schedule a demo with us today.

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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 over 6 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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Mastering the Balancing Act

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An article written by Matthew Dolph, CEO of CareTouch, was recently featured in HME Business magazine. It speaks about how HMEs can seamlessly master the balancing act of reaching out to their patient populations in a caring, compassionate manner, while automating tasks and saving money.

Read the full article here:

Provider Strategy: Mastering the Balancing Act

 

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