CareTouch Patient Outreach FAQ
Q. What kind of information about my patient population will I be able to gather from these services?
A. We can collect virtually any information that you want us to collect, but at a minimum, you will know who is still on therapy and who is off, patient satisfaction level, and who ordered supplies. We also provide some overall ‘metrics’ with your monthly and quarterly reports such as total patients in active group, total completed calls, % inbound/outbound calls, total patients who ordered, total supply kits and individual supplies ordered.
Q. Can I change the questions that are asked on the calls to my patients?
A. Yes. Everything is customizable for you.
Q. How am I notified if a patient is unhappy or having trouble with therapy?
A. We generate an alert if patient satisfaction is low. That alert can be delivered immediately via email or you can log in to your CareTouch360 account to review all open alerts. Also, any question that we ask can be paired with an alert if you so desire.
Q. I am afraid that automated phone calls will offend my patients won’t it send the message that we are too busy or don’t care?
A. Actually, our experience is the opposite. Most patients appreciate the efficiency with which the calls happen especially if we have to leave a message for call back. When patients call into CareTouch360, they never have to wait on hold and can easily complete their business and move on. Patients generally appreciate the fact that you are staying in touch with them. If they want or need to speak with a live person, we immediately transfer to our live call center, but most patients just interact with the automated system. We find that the combination of an automated system for routine communications backed up with a live, professional staff is the best of both worlds.
Q. How will I know if this is working?
A. Besides the weekly reports we provide, our recommendation is to have your finance person provide you with a monthly CPAP supply billing report. You will see a nice increase month over month.
Q. What day(s) and time of day do you call my patients?
A. The call schedule is completely configurable, even for each individual patient, but we have found that the best approach is to call your patients on a specific day of the week. This allows both of us to get into a predictable routine of reaching out to patients and responding to their requests. Calls start around 10am and end around 7pm in the Patient’s time zone.
Q. What’s the catch???
A. There is actually no catch. We just believe that helping you reach your business goals is the best way for us to reach our business goals. We’re in this together.
Q. How does Medicare view this in regard to solicitation?
A. Medicare requires the HME to contact the patient before supplies are provided. It can be by mail or phone, but you must contact the patient before shipping supplies. Where Medicare has problems with solicitation is when the patient being contacted is not a patient of the contacting HME, but rather someone else’s patient.
If an HME has not interacted with any given patient within the last 15 months, Medicare assumes they are being serviced by someone else and does not want the original HME to solicit supply orders. The original HME can, however contact the patient and ask clinical questions such as Are you still on therapy? How satisfied are you with your therapy? Are you having any problems? Are you currently getting supplies from another HME provider? Remember, this is only an issue if the patient has received zero contact for greater than 18 months.
Q. If the Sleep Lab or Doctor wishes to view the CareTouch patient record; will they be granted access to their referred patients?
A. We have built the underlying architecture to make this type of data sharing happen, and have lab and physician access in the development pipeline. Right now, however, this is not a feature we offer. Ultimately, we will have access profiles for Sleep Labs, Physicians, and Patients. However, if you have a specific instance and would like us to create a report for a referring physician, just let us know and we’ll take care of it.
Q. Is the telephone call between Faith and the patient recorded and stored for at least a minimum amount of time so they DME may listen if necessary?
A. Patient responses are stored as text, permanently, unless we are asked to purge the records. We do not store as audio files.
Q. Are you looking into a supply fulfillment service from CareTouch?
A. No. But we are working toward very close integration with current fulfillment providers in the market.
Q. When logged in to CareTouch360 and reviewing alerts, can the DME make notes into the patient record?
A. Yes. As part of the alert process, we build a workflow for HME staff. They can mark alerts as resolved and make patient notes.
Q. When Faith contacts a patient, what shows up on caller ID?
A. ‘CareTouch.’ And yes, many patients say “who the heck is that” and let it roll to voice mail. Then they hear the message and call us back. Call screening is not a problem for us because we don’t count on reaching the patient on an outbound call like a live call center needs to.
Q. How do you ensure HIPAA compliance?
A. First of all, we sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with each of our clients so that information can be safely shared from the client to us while maintaining HIPAA compliance. Also, each patient must provide a Member Number (telephone number) and PIN (4-digit year of birth) in order to ‘log in’ and access the system. This ensures that only the patient has access to Protected Health Information (PHI). Both of these numbers are easy for patients to remember, but also have a high enough level of security so as to prevent unwanted sharing of PHI.