Updated: Jan 4
On many occasions, we at Home Care Technology Report have called home healthcare agencies or hospices to ask a question or request an interview. If we inadvertently call after 5:00 in the organization's time zone, we get an operator at an answering service. More often than not, the person reveals by his or her comments that he or she answers phones for many different businesses and knows little or nothing about any of them, other than how to reach someone in an emergency...sometimes. The experience has often made us wonder what happens when a patient, patient's family member, or physician calls before or after business hours. Would it not be better, even safer, to forward all calls to a person familiar with the business and knowledgeable about how to properly respond?
Paul Lieberman had the same question. He created CuraCall to fill a need that he first encountered while serving as Senior Vice President of Business Development for American Medical Alert Corporation, more commonly known as AMAC, prior to its acquisition by Tunstall Americas. After leaving Tunstall, Lieberman continued to ponder the problem, eventually coming up with a solution and building it into more than a simple home care answering service. CuraCall is best described today as a home care agency communication service.
Some of the systems capabilities we experienced in a recent product demonstration include:
Taking over an agency's phone answering, not only after hours but also during overload periods, weather emergencies, staff meetings, and other times as needed, 24/7.
Receiving employees calls about the need for shift changes -- calling out sick, cancelling for a doctor appointment, etc. -- and forwarding them to the correct person.
Clinician-to-clinician messaging, such as communications between an on-call nurse and a full-time nurse.
Multi-lingual answering service capabilities include Spanish and Russian by CuraCall staff, others by contract.
Remote receptionist service: a cost-effective alternative to hiring a full-time receptionist.
A secure, HIPAA-compliant mobile app incorporates smart phones into the intra-staff communication system. Should the employee's phone be lost or stolen, the app, which provides access to the agency's communications, can be remotely wiped from the phone.
CuraCall also offers two unique products we have not seen in other answering services. One is a complaint management system that tracks customer feedback, issues alerts to the appropriate person, and produces periodic management reports. The other is a disaster recovery service that automatically takes over phone answering should the agency's building and/or telephone system be rendered unusable due to a weather event, a fire, or another disaster.
Founder Paul Lieberman told us he has been receiving an increasing number of calls from smaller agencies that cannot afford in-house answering support. Some appreciate the ability to have their phones answered professionally during the day, asking for 24/7 services. Most inquire only about after hours coverage.
Other home care segments CuraCall can also be used by Home Medical Equipment companies to enhance their order entry systems. A proprietary scripting system enables CuraCall's Patient Care Representatives to support customer profitability with built-in upsell/cross-sell opportunities. The system also ensures correct information has been collected and entered for fulfillment.
Lieberman explained that CuraCall's customized scripting utilizes a bi-directional feed in real-time. The result is quicker patient interactions, which reduces phone time and costs. The component they call CuraCall CRM, which creates a standardized record of every conversation and documents necessary follow-up, can be integrated with Home Health, Hospice, Infusion, DME, and Long Term Care EMR software. Many administrative tasks can be more readily completed in the field.
Is it safe? Lastly, Lieberman emphasized the measures he has taken to protect his customers and their patient data. Each CuraCall facility is HIPAA compliant. The entire building and each individual floor has key card access with audit tracking, 24/7/365 manned security, and video monitoring.
©2015 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Tim Rowan's Home Care Technology Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. firstname.lastname@example.org