Focused on a fully integrated tech enabled caregiver support platform to help working caregivers and families plan for and manage the care of their parents and their loved ones
Thanks for tuning in to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring health leaders. I want to personally invite you to our first inaugural Healthcare Thinkathon. It’s a conference that the Outcomes Rocket and the IU Center for Health Innovation and Implementation Sciences has teamed up on. We’re going to put together silo crushing practices just like we do here on the podcast except it’s going to be live with inspiring keynotes and panelists to set the tone we’re conducting a meeting where you can be part of drafting the blueprint for the future of healthcare. That’s right. You could be a founding member of this group of talented industry and practitioner leaders. Join me and 200 other inspiring health leaders for the first Inaugural Healthcare Thinkathon. It’s an event that you’re not going to want to miss. And since there’s only 200 tickets available you’re gonna want to act soon. So how do you learn more. Just go to outcomesrocket.health/conference. For more details on how to attend that’s outcomesrocket.health/conference and you’ll be able to get all the info that you need on this amazing health care thinkathon that’s outcomesrocket.health/conference.
: Welcome back once again to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring health leaders. I really thank you for tuning in again and I welcome you to go to outcomesrocket.health/reviews where you could rate in review today’s podcast guest because he is an outstanding contributor to Health Care a good friend. His name is Michael Walsh. Michael is the CEO of a very interesting company. It’s called Cariloop and at Cariloop they’re actually focused on a fully integrated tech enabled caregiver support platform to help working caregivers and families plan for and manage the care of their parents and their loved ones. I recently sent out an e-mail to the list about how big of a problem this is and I find it very interesting that Michael is very focused on this space and he’s based out of Texas. He’s doing some pretty amazing things they’ve been able to successfully raise over three point seven million dollars in private investment capital which has given them the opportunity to really scale recruit and do some amazing things. They’re working with over 30 employers spanning a 100000 employee lives. He’s been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine tax change Dallas Business Journal the guys doing some pretty amazing things. And so what I want to do is just open up the microphone to Michael to round out that introduction and welcome to the podcast. Michael welcome.
: Thank you sir. Great to be here thanks for having me.
: It’s a pleasure my friend. And so is there anything that I missed in that intro that you want to share with the listeners.
: We’ve only got 25 minutes so I don’t want to bore the group. No think you did a good job it’s been a lot of fun getting Carolee off the ground the last five six years. I mean before that I grew up in Chicago I’m from a big Irish Catholic family. I went to the University studied business and finance. I started my career in the management consulting space working with a lot of health care organizations and was actually my co-founder that came to me it was a good buddy of mine from when we were kids came to me with the original idea and him and I really worked pretty diligently for the first couple of years to kind of figure out what the right way to do this was. And ultimately it’s a longer story and maybe we’ll get into it here in a few minutes. But ultimately ended up in the Employee Benefit space and the health and wellness space working with caregivers and guiding them towards you know all the solutions they need to make sure that they as a family and the patient that they’re taking care of it’s towards that how about seeking. Oh yeah it’s a great space I’m just reading your email again and you’ve covered off on a lot of it so I’d love to dig in this more of that time.
: That’s awesome brother. Yeah absolutely. And the caregiver oftentimes goes unnoticed and the resources to help these folks need to be ramped up. You guys are definitely doing a very cool job. What is it that got you into the medical sector to begin with.
: Yeah. So it goes back to that management consulting point on my bio I mentioned so I remember the first couple projects I did I worked for a firm called protectee there in Chicago and first couple projects I’m on I think I was working like the manufacturing or financial services space and I’m learning a lot. But then I got staffed my first health care project for a hospital system from Chicago and was just completely fascinated with how dynamic the healthcare spaces. It’s one of the most complex systems in the world as we all talk about. I know it’s a bit of a hot button political issue but it just it is it’s so much more unique than manufacturing widgets. So how I specifically got into this whole space around caregiving was right around 0 9 10 when the Affordable Care Act was signed. A lot of my health care clients at the time started asking a lot of questions to me and my team about more effective discharge planning patient care ordination readmission rate reduction. I mean these were the buzzwords in 0 9 and 10 as the ACA got rolled out and right around the same time actually I had a bit of a personal experience with this in my own family where something happened with my grandfather on my mom’s side and for many years she was going back and forth between Chicago and Michigan and with my grandma taking care of my grandfather Well I mentioned I’m from a big Irish Catholic family. We’ve got a family business in Chicago my dad works 70 hours a week. So I kind of became the other parent for a while. So I wasn’t bedside with grandpa but I certainly felt the effects of it. So when my co-founder Steve dispelled who was working for a big publicly traded your living corporation at the time came to me with the initial idea. I’ll admit at first I wasn’t really keen on the idea of leaving my company and go in and jump into a startup. But the more I kind of ingrained myself and the the problem and the solutions that were trying to solve with the problem I was like This is just going to be huge this is just completely white space. It’s just a huge gap in healthcare. No one’s focusing on the caregivers everybody’s focused on the patient.
: That’s a little bit of the background of how we got here we’re barely scratching the surface. I mean we’ve been working on this for six seven years now and we’re really now finally addressing this as a national conversation around how do we support the caregivers.
: Michael thanks for sharing that story. And you felt the pain just like so many people around us listeners. You are probably dealing with this right now and if you’re not you probably have a friend or somebody close to you that is helping a loved one with a disease with a chronic illness. They need support and it’s a big problem today. The toll that we’re taking taking care of our loved ones and Michael’s focus is so keen on this. Obviously the hot topic is caregiving. Michael what would you say needs to be on the leaders minds as it relates to caregiving.
: Yeah that caregiving is a familial activity. So let me speak specifically to leaders of some of our nation’s largest employers and organizations. You don’t realize it unless you’ve gone through it. And I know you put this in your e-mail saw but like one out of every five folks in the labor force now as a caregiver about somewhere between 25 and 30 million people out of 125 to 130 million the labor force. So this is going on within the four walls of your office. You just may not realize it. And when this happens for these folks the average caregiver journey now is somewhere between three and five years. And the average caregiver and their family members are each spending somewhere between 10 and 20 hours a week trying to solve the puzzle. That’s a lot of hours. It is. It comes in waves and it’s not one of these where it might not be completely obvious to the naked eye that is happening. Your people may be showing up to work every day but they may be showing up and they’re at their desk all day Googling their way through this trying to figure out.
: I mean ragged right.
: Yeah how to do it. So the question around. You know speaking to leaders about this just my challenge to everybody is they create their benefit health and wellness strategies around their employees and the folks in their offices start paying attention to this. This is something that is starting to be talked about as a emotional and financial wellness issue and starting to creep into the physical wellness space as well. So what are they. You know we’re talking about this when you’re taking care of somebody else you stop taking care of yourself.
: So far less likely to go your annual physicals and get your vision and your dental work done and you’re probably not going to go home and grilled chicken and asparagus you’re going to grab it you know Chick fil A on the way to your mom’s house and you’re going to take your purchases. That’s what happened. So we’re thrilled that this is finally becoming more of a national conversation. I think there’s still a lot to be done to move the needle on this.
: Absolutely Michael and we could look at it as a big problem or we can look at it as an opportunity to be impactful. And so the puck is definitely going toward this. And so as an employer you want to be focused as Michael said on what you could do to support your employees wellness and also keep them productive at work because it is a financial emotional and physical thing that’s affecting our population here in the U.S.. Michael can you give the audience an understanding of what Kara loop does and then maybe an example of how the organization has improved outcomes.
: Yes. So when we talk about Cariloop we call it the world’s first human powered caregiver support platform. So what this means is is we’ve created a hipper compliant cloud based application that an individual in their family can use to securely communicate across all their devices. You know so instead of having these massive group text messages with your family where yes you’ve got all this information piled into it and you’re like you know imagine me on my phone like you know scrolling through scrolling through trying to find stuff it’s like none of us get everything into one place where it could be organized by conversation. Everybody can collaborate around a different topics for their loved one. All the files and documents are all past and back and forth. And so take your medical ways your durable ways your loved ones advanced directives their Ob’s their insurance cards their medication lists all the stuff that caregivers are having to manage like know they’ve got folders binders full of the stuff simply snap a photo on your phone upload it they only can access it anytime anywhere any time you walk into a doctor’s office or hospital. But the real magic of this awesome that we give you the family access to your own dedicated health care professional. That’s kind of a cousin of telemedicine if you will. All right. So these are full time w2 employees of Cariloop. Most oftentimes are going to be social workers nurses therapists certified care managers but we assign one of these folks to the family through the platform and they’re really going to serve the role of the year as the family is trying to solve the puzzle for hosting providers therapy rehab Medicare Medicaid long term care insurance medication management transportation resources legal questions all of these things that you’re trying to solve for that you’ve never done. The caregiver you have a dedicated point of contact who’s going to go on the journey with you. So that’s Cariloop.
: Michael that’s so cool and the fact that you’ve been the human touch a W-2 employee at Cariloop that’s assigned as a case manager. You know somebody to help with the care. Can you give an example to us about how exactly like give us a scenario like how does the family interact with this individual and a typical scenario that they may have.
: Yeah no problem. So normally what would happen is like to take my story for example there was there was a life event that we encountered where my grandfather had this aneurism and suddenly the families have this shift around to figure out how to do this. Yes well in that story if we had called Cariloop our team would have gotten us all into the platform. Take just a couple of minutes to get a case set up get everybody invited in. Everybody registers their account Creed’s password comes on in the coach gets a sign in one of the first things the health care coach is going to say is like hey I’m reading the notes on the case here. I’d love to schedule a video conference where we can all white out exactly what’s going on. So all of us really understand the various facets that are going to drive this process the health of radical and still illegal. So from there then everybody has their marching orders. Health care coach has what they are going to do. The family has what they’re going to do. And from this point forward most of the interaction tends to be through the application that it’s really easy to text back and forth. But at any point if you need email call text or videoconference with your coach he can schedule it. We actually can record those video sessions and post them back in the portal so you can watch them later. But having that humans really like from the very beginning of this say OK we hear you take the breath. Here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s how we’re going to do it. That first piece of a caregiver journey tends to be it can be our stressful right of just figuring it out now. So if we can eliminate all that and send you down a path where you actually drive towards that successful outcome for your loved one and save you all the time and money in the process from that point on it becomes a lot of maintenance. Usually what happens is there is this return to life moment we call it where everything’s fine. We’ve solved it but inevitably with health care especially when you’re talking about elder care something might happen again. Three days three weeks three months later and it’s just as simple now as hopping back into the app posting a message to your coach. You know you pick right back up real. Very cool superpower having a health care professional there.
: It’s super powerful. So you go on there you go from frantic to centered because you have somebody there a concierge who used the word I like that to help guide you and the family. You could you know record the sessions get everybody caught up and everybody organized. And so that’s pretty awesome. Thanks for walking us through that.
: Yeah definitely.
: Now Michael there’s probably you know there’s so there’s there’s that various facets to this right I mean there’s there’s the people that care for family that had an incident such as heart attack. They just got out of the hospital. How about for that long term care person. That’s you know less acute but more so needs things like medication adherents getting them to the doctor et cetera.
: Yes as far as just strategies for these caregivers it it’s not a serious issue like they’ve been diagnosed with cancer or Alzheimer’s or illness. Sometimes it’s just as simple as that. Like my loved one has had some sort of life of that and it’s not one of these where there without being insensitive they’re not on their deathbed they’re not going to rally end of life care but it’s something that they are recovering from. And I am having to spend my time a lot of these questions that we get are more around the right strategies are more social determinants of health. How do we get through this without having to spend significant amounts of time and money. So something as simple as like finding a Meals on Wheels program or a lot of character you have to realize that Amazon delivers food so that you don’t have to do it every day or from a mobility standpoint instead of you having to leave work to take your loved one to the doctor every week. You realize that Lyft has a fantastic program that does this that you can use a lot of these resources that we’ve curated you know it’s great able. It’s just these little things that can really save people a lot of time money and stress. So that’s a very applicable to what shocking about self-torture.
: That’s so great and you just go in there. He had the opportunity to see what else is out there that maybe you and your family didn’t know about. Now listeners if you’re dealing with something right now doesn’t this sound awesome for me. I just. Michael I was I was working with my grandfather. He got a pacemaker. And yet the family was working hard to take care of him figuring out how to do things like this thing would have been a godsend.
: Just to have that person solved that you can tap on a lot of our members. It’s less even about what you’re talking about where it’s I need options for resources. Sometimes they just want to talk to their coach to sanity check. I can. This is what we’re doing. Does this sound right. Just having that health care professional to bounce off of that you can just shoot a quick hedge on your iPhone or Android device too and they can be responsive to you within the hour about what you’re doing. Sleep better night.
: Totally man. And you know it takes me back several months ago we had an interview at SPAC compassion and the fact that you’re not alone sometimes you feel alone and you know we had this interesting interview couple of months ago Michael Ware the guy from health tuna’s was talking about if you’re sad you actually feel better when you listen to sad music and what happens is you feel like you’re not alone. Yeah. And so in the same way Cariloop provides a coach where you are not alone and you’re not alone. And there’s so many people out there like going through what you’re going through but it’s just that check. Like Michael said that you’re not alone. And I think that in itself is a wonderful thing to experience when you’re in a tough spot taking care of your loved one.
: Yep. Well said.
: Michael tell us a time when you made a mistake. Failed had a setback what you learned from that.
: So this question I’ve been sitting here thinking about this. I feel like I fail every day like you know that’s a good thing because every failure is an opportunity to learn. But a man think a fun story to share on the Carolynn journey here was actually how we started and how we started with a product that is nowhere near close to what it is today I think are very similar but when we first got into this space we actually had designed a product with a user experience that instead of getting you with human it was completely technology based and what it did was it took an assessment that gave questions to the caregiver to answer and it would match them with the right types of resources that they needed. And what we found with that first product was that people that are going through this as caregivers a lot of the questions that we were asking them they didn’t know the answer, Sayl. they had no idea. And they did to us these weren’t hard questions like the same questions that we’re asking now but with the human there to really explain and clarify the impact to the overall story. It’s much different but we design experience such that you would answer these questions as the caregiver. We would match you up with the right resources and show you these resources allow you to connect with them. But what we took away from this the first 90 days and we were seeing that a lot of these caregivers were dropping off of our system because they didn’t know the answers. The devil was really in the details here because if you looked at the data and analytics this was how we discovered the path that we really needed to follow. And we discovered that most of the people coming to our website were coming Monday through Thursday between the hours of 10am and 2pm. So this is what really opened our minds that is how these people are at work. So how do we account for the fact that they have a problem but they really would benefit from talking to somebody during the work hours so that they don’t have to spend all the time doing this. So that’s really what allowed us to pivot and change the acts of terror to what it is today and that’s a fun failure story like it was not so fun at the time. Never fun to have to go back and tell your seed investors that you’ve got some things wrong. That’s right. Very proud of the team that we’ve put together and the experience we created for caregivers as a result of those early learnings.
: Michael that’s outstanding. Thank you for sharing that and kudos to you and your team for actually make having the insights and not missing those signs. You know it’s so easy to fall in love with your technology and ignore the problem and the solution can actually be providing them. So what would you say to date is one of the proudest medical leadership experiences that you’ve had.
: I kind of just hinted at it. The biggest thing I’m proud of. I mean we’ve we’ve done some really cool things all last few years. But I got to tell you man just watching this team that we’ve built. Yes most of the folks on our team have had a personal caregiving experience as well. So there’s naturally a lot of passion and empathy anyway in the group for solving this for others. But I’m just so damn proud of the team we put together the work they’re doing. How tied to the mission they are I’m constantly finding myself amazed weekly it’s something I’m hearing from them and what they’re getting to do and how they’re helping these families and just how selflessly they’re doing it. So I couldn’t be more excited and proud of what they’re doing and really really pumped up for the future of the company with leaders like we have.
: That’s awesome. So a shout out goes out to the Karen Lewis Family. Keep doing what you’re doing. Michael so proud of you and listeners. Check these folks out. You know definitely an option that you want to check out especially employers right. This is an employer resource that would fall within that wellness category that is beginning to be more and more important as we evolve in healthcare. Michael really I think I’d love to just for a minute talk to the listeners about who buys this and how does it use. Give us a little context around that. Because I feel like right now some of the listeners may be thinking we’ll have. I could purchase this myself. Or should the employer purchase it for their employees. Can you walk us through the model.
: Yeah. So it’s actually both. So if you go to cariloop.com ninety nine percent of what you’re going to see is about more of a B2B focus it’s about employers and organizations and that’s really the last three years that’s been our focus so back to the pivot we made in 2014 and 2015 really ever said that that’s been the focus of our efforts be to be going to employers and organizations. But that being said to your question if there are folks out there that are thinking well yeah I’m going to do this now. I’d love to take a look at this. We do have an individual program as well. We don’t consider it to be very expensive. You can call us up the numbers on the Web site or send us a note if you want to get started. It only costs 300 dollars for a six month membership.
: Yes so if you’re going to go higher out of a geriatric care manager or a coach of some sort on your own individually you’d probably be paying depending geographically where you’re located somewhere between maybe 75 and 50 dollars an hour. So you can sign up with Cariloop use the technology you have the health care coach as much as you want as often as you want for six months three or above.
: That’s amazing. So for 300 bucks they get access to the platform the coach everything.
: Yeah exactly. I mean so the individual program was really born out of. We were hearing from people that had heard about it from an employee who was on our program. Gotcha. So that word of mouth started to creep out when we were starting to create these great experiences and these caregivers you know they talk with somebody at church or at the gym or wherever. When we started getting phone calls from families that weren’t part of the employers that wanted to use it. So we really had to just put a statement ground and said OK we’ll we’ll do this. I will say I do expect the price over the course of time to come up a bit because we’re seeing that there’s just so much value in this young man for 50 100 whatever it is and that being a mum to be able to have as much as you need is opportunity whether they need it. There’s real value in that. There’s no power that.
: So very cool cool.
: But if you use it.
: Hey you know we talked several months ago almost a year ago Michael and at that point you didn’t have that I wasn’t aware that you had this individual resource now and it makes a lot of sense listeners. This is a no brainer for 300 bucks to be able to help you and your family or even a friend. Right. Tell a friend. Share this episode with a friend that’s going through this right now. And just to clarify the website is cariloop.com and we’ll also have that in the show notes for you to go back and share it with people that need it because this resource is something that will help big time. And as we called out in that message to the listeners earlier the facts are the facts. We’re gonna see life expectancy increase caregiver demands are going to continue to increase resources time and money are going to be invested in this space because it’s a necessity. So Michael and his team are doing it efficiently. So I encourage you all to knock down the silo and share this resource with others. Michael let’s pretend that you and I are building a leadership course on what it takes to be successful in medicine. It’s the 101 of Michael Walsh. So we’ve got to we’re going to build a syllabus. I’ve got four questions lightning round style and then we’re going to follow it with a book and a podcast that you recommend to the listeners. You ready. Let’s do it. Awesome. What’s the best way to improve health care outcomes.
: So me designing systems and processes that allow for collaboration sharing it’s too siloed as you just mentioned. You’ve got to be able to share data across systems and have processes in place that people actually work together for not just the patient caregivers as well.
: What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.
: Not paying attention to what happens once the patients. So quick story here I mean I in my biodome if you mention this and I’m also a certified personal trainer and it’s a big mistake to sit down with a new client and you can assess them and you can put together a workout plan. But if you’re not actually sitting down and talking about what they’re eating or consuming when they walk out of here what are their family members habits are the family members supportive of their efforts to do X Y or Z Mirjam whatever it is you’re completely missing the point. So not paying attention to what happens once patients and families leave. That’s the big mistake to avoid it.
: How do you stay relevant. Despite all the change.
: Create easy experiences not just for these patients and families but for the people that work within your organization. You can create an environment where people love to do their jobs because you’ve made it easy for them to do their jobs. They’re going to do a better job they’re going to create a better experience for the patient’s families or customers make things easy.
: Love it. What’s the area of focus that should drive everything and a health company.
: Bringing together amazing people. I said it before and I know that’s hard. I know everybody talks about that like you know the goal is to bring together great people. But to me if you really understand and this is where I think a lot of healthcare organizations fall short is they don’t lay forgotten why they do this. Health care is a business. Yes but we’re all in this to help people so really understanding why you do it. And then really screening people to make sure that that lines up for them with whatever it is that your organization stands for. So bring together amazing people they’ll do amazing work for you and that will translate into great things.
: It’s a great recommendation. And Michael just to zoom in on that a little bit what is your preferred method of screening.
: Same thing. We don’t have enough time for it. But one of the very first things we do when we’re interviewing people we happen to a core value assessment and we see how closely those things line up individually with what they believe to be read core values for an organization they work for. So we know ours. Every person our team knows there are core values that Cariloop for service empathy innovation integrity. So by putting them through this assessment we can gauge how closely they line up with those. But then it’s just getting to know everybody in the team and really understanding their personal story and why they think it might be good for them it becomes easier to staff those things out.
: Beautiful. What’s your favorite book and podcast that you recommend on the syllabus.
: So I’ll admit. You know what you’ll find is kind of funny given that we’re on a podcast and that I also had a podcast. I think you know that I’m a visual learner and a kinesthetic learner so you know as much as I do enjoy listening to podcasts I’m a bit embarrassed or repotting and I’m more of a reader. I’m more of a I like to visualize it I like to make notes and that’s really how I learn. So two of my favorite books that I always love to share. Delivering Happiness by Tony Shea says Zappos. You know they sold to Amazon a couple of years ago. But Tony’s story is a really great one and he talks about building culture and focusing on core values. Great story. But the second book is a book that my co-founder is actually the one who gave me this book years and years ago and I probably read it now like five times. But the outcome is really off.
: Yeah man it’s so good. Oh it’s my wife just read it again too. It is unbelievable.
: It’s a book that you could read and reread and every time you read it depending on where you’re at in your life you get something that’s so true that it’s so true. So I love that I can’t remember the exact verbiage of the quote but like when you want something bad enough to the whole universe conspires like it’s so true. I just got goosebumps. Brother It’s I love that quote. So yeah the optimist.
: That’s it’s awesome man that’s such great recommendations listeners if you’re running if you’re driving at. Don’t worry about writing it down. Just go to outcomesrockethealth/cariloop. You’re going to see links to the books. A transcript of our discussion the show notes as well as links to the company where you could sign up to take care of your loved ones and take care of yourself because that’s what Cariloop helps you do. Michael this has been so much fun. I’m so glad that you took the time out of your busy schedule to spend time with us if you can just leave us with a closing thought and then the best place where the listeners can get in touch or follow you.
: Closing thought we’ve got a saying it rarely happened and I even talked about it a little bit here that no one should ever have to go through the process of caring for a loved one alone. That’s really why we’re here with Cariloop on the family’s side. They shouldn’t have to. So really think about this when you’re going down this path. We want to make sure people are trying to figure this stuff out by themselves up over here or desperate to get a hold of me and connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter or so will you put my contact information on the show. Absolutely. That’s we’ll make sure that if you click on the link and Saul’s page here you can get a whole new ball as well.
: Wonderful. Michael again just a big thanks to you and to what you and your team are doing. And a call out to employers that are wanting to make an impact on their employees wellness. Take a look at the things that are here. And then also the individuals that want to help their families. Take a look at what Michael and his team are up to. You’re not going to want to miss it again just a big thanks to you Michael super glad you were on the podcast.
: Thanks for having me.
Thanks for tuning into the outcomes rocket podcast if you want the show notes, inspiration, transcripts and everything that we talked about on this episode. Just go to outcomesrocket.health. And again don’t forget to check out the amazing Healthcare Thinkathon where we could get together took form the blueprint for the future of healthcare. You can find more information on that and how to get involved in our theme which is implementation is innovation. Just go to outcomesrocket.health/conference that’s outcomesrocket.health/conference be one of the 200 that will participate. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Best Way to Contact Michael:
Linkedin – Michael Walsh
Twitter – @WalshMichaelR