Improving Physician Wellness with Jay Drayer, Founder and CEO at CareFlash

Jay Drayer, Founder and CEO at CareFlash

Improving Physician Wellness

Empower friends and loved ones to become more part of the patient journey

Improving Physician Wellness with Jay Drayer, Founder and CEO at CareFlash

Recommended Book:

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

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Improving Physician Wellness with Jay Drayer, Founder and CEO at CareFlash

Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking improved outcomes and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host Saul Marquez.

Welcome back to the podcast. Saul here and I got the outstanding Jay Drayer. He’s the Founder of CareFlash and PrizedPals. Each were inspired out of a caretaking role in circumstances bridging illness to end of life. Jay’s a recovering CFO, he’s got a passion for solutions that enhance the fabric texture and holistic nature of how loved ones engage in times of heightened anxiety. As a listener to the podcast you guys and gals know how important it is to ensure outcomes are going well and caregiving is is definitely one of those areas that is highly stressed. But also providers too are ones that we’ve got to keep our mind on as we look to improve the quadruple aim which includes also wellness for our providers and strengthening the care and growth of organizations. Jay’s done a lot of things in animal care as well. Formally he was a CFO of an early stage B2B software company and he’s also been the CFO of several other firms. So it is a pleasure to have Jay on the podcast today, welcome my friend.

Thank you Saul it’s great to be here.

It is a pleasure to have you on as our guest. Now he just came in from an awesome trip to Santa Fe New Mexico unplugged for a couple of weeks. That’s pretty cool man.

It’s an investment in your sanity and your ability to refuel and move forward with velocity. Something that’s been working out for me for many years. So thank you.

I think that’s pretty cool. Very inspiring folks a reminder did you ever sharpen your saw the best in the business do. And Jay Jay is definitely a great example of that. What got you in the medical sector Jay?

Well actually I’m not necessarily in the medical sector per se but instead I had an experience with a family member where I was that go to family caretaker to a loved one who was living with a chronic illness. This is something went over many months and became more and more complex by the day that culminated in a few weeks of hospice care in the home, and the death of this loved one. And as I watched this go on over these many months became more and more clear to me that most of our friends and family were much more about sympathies and well wishes the occasional casserole and people asking me ten times a day how they can help as opposed to just basic natural connectedness. And as this went on and culminated in the death of this loved one, everybody in our friends and family pool kind of flipped this virtual switch and went to this place of nonstop condolences for months on end. And I’m not saying that the well wishes are the casseroles or the condolences weren’t helpful but for sure they were helpful for very long. And it started to become clear to me that many of those well-meaning behaviors of friends and family may complicate things in the life and the effectiveness and productivity of family caretakers and families in general. And that was really the whole catalyst that led me to look at the health care world to try to determine what we could do what I could do as an outsider to the industry to help effect better quality outcomes for the industry.

That’s very interesting Jay and you know you definitely are hitting a topic that’s very real for a lot of people. And you know if you’re listening to this today I’m sure you’ve either gone through it are going through it. Somebody in your family a loved one a friend is dying or you’re a caretaker or something you know as a caretaker and maybe what Jay said resonated with you because it’s true. And so Jay I’d love if you could just level set with us what your companies are up to what their area of value is why you do what you do?

So bridging on what I just mentioned as far as that gap is the reality of caretakers that I saw few of those many months that culminated in our loss that our family was the fact that if someone could do something to nudge those well-meaning friends and family to become more part of the journey and live part of the landscape connected with a process that you’re going through let’s say a chronic illness or something like that it’s not connected to you know end of life for grief or anything like that it’s just a simple chronic illness where over time much of the time chronic illnesses develop complications when complications happen. If you’re not in a place of being able to understand that the complications are creating complications in your life as a caretaker you risk the very common reality of what most people many many people run into which is not accurately understanding the fact that their requirements are changing and those complications are starting to cut into their quality of life, their sleep quality, their appetite their stress level, their effectiveness at work, a whole range of implications that all continue to add up to further diminish quality of life for the caretaker. And of course when that happens, everybody pays a huge price not the least of which is the payer and the provider and the different components of people who are serving providing medical care to that person. But society as well and when all that starts to add up and admittedly most people are not going to take time to read a book on how you’d be a caretaker when they’re in the throes of it all. You know just like you get into it you think well you just fight the good fight and continue to do what you can do to keep all the balls up in the air. But as things get more and more complex it becomes obvious that if someone could offer a tool to all these family caretakers to help those friends and loved ones become more part of the journey that they’re already on it would have been fundamental not only to their sanity and their quality of life but their effectiveness as caretakers. And that’s really what CareFlash, the organization that I Founded in 2005 does which is basically empower friends and loved ones to become more part of the journey and less part of the landscape, that makes sense.

Yeah yeah that’s really great. I love the tagline. So what would you say one of the things that your organization is doing to create results by doing things differently?

Well to be straightforward the solution that CareFlash offers is a tool that’s completely created and run by a family called a CareApolis. And we define the CareApolis as the metrapolis of love and empathy. As simple as it is this is a tool that is created and run by a family that takes three or four minutes to do. And there are components built into each care uplift that enables friends and loved ones as I say to become more part of the journey. So those components would include the interactive calendar, and a blog, and a photo, and video sharing capability, and storytelling tool, and 3-D animations that explain complex topics that many times people don’t understand something as common as COPD. You know they know the four letters but they sure don’t know what they mean or what the implications of COPD are. And of course getting into many many other facets of chronic and acute illnesses is that these animations can help bring people out of their shell and better understanding what’s going on around their loved one and they’re produced by the number one company worldwide that does this company out of Houston called Blossom Medical Communications.

Fascinating. And so now families could have a place where they educate inspire and nudge as you said each other to do things that actually are meaningful in the journey.

Absolutely. People want to engage but they don’t know how. And thank goodness we’re all unique but emotional barriers are what they are. And when people don’t have the wherewithal to engage where it’s convenient and comfortable for them to do so they tend to withdraw. And what the CareApolis is do is basically give people a slight bit of transparency into the processes that are going on in ways that gives them the ability to hop on the train when it’s convenient and comfortable to do so. And if you can enable people to give up their energy and their love and their time, over time that’s a very compelling emotional stimulus and it feels great and they want to do it again. And so we’re not asking them to pull the entire card on their own. All we’re asking them to do is to engage where it’s convenient and comfortable to do so. In over 14 years of doing this, we’ve listened sufficiently to our member base around the world talk about how the CareApolis is not only or helping them through what they’re going through whether they’re the recipient of the care or a caretaker but they’ve been the source of most of our innovation and intelligence on helping to improve that fabric and texture.

Love that. What a great great idea Jay and you know as we speak. I know couple weeks ago I found out my my grandfather has stage 4 cancer and just kind of seeing my family shuffle around. You know what to do and the confusion and you know you sometimes get lost and you don’t know what to do and it’s nice to have a platform like yours that could guide families to clarity because it’s hard to get clear when things like this happen?

And I think when we’re on these journeys where the end isn’t altogether clear you know people are going through difficult circumstances every hour of the day where one of the outcomes could be their loved one is going to recover, rehabilitated, go on to have a long healthy life. Others are going to meander with various challenges in health care and others are going to be grieving their loved ones. But I think the uncertainty component where you know you’re not quite sure where things are going or for sure you’re not quite sure of the timing of where things are going which is what creates so much anxiety and when you’re in that role as a caretaker you know the aloneness component is so strong and you kind of start you know after the first couple of weeks feeling like you’re on your own journey and everybody else is trying really hard to not intrude but when you’ve got that circumstance it compounds quickly to the disadvantage of the caretaker and the person at the center of it all. Who’s the patient of course.

For sure. Now amidst all this right situations happening you guys deploy your solution. Give us an example of a setback that you had, Jay and what you learned from that setback?

Well the one most significant set back that I had was more in the process of introducing and implementing CareFlash fill out the medical community the health care industry is huge in its long standing and it’s highly innovative when it comes to things like implants and pharmaceuticals and medical devices and other things that it isn’t altogether that innovative when it comes to certain types of social innovation. And it took me a long time to understand that you know unless you’re able to speak to the pain of an industry when you’re talking to professionals in that industry, in quantitative terms the likelihood that they’re going to I don’t say respect but embrace what you’re talking about is thin. And the one thing that the hurdle that I find most difficult to understand and navigate around was the timing, the longevity of what it would take to introduce this innovation into the health care industry and now they were under are 14th year. We work with about 900 healthcare its petitions across the whole continuum of healthcare. But for many years I was wondering if there was any place for what we do in helping to round out the concept of holistic healing as we do.

Wow what a great call out there and you add testament to you sticking to it, Jay that it finally caught fire and started working for the people. So kudos to you for being able to stick with it, for it to work. I feel like a lot of people leave and they give up before it actually works. And so congrats on that. How about the flip side of that. What’s one of your proudest leadership experiences to date?

Well easily the proudest reality of where we’ve been going and where we continue to go is the additional facets of the health care continuum that every month, look our direction and see something significant and compelling in regards to their goals and what we do and most recently I can clearly say this is in orthopedic and the prosthetic industries and you know I have never really had much experience personally with orthopedic injuries or people who were looking at prosthetics to give them quality of life where so much of the time people don’t appreciate the fact that when someone is living with a limb that has poor circulation or for some reason it’s painful that by giving up that limb and replacing it with a prosthetic that’s going to give that person’s huge improvements in quality of life and mobility and independence and things that are fundamental to having quality of life. And as we’ve gotten more and more growth into the prosthetic industry, it’s been amazing for me to see how our solution helps to get friends and loved ones on the same page where many times their behaviors will appear with someone’s consideration in going up to giving away their limb in getting a prosthetic replacement. And you know it’s just like when people have a loved one who one of the possibilities of their care is giving up their limb, a lot of times friends and families will battle that you know they’ll see that his dad will no longer be whole. Forget the fact that he’s going to end up with much better quality of life after that limb replacement but so much of the time friends and loved ones interfere with that decision making process and then on the flip side people grieve the loss of a limb. People give up a leg voluntarily, replace it with the prosthetic. They will eventually start developing really strong improvements in quality of life. But in the meantime they grieve the loss of that limb. They still feel like the limb is there even though it’s gone and there’s a lot of complications to the psychology of people. But one of the things that I think is that I’m most proud of this afternoon is the fact that we’re now starting to grow very aggressively into the prosthetic and Orthotic industry and one where it makes sense given what we do. But it was not obvious to me for many years that this is an industry that was primed for to benefit from the challenges that we solve.

Congratulations. And as you talked about this Jay, I sort of thought about it and it’s like yeah you know sometimes the advice that you get is well intentioned but not necessarily well informed. So kudos to you and your team for tackling this corner of the market. I think it’s very intriguing niche that you guys have started to work in there. Aside from this one or many you want to dive deeper into this prosthetic area tell us about an exciting project that you’re working on today?

Well probably the most exciting one is a new addition to the CareApolis that is something that we’ve been studying for a while and it’s one that will be aimed at helping to improve physician wellness. I appreciate that the two things are very very different. But the medical community has a lot of challenges in connection with the wellness of physicians and medical staff throughout the continuum of the institution and we’re working on a solution that we believe will help stem this phenomena of the commonalities. You know issues with wellness that I’m talking about, suicide and depression and other things that are detrimental to the success of the industry. So this is something that we’re still kind of wrapping our arms around and defining but that’s probably where I’m most excited about where we’re going is in this kind of an off shoot kind of a side arm of the CareApolis that will it’s not aimed at so much putting a spotlight on the reality of medical wellness throughout the medical community. But instead kind of a nudging effect, the social another social solution that will be aimed at studying this this whole phenomenon.

Love it. What a worthwhile endeavor and folks listening to this and you’re working in this space as well or definitely want to partner with somebody, Jay is definitely a gentleman that you may want to speak with here toward the end will get you an opportunity to find out how to get in touch with him. Getting close to the end here so let’s pretend Jay you and I are building a medical leadership course. And what it takes to be successful in the business of health care. It is that Jay Drayer one on one course. So I’ve got four questions for you. Lightning round style followed by a book that you recommend to the listeners. You ready?


All right. What’s the best way to improve health care outcomes?

I think to me acknowledging that I’m not a healthcare professional. But when you look at the Triangle of holistic healing, mind, body, spirit, I think probably one of the most commonly elusive facets of healing to help promote better outcomes no matter what’s going on with someone in regards to an acute or chronic or behavioral or cognitive illness anything along the continuum of care. One of the most elusive assets for helping to foster better outcomes is social healing of enabling loved ones to become more consistently and naturally endurably be part of the journey that you’re on. And I think that went from my angle as an outsider to the healthcare industry that is the one most commonly elusive assets for helping to foster quality outcomes.

Social healing and what would you say the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid is?

I think one of the biggest mistakes that I see is professional throughout the health care industry to think in a very linear way if you have the blessing or on the flip side of blessing the discipline to read and expand your horizons that you’ll start to appreciate that a matrix approach to innovating and improving your ability to provide world class healthcare in 2018 and beyond is looking out there at the range of innovations that are doing things that are not only clinical but on from my perspective on the social side of helping to effect better outcomes.

So how do you stay relevant despite constant change?

I think that constant change is the norm. The minute that people get busy wondering when things are going to stop changing, that’s when you start to appreciate the fact that the one reality in life is that things are going to continue to change. That’s the one absolute and the more that I have developed my career I’ve found myself just embracing change and embracing the importance of looking out there on the horizon every day and when people reach out to me seeking to explore partnering or coming on board as a client organization or something like that is just in listening and integrating everything that I’m reading and hearing and see into those dialogues. Because if the one absolute in life is that things are going to change to expect that they’re ever going to remain the same is just not life. And so to me part of staying relevant is reading, listening, and challenging, doing my best as an outsider to the industry to challenge the status quo and lead people to look at what we’re doing as our tiny little contribution towards the huge investments they’re making in their contributions.

Love that. What’s one area of focus Jay that drives everything in your organization?

Probably the most significant focus is on our member base around the world. You know those people are out there fighting the good fight every day as caretakers and as patients. At the center of it and associated friends and loved ones and you know they’re the result of most of our innovation. And you know they are looking at things in relation to our solution and what it’s doing for them in ways that they are always outspoken and happy to share criticisms or suggestions on how we can be better. And so overall of our years and appreciating that no one on our team is has a health care background for us to develop the world class tool that does what we do raises a huge amount of appreciation to the importance that we do listen to our member base and our clients throughout the health care continuum in that they are really the source of our innovation.

Love that. What book would you recommend to the listeners as part of a syllabus, Jay?

I would say the one that’s top of mind right now is one that’s sticking with me with almost every minute I’m thinking about something connected to it as a book called A Whole New Mind by an author Daniel Pink and one that is just something that I don’t care if you’re in sales or marketing or you’re a physician or basically any walk in life that this book is just a real eye opener into the importance of empathy in design and relationship building. And it’s not a soft warm and fuzzy book about empathy and mindfulness it’s much more concrete in business but it’s something that just has me fascinated by this guy’s thoughts.

Outstanding recommendation Jay. And folks you could get the syllabus that we just constructed for you along with links to Jay’s companies as well as this book that he recommended just go to outcomesrocket.health/drayer as in Jay Drayer, you’ll find all of that there along with a transcript of our interview today. Jay before we conclude I’d love if you could just share a closing thought. And then a best place for the listeners to get in touch with you.

My closing thought of the day is empathy. As a former CFO we’re not necessarily always known as the softest people in the room but over the years of doing what I’ve been doing I think that’s probably one of the most significant strengths that people can leverage in doing what they do better and more effectively and the way that it’s best to get a hold of me is through e-mail and that is ceo@careflash.com and I tend to be very responsive to e-mails and certainly eager to open any dialogues as anybody has an interested discuss.

Outstanding Jay. Hey it’s been a true pleasure to have you on. Really appreciate the insights you shared with us today and looking forward to staying in touch with you my friend.

Like you. Thanks.Thank you Saul.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resource,s inspiration, and so much more.

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