I was working at JFK Airport in New York when the fire chief said “my wife and I have been having the same argument for the last 30 years”. The fact is problems exist everywhere. Most healthcare have the following two problems: staffing and missing appointments. For example, your caregiver does not show up for their visit and that will not change. If you are lucky, instead of complete no-shows, you get last minute caregiver cancellations. It goes something like this “my car broke down…” Of course, the excuse has to be reasonable. Something that can happen at the last minute just like they do not want to go to work at the last minute. The fact is their pay rate is low. For example, HHA most likely gets paid around $15 per hour and of course they are always struggling with their bills.

Get an Early Jump on Last Minute Cancellations

Here is the fact, you cannot increase their rate because if you do it for one person, you have to do it for everyone. Trust me, they all talk. Word of the new pay rate will spread within a day. What do you do? Use a software like On-call Ma to resolve this. Let them fight a computer that can talk to millions of people at the same time. Want to cancel your visit, not a problem. On-call Ma will find someone who is willing to work on that day. It solves the problem of last minute caregiver cancellations.

Patient and caregiver always will have their wants. Such as the patient needing a caregiver to live their life, using the bathroom, or getting their weekly food. Caregivers want to get paid more, but do not want to work for it. Even home care schools for certification have a hard time convincing their students to get the next certification such as CNA and increase their pay. Employers trying to figure out how we can come to a middle ground such as using On-call Ma. We all have problems, but somehow we need to meet each other in the middle ground. “My wife thinks that she won, but I know this battle is going to last until one of us dies. It is ok with me because I love her.”

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Caregiver call out causes unneeded stress to our vulnerable population.  It is almost midnight. At 92 years old, you are no longer strong enough to make it to the bathroom on your own. You need to do number 2, but figure you can hold it until tomorrow morning. John, your caregiver, will arrive for a scheduled visit at 9 am. After falling into a comfortable sleep, a ringing phone wakes you up. It is Cindy, the coordinator from your home care agency. You get the bad feeling again and it is not the first time it happened. John cancelled and the agency does not have a replacement. You were hoping to not use your bed as a bathroom again. Holding back the instinct of crying, you blame yourself and think Allah is punishing you for not praying often when you had good health.

AI to the Rescue

The fact is no matter what religion you are from, we are going to get old. In fact, studies that show that the population is increasing and people are living longer. HHA certified caregivers get paid $16 per hour. However, the agency’s owner knows that HHA caregiver is a number game. As a result, it is common for caregivers to cancel. A popular excuse would be: “my car won’t start”. This is where On-call Ma software comes in as a solution. First, On-call Ma will listen to all calls and automatically determine when a call out happens. Then does exactly what a coordinator like Cindy would do to find a caregiver replacement. Imagine having 20 coordinators contacting hundreds of caregivers to find a caregiver replacement for the 92 year old who depends on the agency to live their regular life.

Imagine the story ends something like this: Cindy calls to let you know that your caregiver cancelled, but a replacement is on his way. He is going to be 1 hour late. By the way, he is a body builder, he can bench 250 pound. He would not have any problem lifting heavy objects.

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Brain Off Switch is Meditation
The English interpreter sitting at the Main Tibetan Temple watching His Holiness the Dalai Lama on TV during the teachings in Dharamsala, HP, India on May 16, 2020. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

The human brain has no on/off switch. Since we were born, our brain never turned off until we move on to the next life. The Quran, the Bible, and other sources of religion explain why that may be so. Even if we cannot turn off our brain 100%, there are ways to relax our brain. It is a proven fact that stress level does impact the health of the brain resulting in overall health issues.

In my experience of solving customer’s problems do require creativity and creativity do require the mind to relax so it can focus. However, most of the time business owners do not invest in tools to relax and maintain our minds. As Dalai Lama said “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.” I have one CEO tell me that “what does he know, he never had to work in his life”. I think both cases are valid, such as getting a stroke because of stress or maybe spend thousands of dollars on a therapist.

Brain’s Off Switch is Meditation

In many ways investing in religion is investing on your mind and body. For example, Islam praying 5 times a day is a form of medication. One form of meditation is spending 10 minutes of your time just focusing on one thing. One common focus is sitting in one place, close your eyes, and focus on the tip of your nose. Sometimes you lose track of focusing on your nose and you may need to breathe harder to bring your focus back.

In Islam, praying also means focusing on words you repeat over and over from the Quran. Those words are exact text within the Quran written in the Arabic language. Imagine praying 5 times a day where you relax your brain for 10 minutes over your entire lifetime. This type of investment does help keep your mind in better shape than you did not meditate. In fact, it might save you a lot of money by not going to a therapist.

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“Matt, you’ve got SMS”. That is the type of text Mathew receives at 4 AM in the morning for a week. His first response is if everything is ok with me. Then came the angry text few days “FU”. I have known Matt for more than 10 years. In fact, I hired him when I was working at a financial company. He stayed with the company while I moved on to an IT consulting firm to advance my career.

I believe I should explain the 4 AM text messages. Matt and a few other colleagues created a group SMS chat in Google Voice and have been using it for more than a year. Matt has a habit of sending a text in the middle of the night. Of course, I wake up when my cell phone plays the alert sound.

Text Messages Time

During that time, I was implementing On-call Ma’s SMS Schedule. This is a feature allowing users to send thousands of texts at a specific time. I was solving one of the home care agencies’ problems where they need to send texts to all their caregivers. An example would be to post a new case or a job. Instead of sending 300 texts, one at a time, they would schedule 50 texts to go out at a certain time. Using this strategy they do not receive 30 callbacks, all at the same time.  They also stay within the text message limit for most devices. Once a replacement is found, the agency can cancel the rest of the scheduled text.

Matt, on the other hand, learned about my new project the hard way. “Hey Matt, it’s Manny again. I hope I did not wake you. It is only 4:03 AM”. Matt replied with “FU”. On-call Ma “Unavailable Auto-Reply” responded with “Manny is currently sleeping right now, please leave a text message and he will not respond back in the future. Thank you.”
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“Sis, can you just stop taking over me because I cannot understand what you are saying?”. I am sure many of us experience that over the phone. This is mainly caused by the delay or latency in your network (my previous post Softphone twins are not clones! provides some explanation). The phone system does not have a problem listening to overlapping conversations as we do. That is because it can separate out the conversation into two recordings-the callers and callees.

High Alert Conversations

First responders, such as police officers listen to multiple radios and have trained themselves to pick out keywords.  This allows them to respond even if they are having a conversation and watching TV at the same time. I learned this when I was working on an emergency communication system for airports in New York City. There was one fire chief who could listen to four radios, simultaneously, and can respond when needed. No doubt, it took years to train his mind to do such a task.

However, to train a phone system to do a similar task as the fire chief only took a month. Check out this On-call Ma application that can listen in on conversations and transcribe in the form of he said and she said. Just like the fire chief, responding to the radio, it picks out keywords and triggers certain tasks. Instead of years of self-taught experience, it happens after weeks of training and Artificial Intelligence model.  I am solving a problem for home care agencies where a caregiver would call-out at the last minute, leaving the client helpless. Can you imagine your grandmother needing to take number 2 and having to wait for a caregiver to show up in the morning?

I always say to myself, life is too good now and it can be worse.
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Ringless voicemail is the ability to leave a voicemail without ringing the phone. We will be talking about ringless voicemail from the fundamental concepts. When talking to one of my clients, The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon’s famous catchphrase “Bazinga” came to my mind. My client Jonny (not his real name) wanted to implement Ringless VoiceMail or RVM to his phone system. He gave me the website which provides the RVM feature.  This feature can be a little expensive, but it is good for targeting people who are older than 50 years old. I’ll explain how it works, and include some technical details in the sections, below.  Add your stories and comments, too! 👇

Lets learn about Ringless Voicemail

As mentioned before, ringless voicemail is the ability to leave a voicemail without ringing the phone. Marketers use this feature to leave thousands of voicemail, especially for older people. It turns out older people always listen to their voicemail. Johnny thought that instead of doing voice broadcast, we can do ringless voicemail instead because voice broadcast is illegal. Bazinga! From my perspective ringless voicemail is a form of broadcast. 

I am sure that you most likely experience voice broadcasts if you live in the United States. It is one of those fake calls, trying to sell you something. Usually, the call comes in, and as soon as you pick up, a back end phone system plays an announcement, followed by some prompt option to connect to some agent to close the deal. Whoever uses voice broadcast needs to be TCPA compliant. Here is the basic operation of RVM: 

  1. 🔕 The phone system will make two calls. After the initial call, the phone system follows with a second call, which will leave the voicemail.
  2. 🔕 The phone system detects when the target phone answers the second call and hangs-up the initial call as soon as that happens. The initial call may also have a timer, in milliseconds, to hang-up if the second call does not get answered.
  3. 🔕 The second call triggers the voicemail system to pick up. When the phone system hears a beep, it  starts playing Jonny’s pre-recorded message
  4. 🔕 Lastly, the phone system hangs-up after playing the pre-recording.

Cell phone and landlines

It is important to note that the carrier identifies a phone number as a cell or landline. Ringless voicemail works very well with cell phone numbers because almost all cell numbers have voicemail and use similar voicemail system structure.  The non-cell number, on the other hand, is not standardized, and therefore unpredictable. Some numbers have no voicemail. When calling the number two time, the receiver may hear a small ring or pesky little beep, if they have call-waiting. If it is not clear to you yet, a ringless voicemail drop was discovered accidentally. Ringless voicemail is a true Bazinga in my opinion.
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