At the core of TouchCare’s product offering is our expert Health Assistant team. They are on the front line solving our member’s health care questions and concerns. Our approach stresses empathy and humanity and is rooted in extensive knowledge of the local, and national healthcare landscape.
Meet TouchCare’s very own Lead Health Assistant, Ethan Roaldi, and find out what attracted him to TouchCare.
Give us some background on yourself.
I was born in Buffalo, NY but moved around a lot. I’m currently living in New York City. I have a twin brother, and I love the Bills and Sabres (even though they break my heart).
I studied at Syracuse University for my B.S. in Public Health and Finance and am currently finishing a Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) in Health Management at NYU. I’ve spent most of my time straddling two disciplines, with one foot in population health, specifically the well-being of caregivers in hospitals; and the other in emergency care.
Currently, I maintain my EMT-Basic license, and before I worked for TouchCare, I was a project coordinator for a non-profit air medical service. That job was definitely a treat for the 12-year-old inside of me that loves aircrafts, but distracting as I would try to get work done while shiny helicopter ambulances were taking off and landing outside of my office window.
What attracted you to working as an HA with TouchCare?
I have been in “healthcare” since I was 15 as a volunteer at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo. I have observed healthcare as an industry that changes constantly, and I was drawn to TouchCare because it’s new and cutting edge. It approaches cost efficiency from the other side of the coin by making sure patients have a more streamlined process for leveraging their benefits and interacting with our complex medical system.
What’s the best part of your job?
Aside from dogs being allowed in the office (because heck yes), the best part of my job is when I get to really make a positive difference for someone. It’s so stressful when a loved one goes through a surgery, for example, but it means the world to me when I get to tell a member something like “yes this $15,000 bill is totally incorrect, let me handle this while you focus on your family.”
What makes TouchCare different from healthcare service providers?
TouchCare is unique compared to similar organizations because our core truly centers around a premier consumer experience. Whether someone uses our app, the portal, or speaks to one of our Expert Health Assistants directly when their issue is resolved they feel better about their situation. TouchCare is able to make every experience consistently excellent but highly personable, and few companies can achieve that.
How do you navigate the complicated healthcare system?
Personally, I am lucky to have a high level of health literacy so I feel comfortable going about navigating my care on my own. However, being able to have one of my colleagues provide a little concierge assistance is something I usually won’t say no to!
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to keep busy. When I am not doing work on my car I love to bake/cook and to host dinner parties. I also love exploring the city which helps my friends and I keep our slight obsession with margaritas in check.
How do you keep yourself healthy?
Aside from exercise and trying to eat right (not that I don’t love chocolate), I find that I really benefit from regularly practicing yoga and trying to make sure that I get enough time to decompress. I also drink pomegranate green tea every night before bed, and I swear it’s a life-saver.
How do you feel about being an “expert”?
An expert is simply a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area. Applying this to my role at TouchCare, I would say that my background in public health, acute care/emergency care, nonprofit health, for-profit health, and benefits cover quite a vast area of healthcare. I feel that I am able to bring an extra holistic approach to every ticket because there are at least one or two areas that I can leverage to get the member to where they need to go in their inquiry.
If you want to get sentimental, I would say that I put the “expert” in Health Assistant because I care about people and their health. When a member has their own assistant in their corner ready to support them, they suddenly become empowered. This is so important when most people are sandwiched between very rushed/stressed doctors, intimidating insurance companies, and often, are digesting information that is not easily understood for all. This can make anyone feel a little powerless, and a Health Assistant’s job is to put the power back into the member’s hands so that they can make informed health decisions.
What type of questions do you get asked the most from members?
I would say the three questions I get most often are, “Why is this bill so high?”; “Can you find me the cost of a procedure”; and “Can you find me a really good primary care doctor (and/or) therapist, in-network?”
What advice would you give members who are hesitant to get in touch based on their previous experience with the healthcare system?
My only advice is to just breathe, we’ve got this! TouchCare isn’t here to give you a scary diagnosis, poke or prod you, or to get money out of you. Our service is entirely free to all members. Secondly, I would encourage them to share even their most challenging situations with us. Even a tough experience teaches us something new about the complexities of healthcare, and one person’s experience could improve the outcome not just for themselves, but for thousands of other members.
Ethan Roaldi is a Lead Health Assistant at TouchCare on a mission to improve access to healthcare for all. He is a Buffalo native but happily lives in Brooklyn where you can find him tinkering on his car or stress baking.