A caring ‘Duett’: CICOA co-workers find solutions for connecting clients’ needs with providers


In his role as CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions director of strategy and innovation, Jonathan Haag sees his job as building the creative confidence of the staff.

“What I do each day is walk alongside my co-workers and try to excite their imagination and then help to develop the avenues to develop those sparks of inspiration, then ultimately launch whatever that expression is,” the Fishers resident said. “It might be a new service. It might be a new product. It could be any number of things. It could be any size impact. It could be something that is just for a certain population in central Indiana, or it could apply to the whole service-based industry across the United States.”

Helping one co-worker solve a problem led to the creation of another business.

Haag said CICOA care managers are tasked with identifying and creating care plans for older adults and those with any disability in central Indiana.

“These care plans identify the needs of the individual,” Haag said. “The individual may need things like meals or transportation or home health care, such as a health aide might be needed for a certain number of hours to come into a home. Part of our responsibility is to help find providers for those who can do home health care or nursing or provide meals or provide transportation.”

Haag said Chad Bales, assistant director of care management, told Haag care managers were having trouble finding providers for the care plan set-up.

“On the other side, he had providers who say they have staffing available and feel free to send people our way,” Haag said. “This issue is felt across the country in home health care.”

Haag said having to phone through a list of the organizations to find available staffing for a patient’s needs was inefficient. It resulted in delayed care, which produces negative health outcomes.

That’s where Haag and Indianapolis resident Bales worked to create Duett, a for-profit online platform that launched Feb. 2. A care coordinator posts their patient’s needs, so there is a detailed plan outlined for providers. On the other side of the platform, care providers are registering, detailing the area they serve, the services they provide and the funding sources they accept. Haag said Duett matches that need with availability.

“So now, instead of a list of 400 providers for a care coordinator to choose from, we take the list down to a handful of providers who have raised their hand and said we have people available and ready to serve,” Haag said.

Haag said there has been increased efficiency of care coordinators and providers.

“We say Duett is the fastest way for care coordinators to identify providers for care plans and the quickest and most efficient way for providers to grow their business,” Haag said. “We can alleviate this as a problem for everyone else who is experiencing it.”

Haag and Bales have turned Duett into a for-profit business.

“Jonathan and I have (had) a lot of fun and joy in collaborating and working on this project together,” Bales said. “Being able to combine our different skill sets and perspectives has created this as a dynamic duo. The collaboration and respect for each other allowed for us to be able to have free-flowing ideas with progressive conversations to get to this point for Duett. I have greatly enjoyed working together for a cause that benefits so many different people/organizations.

“To be able to work together for the benefit of care coordinator agencies, direct care providers and the individuals that receive the direct care has been a blessing.”

Haag said some providers keep the platform open and refresh it to see updated lists in which they would be eligible to serve.

“We’ve also built into the platform a notification feature, so if a provider is out in the field caring for people, they are going to get the email notification there is a patient in their area they could serve,” Haag said.

CICOA was Duett’s first client. Haag said they are in talks with all the area agencies in Indiana. The goal eventually is to expand to other states.

“The care coordination agency pays to use the platform because of the time savings it produces,” Haag said. “The provider network pays a small fee to access the referrals. We have 25 signed on.”

Haag said Duett is in the process of transitioning the other estimated 400 registered providers from the testing prototype that was originally set up.

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Jonathan Haag, left, and Chad Bales developed an online platform to help to connect providers with clients’ home health care need. (Submitted photos)

What’s in the name?

Jonathan Haag said the name Duett was derived from the idea of how to create duos between care providers and the patients they serve.

“We want these to be enduring friendships,” Haag said. “It also involved how we did innovation with two individuals walking alongside each other. That was the first duo of creating Duett.”

Haag and Bales used software developers to build the site.

Haag, 31, has been with CICOA for 5 1/2 years. Haag graduated from Carmel High School in 2008.

Haag and Bales are co-founders and advisors for Duett. Cody Pittman is the CEO.