There are 20 million people who need speech therapy each year in the United States and only 126,000 certified therapists to meet the demand. DotCom Therapy is trying to put an end to this shortage, and was interviewed as part of a new economy business profile series done this fall by UW-Madison students.
DotCom Therapy answers this significant speech therapist scarcity by offering high-quality, online speech therapy services. The telemedicine company removes barriers such as location and travel and allows anyone to access therapy services via computer, tablet or smartphone. All you need is a webcam and a connection to the internet.
Founders Rachel Robinson and Emily Purdom formed DotCom Therapy after observing the lack of speech therapy connections in rural school districts.
Their mission: to make therapy services available to everyone, everywhere.
Nationwide, there are about 24,600 job openings for speech and language therapists. Due to the high demand for but shortage of therapists, schools suffer large travel and contracting fees for qualified services. In hospital settings, patients could miss critical recovery periods due to long waitlists.
Without the use of online services, people may not be getting the quality help they need and deserve.
DotCom Therapy provides virtual therapy with professional speech therapists that are qualified to work within school systems. Sessions are scheduled at the clients’ own convenience, regardless of time zone or location.
“We believe that location should not determine your quality of care,” Robinson states.
DotCom Therapy strives to connect those in need of speech therapy with handpicked professional therapists to access services they might otherwise be unable to reach.
What sets them apart from their competitors? DotCom Therapy carefully selects a specialized therapist to meet the needs of the client. Their One-Click Access platform connects students and patients to a certified speech-language pathologist at the clients’ convenience.
Additionally, Robinson, a speech language pathologist herself, explains, “We hire therapists as employees, not contractors. Our therapists are part of a diverse, well-supported team.”
DotCom therapy utilizes a flat rate fee-structure, thereby simplifying its use at schools or hospitals. By eliminating unnecessary travel time to therapy sessions, the company is able to increase the frequency of their services and deliver a better product at a lower cost.
“Before DotCom Therapy, speech therapists would fly to school districts in rural Alaska for five therapy visits a year. Today, therapists see about 1,000 kids per week,” Robinson explains.
Launched in Springfield, Mo., DotCom Therapy has been recently endorsed by the Missouri School Boards Association, making the company the preferred source for speech therapy in the state of Missouri.
“Missouri is a very rural state,” Robinson explains, “so there is difficulty filling speech therapy connections. DotCom Therapy is an important component to solving that problem.”
In Wisconsin alone, there are 419 school districts; 142 of them are seeking a speech and language therapist. DotCom Therapy is in the process of picking up their Missouri roots and relocating the company to Madison.
“Madison is a progressive city,” Robinson says. “We have some connections we hope we can tap into in order to provide schools with qualified speech language pathologists and give children they help they deserve.”
DotCom Therapy was selected to present to a group of potential investors at the Wisconsin Technology Council’s Early Stage Symposium, held Nov. 16-17 in Madison.
–By Lauren Wilmet
Wilmet is a student in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.