DotCom Therapy begins worldwide speaking tour

DotCom Therapy, a growing company specializing in remote health technology, has begun a worldwide speaking tour as it prepares for a move to Madison.

The co-founders, Rachel Robinson and Emily Purdom, will present at the Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference on the subject of teletherapy–using technology to provide speech therapy and other services across long distances.

They saw the need for these services working as speech therapists in Alaska, where rural areas struggle to provide speech and language services.

The two were taking bush planes into villages and riding cars down ice highways–rivers frozen thick enough to support a car–and realized they could “get the kids the best service as possible” by using long-distance video and audio transmission to support more frequent service in remote rural areas.

Now, the company has around 1,500 sessions a week, serving just over 700 students at 35 schools, including the largest rural school district in Alaska.

“What’s really cool is students we are serving, often in rural areas, can access certified clinician several times a week,” said Robinson, who, along with Purdom, is a certified speech-language pathologist.“Earlier, it was maybe only once a month, or three times a year.”

While it focuses on students, the company can also serve the needs of individuals with diverse needs. Robinson says while the focus has always been on delivering services to schools, the service delivery model allows for private patients as well.

“We’re excited to continue to be thought of as leaders in this space,” Robinson said, adding the company has expanded its services to mental health therapy and other services.

“We started providing speech therapy in schools, and we were exposed to shortages in other areas as well,” she said. “We saw the need, and knew we could fill it effectively.”

The co-founders’ trip to Alaska for the conference, which took place Feb. 6-12, marked the start of a speaking tour with stops in Ireland, Australia, Japan, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota and Hawaii. They will address the International Association for Logopedics and Phoniatrics, the International Association for Special Education, The Asian Conference for Technology in the Classroom and others.

They also spoke in November at the Wisconsin Technology Council’s Early Stage Symposium in Madison. Robinson says they met with investment firms after ESS but determined outside investment wasn’t needed at that point.

Since then, the company has brought on a new CEO, Jay Handy and COO, Correll Lashbrook–moves which helped it “tailor its growth,” according to Purdom, a graduate of Missouri State University with her M.S. in communication sciences and disorders.

“Our organization has become stronger; anytime you bring on new executives, the organization can grow exponentially,” Purdom said.

The team of around 40 is based in Springfield, Mo., but plans to move to Madison in the next several months, according to Robinson.

“We see a lot of potential for Madison to nurture our growth,” Robinson said. “It’s a really progressive city, and the amount of support for entrepreneurs blew us away.”

And it’s more than just a good business model–Purdom says pursuing the company’s mission is the right thing to do.

“We are bridging the gap between students and specialists,” Purdom said. “We feel it is our obligation to champion this cause: ethical delivery of this service. We will always prioritize students needs.”

Looking forward, Purdom and Robinson are making it their mission to eliminate proximity as a barrier to service, in the United States and around the world.

“We get requests daily for services outside the U.S.,” Purdom said, adding the company already provides multilingual services outside the country, getting requests from Singapore, China, Mexico and Canada.

“We want to be the best place for therapists to work, period,” Robinson said. “We want to complete our mission and progress toward that, but we have to have the right workforce.”

See an earlier story on DotCom Therapy:

–By Alex Moe