Meet Dale Gray
First Call Technology’s mission is to support people-serving organizations by providing quality, innovative applications and consulting. Originating as software developed by the substance use and recovery non-profit First Call, First Call Technology focuses on serving other not-for-profit agencies. It’s case management software, Community CareLink, is designed for behavioral health, child welfare, transitional living, grant compliance, court systems and other agencies requiring case management.
Today we get to know Dale Gray, First Call Technology’s President and CEO, to learn more about First Call Technology and the communities it serves.
Dale, tell us how you contribute to serving First Call Technology’s clients and communities?
Basically, I’m the company’s Chief Geek. But for business reasons, my email signature says President and CEO. I work elbow to elbow with our clients to build our software to their needs. We recognize our clients don’t have deep IT knowledge–they are case managers and social workers. I learn their mission and build forms, reports and workflows that are easy to use and make sense for their requirements and programs.
How did you get to be so smart?
My background is in health care IT–I worked at Cerner Corporation for 12 years as the Director of Analytics, then was the Director of Analytics and Director of Web Development for Stanford Children’s Hospital. Mixed in there, I was involved in several startup organizations.
Woah, Stanford. Fancy! How did you end up at First Call Technology?
A First Call board member asked me to take a look at what they were developing here. I was blown away by how efficient, effective and robust the software was. As I mentioned, I have worked with a lot of solutions for very large health systems. I can say this is the most comprehensive case management software that is being sold today, especially if you look at the price point. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.
As a geek, that’s exciting! From a non-geek’s perspective, what makes Community CareLink so special?
First, Community CareLink was not built as business software, like many of our competitors. Our tech was built by case managers for case managers. We started as a small non-profit, looked across the case management software options and realized none of them could meet our needs. So we built our own software piece by piece, and others took notice. Now we stand alone to help other nonprofits–big or small– achieve their people-serving missions. To my knowledge, we are the only case management software company of our size that started out as case management from the beginning. That’s why the workflow is so easy.
Secondly, we are not just a software company, we are a consulting company. We don’t open the box, implement the software and say “There you go, figure it out.” We understand our client’s workflow, we talk about grants, funding, requirements and a day in their life to capture an agency’s true needs and goals. We work together to build the software to support their work instead of trying to make the work fit the software.
What inspires you today at First Call Technology?
I’m most proud of our ability to truly support clients in serving people well. For example, a current client has multiple rooms dedicated to paper files. We’re converting those files into hundreds of electronic records so all files are complete and easy to find. And sure, being paperless makes organizing easier. But the real impact is that they can now see outcomes at the touch of a button, for an individual and an entire community. This will affect fundraising, grants, how many people they can serve, how they structure programming, everything. In two years, that agency is going to be changed.
What does the future look like for First Call Technology and Community CareLink?
Long term, our goal is to work with entire communities, entire states. Unlike most electronic health records (EHRs) that only communicate within their system, Community CareLink can be installed in multiple agencies, locally and nationally, to securely share one client record across the continuum of care. Imagine when we can follow an individual through their entire life, including transitional living, court records and health systems. We will be able to conduct research across populations to truly understand what makes people and communities better.
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