Four years ago when I first joined CipherHealth, we had one product aimed at reducing readmissions for different hospital units. I had just taken on the role of working with hospitals and ensuring our products were being utilized to their full potential. This was the foundation for our Account Manager position.
One of my first challenges as an Account Manager came from the day I was introduced to a hospital’s cardiology team to discuss concerns about their heart failure population. These patients are the sickest of the sick, often times with co-morbidities that make their heart condition even more of a challenge to treat. These patients are under intense care while they are in the hospital and many return to the hospital due to acute episodes.
This cardiology team was fresh out of ideas. They tried having staff call their patients, but quickly realized that this took valuable time away from assisting admitted patients. They knew they needed to keep track of patients after they left the hospital but were having trouble balancing this responsibility with their current duties. The nursing team was being measured on their performance, as was the hospital, yet they couldn’t seem to find an effective way to treat patients fast enough or help patients recently discharged from the hospital.
At the time, we had just started running our post-discharge calling platform, CipherOutreach, in their inpatient and Emergency Department. CipherOutreach was customized and included personalized calls that would ask questions specific to the nature of the patient’s stay, but also included standardized questions that could be asked across various patient groups. After a patient completed a call, nurses would be immediately alerted of any patient concern and would address any issues with the patient directly. We would then offer analyzed data and insights for improvement based upon all of the data we had collected through the calls. After the cardiology team learned about the success we were having with response rates for inpatients and ED visitors, they turned to their Account Managers to see if we could make this effective for their patients, specifically ones with CHF.
This was the first time we were asked to create a disease-specific program, and we decided that the cohort of heart failure patients, while discharged from inpatient units, should actually have a longer-term outreach plan. What we designed for them consisted of four separate calls to patients, offered in both English and Spanish since the hospital was in an area where half of the patient population spoke Spanish. Alerts would lead to cardiology nurses if patients had issues with shortness of breath, weight gain, low-salt diet compliance, fluid restriction, or general well being. And it worked.
The hospital’s clinical team was able to spend more time with their admitted patients and they were now intervening in a timely fashion with the patients who were not progressing well at home. Instead of spending time calling every discharged patient trying to determine whether or not they had an issue, the nurses were spending time with patients who had expressed a problem, with all the information they needed to resolve the issue at their fingertips.
The program we developed was helping the patients and the hospital team. I was ecstatic to see the results! I truly had no idea what to expect coming into this new company and taking on a role known as “Account Manager.” The title itself can have so many meanings depending on the company. But here, we have super powers, and although sometimes I wish I had super speed, what we have here is the power to say yes and take action. We never say we cannot do something for our clients. The idea of cannot is not in our vocabulary. We will always find a way. We love custom-fitting our flexible technologies to solve problems for hospitals and make the patient’s experience a better one. In my first year here that meant customizing our tool for a completely new patient type. Today as our company and products have evolved, so have our capabilities, and our “yes we can” attitude can mean anything from developing a new product or using what we have to meet completely new needs.
We work with our clients to ensure we know what their needs and goals are. We then work closely with and provide feedback to our development team so that as they are constantly innovating, and they are doing so with our clients and best practices in mind. It might sound unbelievable, but we get excited to work late if it means we can go the extra mile for a client. We are invigorated by the possibility of making huge improvements whether it be an HCAHPS analysis for a client executive’s presentation or designing a new program to target outreach to a newly identified high-risk population. We form and maintain partnerships with our hospitals because they are more than our clients, they are our teammates and partners in moving healthcare forward. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
After all, they don’t call us Team Awesome for nothing.
This post was written by our dedicated account manager, Kate Huber.
For more information on our team please click here.