‍How These Clinical Executives Are Harnessing Their Knowledge as a Provider To Transform the Healthcare Industry (Part Two)

This is part two in our conversation with Dr. Caesar Djavaherian, Dr. Erin Parks and Kate Steinle on how they solve operational burdens as providers and operations executives.

During the annual Medallion Elevate conference, we sat with three phenomenal clinicians to dive into how they solve operational burdens as providers and operations executives. 

Dr. Caesar Djavaherian is from Carbon Health, a medical practice combining smart technology with modern, welcoming clinics to deliver a seamless experience—virtual and in-person care. Dr. Erin Parks is from Equip, a mental health center that helps families recover from eating disorders at home. Finally, Kate Steinle of Folx Health delivers an understanding and supportive healthcare experience to the LGBTQ+ community.

Below is part two of the conversation. Missed part one? Read it here.

If you enjoy this material, check out more sessions from the Medallion Elevate event. A lightly edited transcript of the session with Dr. Caesar Djavaherian, Dr. Erin Parks, and Kate Steinle follows. The conversation has been transcribed and edited to the best of our abilities. Please allow for a slight margin of human and machine error. Any questions or concerns, send an email to events@medallion.co for help.

Derek Lo: I'm excited to welcome Erin, Caesar, and Kate today. This session is the only one at our conference focusing specifically on clinicians. It's a special one. Before we begin, let's start with quick introductions. 

Dr. Erin Parks: Hi, everyone. I'm Erin Parks. I am a clinical psychologist by training. I specialized in neuropsychology and worked in various hospital settings over the past 20 years, from VAs to children's hospitals. I ended my career in academic medicine at UC San Diego as a clinical faculty. I helped run their eating disorder programs–a lot of higher levels of care, so inpatient PHP and IOP. I left the university in 2019 and founded Equip Health. We're a virtual eating disorder treatment provider, and while I absolutely loved my previous jobs in hospital settings, the big driver for me to start this was recognizing that evidence-based care for eating disorders was really siloed in a few academic institutions around the country and trying to figure out how to disseminate it, both physically or virtually, but also financially to more and more people. So thanks for having us, Derek. I'm excited to be here.

Dr. Caesar Djavaherian: Hi, I'm Caesar. I'm an emergency medicine physician by training. I'm also a reformed academic, and I left New York Presbyterian in New York City to found or co-found what has become Carbon Health. Carbon Health is a vertically integrated primary care urgent care company. We have 140-something locations around the country in 16 states where we use technology to drive innovation in healthcare delivery. So I'm really excited to be here with you guys.

Kate Steinle: Hello. My name is Kate Steinley. I'm a nurse practitioner by training and work at Folx Health. I'm the chief clinical officer there. It is a telehealth company that's focused on the LGBTQ+ community. I've been there since the beginning, building the protocols and hiring the clinicians, and today I'm excited to talk through what it looks like to be a clinician who also helps run the clinical parts of it.

Balance provider empathy with organizational needs

Derek Lo: A core theme throughout your answers is pairing provider empathy while building your network from scratch. How has your knowledge as a provider helped you solve this? 

Dr. Erin Parks: When we started Equip, this was the first I had heard of a professional corporation. It was the first thorn sticking in our side. We leveraged Medallion to license and credential our providers, and they helped us get into all 50 states quickly. 

The next hurdle was explaining to clinicians why this cross-licensure was important. Often the phenotype of clinicians, and I agree with you, Kate, it's so great that we can make fun of ourselves. We're an anxious crew. We heard many hard questions from the providers, like, "Wait, what? My board says this," and I replied, "Right, but it's a gray area, and license rules change every day, and they change by state and nationally." 

Educating providers about why they must be cross-licensed and recognizing that our patients today don't stay in one place, especially with eating disorders.

We need to be prepared for them to have continuity of care, and that's why we cross-license. So it’s the headache of licensing, which is made significantly easier by Medallion, and explaining to providers why we do it.

Dr. Caesar Djavaherian: Like Erin, obviously, this idea of reducing the administrative burdens and our providers is massive. And licensure seems obvious, like very much human-made. 

Health doesn't know boundaries, just like COVID didn't know limits. 

And yet, if you're practicing in Kansas City, Missouri, and a few miles down the road, you've got another office in Kansas City, Kansas, you need to have two separate licenses. 

It becomes one of these things where we realize the more help we could get on reducing the burden on our clinicians, the more satisfaction they would have at work. 

Obviously, they'd be more flexible in seeing patients across state lines and more willing to stay with us. Retention numbers reflect it.

Kate Steinle: Erin, I like that you brought up working with people who are a bit anxious. The way I interview clinician candidates has progressed so much because I see what makes someone a good fit for telehealth and what isn't. 

Sure, we have the baseline expertise that we need people to have, the clinical skills, and we need them to focus on evidence-based practice. But now, I'm assessing their comfort and ambiguity because, in telehealth, we live in this world where things are constantly shifting. So it becomes about what we are doing. 

So what do we do there? Part of clinician recruitment needs to understand we're never going not to feel uncomfortable. But let us know because we want to assess that. 

But you might feel uncomfortable because it's different if you're not used to telehealth, so let's talk through that. With recruitment, we've been lucky with people coming to us. It goes back to this very focused community where people are drawn to serving this group of people that we haven't had to go out and recruit. Sometimes we have to, just as you said, Aaron, like, work with Medallion to get rockstars licensed across many states for their panel to grow to the right size.

Understanding differentiators is key to growth

Derek Lo: Excellent, thank you, that's very generous of you to say. What are some of the operational challenges around patient recruitment, and how have your background assumptions built the operational infrastructure to go out and recruit patients?

Dr. Caesar Djavaherian: Patient recruitment is its own type of beast. Having precise information for our patients will help drive them to us. 

The clinical perspective is helpful because we have this privileged position of hearing multiple patient stories and what they're thinking about, what they're worried about, or coming to find us if they're patients at Carbon Health. 

I work in the emergency department, so when they go into the ER, we can translate that knowledge or get into community settings where those patients might aggregate. 

So we did quite a bit of work and got that knowledge from the clinician base to the marketing and operations teams to make sure that people knew about us and what we were thinking. We have created landing pages about everything from monkeypox to STIs.

Dr. Erin Parks: I second that. One of the reasons it's great to have clinicians and leadership experience is we have an idea of where they hang out and what their needs are. 

We had to sell or convince them about a few things, like why go virtual versus in person. Or why turn to outpatient care instead of residential or a higher level of care

The other big challenge we have is helping explain why family therapy matters. Zero percent of teenagers want family therapy with their parents, but parents aren't keen to do it either. So talking about it the same way, you don't want to do chemotherapy, but it's what works. You don't want to do family therapy, but it is what works. 

We're communicating that in many ways and stopping people's bias and judgment. 

We should refrain from judging what is or is not going to work. You don't know until you try it.

Kate Steinle: I agree with you, Caesar; patient recruitment is a whole section of the marketing team and what they do. But having somebody who has spoken to the members and understands the differentiators is critical. 

Especially for this community, it's essential to understand the barriers people have to access care. Knowing the kind of discrimination that people have experienced in healthcare and how we speak to that, and that we're not just providing healthcare that is not discriminatory, we're providing the exact opposite, is empowering.

Those are the kind of things that speak to people. As you mentioned, Caesar, landing pages bring people suffering clinically-sound information and are fun to read. 

How to incorporate that into language that a prospective patient might want or interactive things we can do to help them learn about what might be going on and then drive them to what we can offer for them are where we're focused. We're figuring out what that differentiating factor is and how to bring that expertise alive on our website.

Erin: You do such a great job of it at Folx Health. You all have done a great job.

Kate: That's so sweet. Thank you.

Technology removes several burdens

Derek Lo: Kate, have any prospects engaged on that type of content? 

Kate Steinle: Yes. I've focused on asking people about the unique things they offer whenever I'm interviewing them. What are they passionate about that they want to bring in? Some have a side thing, or they have multiple part-time jobs. I have a few full-time clinicians, so some don't have extra time to write library articles, but anybody who does is welcome to do so.

It's about what you are doing to connect people to the work they have. So you have a lot of connections with each of those individuals, but then it becomes about what you can do to connect them to the business or to the whole company and finding ways to involve them in whatever ways they're connected to. 

Dr. Erin Parks: Yes, that goes well into the topic of burnout. Being a provider, I was thinking about past treatment settings where we worked with patients that had sad traumas happened to them, that had severe eating disorders. I loved those jobs. What did I love about them? I laughed so much with my peers. There's something about laughing through the hard times together. 

So I've started to recognize how much our providers are in session after session after session and need more time to be with other providers and have that laughter. Our teams are in these multidisciplinary five-person teams. It can take some of the pressure off if you have this five-person team you can trust. This topic is the number one thing I spend most of my time thinking about.

Dr. Caesar Djavaherian: It might be a good time to give a plug for health technology as a way to reduce burnout. I love everything that Kate and Erin said. One of the unique positions that we're in is to use technology to reduce the crap of being a clinician, like documentation, administrative insurance, or billing. 

We don't necessarily train for all those things, but where in every other industry, technology helps. Here's another plug for Medallion in smart product development and healthcare technology. 

At Carbon Health, we noticed providers were spending about two hours after every shift logging into their computers and doing additional charting, often like after putting their kids to bed. 

The industry standard for this kind of job changes, but about 30% of providers will change jobs yearly. We drove that number down to 8%. 

The best correlation we can find as to why it happened was because our providers don't need to do after-hours charting, so when they finish their shifts, they've got another half an hour before completing most of their charts, and then that's it.

Part three will be available the week of November 7.

About Medallion Elevate: The Future of Healthcare Operations

At Medallion's inaugural debut, Elevate: The Future of Healthcare Operations, healthcare executives, founders, and leaders came together and highlighted the collective optimism of an industry that's ready to elevate and advance the industry. 

It represented actionable insights, disruptive ideas, and ground-breaking insights from some of the best healthcare leaders, visionaries, investors, and founders. For more information and to view the sessions on-demand, visit: https://elevate.medallion.co/events/medallion-elevate-2022/registration

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