CIHQ Presents an Interview with Partner, Prista Corporation
Don Jarrell and Billie Anne Schoppman, Prista Corp.
CIHQ would like to introduce you to Billie Anne Schoppman, Chief Mission Officer and Don Jarrell, President, and co-founders of Prista Corp. Read further to learn how Don and Billie Anne joined forces to provide a much-needed software product, ActionCue® Clinical Intelligence, to healthcare markets.
Billie Anne and Don, tell us a little about your background and how you came to team-up to develop ActionCue CI.
Billie Anne Schoppman: I was a quality and risk management executive responsible for ten to twelve hospitals across a variety of markets. It was extremely painful and arduous. Everyone was different and inconsistent with reporting, there was no standardization, no follow up, no committee meeting standards… nothing. I was very frustrated, so I approached Don and said, “We have to fix this.” We brought different perspectives: mine as a clinical hands-on nurse health care executive who was used to paper, my favorite forms, and everything my way. Healthcare was far behind the times and Don’s design intellect conveyed, no… this is not the way it should be done. We created ActionCue CI together to help resolve my pain.
Don Jarrell: My background is in technology, specifically as a product manager. I've done programming and taken new products to market. My approach as a designer was a little different. Rather than saying, “Here’s a single product, let’s match what it does and focus on the functions within the application…” I look at a broader scope and consider the environment users are working in. What are historical issues in the organization, industry and tool sets they have been provided with? Then I try to come up with something that is new and productive to face, if not resolve their challenges. That’s why ActionCue CI is so innovative. Billie Anne discovered and identified the need; I brought to bear the technical standpoint with a different architecture and functional mind of the application.
Billie Anne: Prista Corp is a TORCH Endorsed Partner, the Texas Organization for Rural and Community Hospitals. We started with smaller and rural hospitals, such as Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), along with specialty surgeries and rehabs from the very beginning. They have the smallest number of resources but the same requirements… They feel the pain, and it's a lot of work. It is difficult for them to find quality people true in certification and education needed to function in these unique environments. One of the CEOs that attended our pre-launch testing session was a TORCH member. As a new company, it was the right size and the right pain. Many of our clients are here in Texas, and many of them are TORCH members.
Don: Most of our smaller organizations were the ones that most urgently needed change and were far more accepting of innovation. As technology in medicine has evolved, larger organizations realize and accept: 1) they need innovation, 2) they want to understand what kind of innovation is required to build it out. Bringing the performance improvement workbench into the fold, where the return on investment (ROI) is occurring for them, had the biggest effect. ActionCue CI handles the mundane tasks of data manipulation, the higher analytics, and the process workflows to bring insight to those leaders who ultimately make the decisions on changes.
Billie Anne: We talk to those that have the pain: quality officers, chief risk managers or compliance officers. Without buy-in from the department managers, we do not go any further. It’s not about collecting data, or manipulating data or presenting data… It's about fixing things. That's what we do - we Cue people to act.
Don: Many applications function in areas that are basically a database - a place for holding information. People get it out, do human processing, and put it back. We made our product about workflow - capturing data and capturing information and moving it along progressively, adding to it as it moved through escalated reviews. The application processes some information going forward, pushing into the analytics, presentation, and reporting space, such as evening reports.
Billie Anne: We brought this product to market in a unique way. Talk about early influencers and validators… We tested the product with a group of influencers and asked them to spend 3 or 4 days in San Antonio, testing it, playing with it, and checking it out. We had CEOs, surveyors, quality officers, consultants, a specialist in user interfaces and those who knew how to challenge technology who walked through it for three days. We want to make an impact in health care and safety environments by providing the people- specifically chief quality officers and risk managers - better tools, and a system that is fun and can be part of a routine instead of inefficient, arduous, and difficult reporting. They can take safety, quality and an accountable performance improvement workbench all in one - and can do it easily every day.
Billie Anne: Our first client is still with us, which is amazing. I looked back at the product, and the product has grown and improved so much since then. They have received all the enhancements over the last ten years, so they’re very happy with it. Whether you jump into a safety event, a report of quality data, or even the performance improvement plan - the application drives you and helps you toward the performance improvement goal. Real customer success is important, that’s why Prista’s support people are nurses. They are all certified in quality, and safety. All through implementation we are ‘cueing’ them from a position of expertise. Don says that… “We get them to use their brain instead of their brawn.”
Don: Historically, most users were focused on arithmetic. They would capture data, do basic math, and put it on a report. Managers were drowning executives and decision makers in a bunch of numbers. As organizations evolved, they asked for another way to analyze information, do weighted statistical analysis, and come up with insights to determine what should be done, what is important, where the priorities lie. We put all that effort into this workflow process of ActionCue CI.
Don: We wanted to dive into an underserved and mis-served functional area of health care, to address uniting traditional quality management, safety, and performance improvement. We took background issues and personal knowledge and used innovative technology design to resolve historical divisions, inefficiencies, weaknesses, and challenges experienced in healthcare. Together, we forward-designed and created a collaborative, insightful, accountable, efficient, and effective product solution to manage clinical performance. ActionCue CI delivers better patient care, higher reimbursements, and lower risk for healthcare providers. Because it's powerful and easy to use, the platform delivers by eliminating manual or external reporting and analysis and taking users directly to the insight they need
Don: We considered people and created a more human and user centered application. Complaints we heard about other applications, “I know the information is in there, I just can’t get it out.” We use a technique referred to as, ‘vectors of curiosity.’ What do people want to know in their role with this task on this day? Sometimes they want a different piece of information from a different point of view. Let’s say a particular performance measure (such as infection prevention) is critically underperforming - you may want to find out the details of those numbers. What has been done to improve that performance measure? We provide a natural progression from seeing the number, comparison to its benchmark, and moving into details of the performance improvement action plan. You can see immediately what has been done.
Billie Anne: Surveyors are always going to find something. I believe in being proactive; ActionCue CI can help because information is right there. Maybe a surveyor wants to know about active performance improvement action plans. Take them immediately to a list of performance action plans and drill into whichever ones they want. Using the concept of vectors of curiosity, we (pre-)thought through various approaches to the application. We anticipated where someone would want to go next and made it immediately available using design normalization of fundamentally similar functions. We wanted to create something our support and implementation people can configure initially and then reconfigure as the setting, environment, and size of the operation changes. The 2017 blog article still applies: Customization – The gift that keeps on costing | Prista Corp Drives Improvement in Healthcare.