Remote Operations: Thriving as a Distributed Workplace During and After Pandemic Conditions

Remote Operations Author Steve Whitehurst, CEO, Health FidelityIn my last post, I talked about how to maintain operations under a crisis, how we transitioned to full-time remote, and what we’ve learned we’re probably going to carry forward from this. That’s only step one, though. Step two is not just how to maintain, but how to keep pushing forward as a distributed workplace.

This brings me to the larger picture of remote, rapid innovation in a crisis. To navigate the pandemic, we needed to assess the market and determine how to respond, how the market may recover, and how we might need to retool to address a different world both during the crisis itself and in the world we may find on the other side. This is everything from protecting our HF team and their livelihood, stressors on the company itself, demand changes, acceleration of trends, and any unplanned obsolescence of elements previously considered crucial in the industry. Above all, it comes down to protecting the team here at Health Fidelity and our clients, defending against any potential short-term revenue declines, and finding ways to thrive, now and in whatever is coming next. Let’s dig into an example of how we’ve done that.

As a younger company, we carry an expectation, some of it internal, some of it from our clients, to have a certain agility when it comes to developing and refining products and services. And the infrastructure that has allowed us to pivot to remote work for the sake of our own safety has had a carry-on effect when it came time to step in and help our partners.

On April 22nd, we announced a free telehealth suspects report for our clients that ingests data points on a given population, prioritizes patients based on treatment viability, likelihood to engage, line of service, and helps hospitals struggling to deliver non-COVID-19 related care to better reach out and check on their patients. We are, by and large, a risk adjustment technology partner. Until a couple of weeks ago, telehealth wasn’t really risk adjustable for most lines of business, so it wasn’t just an area we weren’t innovating around, our solutions had filters in place to prevent the clients we support from having to assess those encounters at all. Now, they can use Lumanent to code these telehealth encounters based on up-to-date rules from CMS, and we’re helping them find the people that can receive that care in the first place. This is free for our healthcare provider partners and exclusively to help them do their job that much easier at a time where resources are tight and solutions need to be immediate and effective. It’s not just a name for a software utility, it’s an actual solve, or at least amelioration, of a problem.

I was genuinely impressed with how quickly the Health Fidelity team was able to effectively collaborate as a distributed workplace. Watching them work together, there’s no other way to describe the responsiveness and support for each other and our goals. Part of our hiring process is cultural, and a lot of that is having a personal stake in healthcare; in feeling that by supporting our partners, we’re helping ensure ongoing access to care for at-risk populations many of whom are chronically ill and vulnerable. Our mission continually propels us, no more now than as we’re collectively, as a planet, working to mitigate, treat, and hopefully eradicate an illness.

Being ready to adapt to shelter-in-place because of the systems we had in place to support an already semi-distributed workplace set us up to pivot to a full remote operation fairly well. This reduced any disruptions or losses. It was, in that sense, a very effective defense. However, to keep going forward, it’s more than adapting your operation to keep the lights on, you have to keep pushing, you have to have an offense. That’s where I’ve really seen the HF team show up throughout this, whether it’s updating our current solutions, retrofitting those same solutions for a remote environment, net new development, or just looking out for each other.

With the right systems, the right people, and the right goals, it helps define the difference between a great company under good circumstances, and a great company no matter the circumstances.