It goes without saying that the past several years in healthcare have been, to put it mildly, chaotic. Emerging technologies, new government regulations and rising patient expectations are just the most obvious culprits of the chaos and the uncertainty that have gripped our industry. While some may say we have experienced a convergence of issues beyond our control – we see this as a reactive mindset – it could be argued that the chief reason behind our seemingly constant struggles is due to a lack of leadership.
Rather than being proactive during this time of uncertainty, many politicians, administrators, executives and clinicians have been using every ounce of their energies reacting to events that they claim could not be predicted or dealt with in a deliberate fashion ahead of time. Thankfully, a handful of organizations within our community are now taking their rightful places in our industry as learned guides who read events, connect stakeholders and share information so that proactive decision making, not reactionary reflexes, has the opportunity to impact our shared journey into the unknown future.
One example of such a forward-thinking company is Greenway Health, an organization with a rich past and an expansive vision of its future. To more thoroughly explore this dynamic company, we will create a series of special features that, upon conclusion, will serve as a portfolio of perspectives comprising “Voices of Greenway Health.” Our aim with this series is not only to describe the philosophy and goals of Greenway Health in vivid detail. We also hope to encourage other members of our industry to follow their example by actively embracing the opportunity to lead the changes in healthcare instead of remaining passive and reacting to the changes in healthcare.
(Editor’s note: To hear audio excerpts of this interview, click on the media player buttons that run throughout this article. Part two of this four-part series will be published in January.)
Like most companies within our industry today, the history of Greenway Health is not a straight-line story.
Greenway Medical Technologies started as a spinoff from a financially oriented company, and it began with the purpose of improving health and increasing efficiencies in healthcare. Even back then, Tee Green, Greenway Health’s Chief Executive Officer, saw the forces impacting healthcare and he talked about three key drivers in the market that formed the company: electronification, consumerization and improving health.
Greenway Medical Technologies worked along that path until two years ago when it merged with Vitera Healthcare and SuccessEHS to become Greenway Health. When all three companies came together, the executive leadership saw incredible synergies between their combined customer bases, technologies and, most importantly, their vision of leading healthcare into the future. Since then, the company has been pulling together the experiences and insights of their three pasts into a single mission for their new, shared future.
A refined vision for the future of healthcare
A key figure in Greenway Health’s current mission is Robin Hackney, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer. With over 20 years of marketing experience, she started her career on the ad agency side. Later, she worked with startups and then she went on to earn an MBA. She spent the bulk of her career at IBM executing just about every kind of marketing role one can imagine including work within IBM’s Smarter Planet initiatives. One of her last responsibilities at the company was in an industry role where she owned healthcare for North America working along side federal, state and local government officials, and, in the process, developing her strong passion for healthcare. Today in her new role at Greenway Health, she is able to apply her vast marketing experience as well as leverage her enthusiasm for improving health.
I had the opportunity to speak with Hackney to learn more about Greenway Health’s recent changes and its exciting plans for the future.
Free: Will you please describe the thought process behind Greenway Health’s new logo?
Hackney: Anyone who has been through logo development knows that it can be a very arduous process because you can create all kinds of lovely logos that in the end possess no real meaning.
In my mind, our new logo really had to have a strategic significance. In order to define what the logo was going to look like, we had to land first on our three pillars of serve, connect and care. We played around with different ideas and then we realized that the other key focal item for us, a differentiator and something that we want to be known for, is the fact that we want to be a guide working with our customers toward the future of healthcare.
For the past several years, we took upon the tasks of reviewing and monitoring healthcare practices and trends from a number of perspectives: the patient, the industry, public policy, etc. As we monitored these various viewpoints and their changes, we’ve learned how to interpret them for our partners, and we believe our ability to recognize and to interpret the changing healthcare environment provides tremendous value, not only to patients but the industry as a whole.
Free: Would you please explain how Greenway Health developed its mission’s three pillars of serve, connect and care?
So I sat down with various people and asked, “Who is Greenway Health? What makes us tick? Where are we going as a company? Where have we been? What are our particular strengths?” I married those answers with outward-facing market data by asking, “Who is our competition? What are their strengths? What do our customers want? Where is the market going?” From a patient perspective, a policy perspective etc. my excellent marketing team and I merged all of those elements together, along with the broader Greenway Health team, and what we realized was that there were three things that really stood out as differentiators for us that were also truly important to the market.
Free: Greenway Health’s second pillar, connect, seems to be positioned at the perfect time. Connectivity and interoperability are issues that, as an industry, many stakeholders have been looking at for quite some time; however, it has only been very recently that we have been hearing these terms from patients on a mass scale. Is this shift in the awareness of interoperability issues the reason for Greenway Health’s commitment to connectivity?
That was a key focus that we had going in, and so as we saw the tide shift, we saw that this issue was finally becoming important in the marketplace as well. We knew we needed to bring this forward as one of our key pillars because we had already seen it coming and now the market was starting to embrace it.
Free: The final element of the new slogan is “care”. It seems so obvious, but at the same time, it’s also very nebulous as well.
Hackney: When it comes to care, you are right. This was perhaps the hardest one to define because there was so many other things that you could try to highlight to appear unique, but when we looked at why we formed the company to begin with and what our motivations were, which was really all about improving care, it was clear that it had to be included as one of our pillars.
During this rebranding process, we asked ourselves, “Why is our industry, in terms of providing effective care, in the situation that it is in today?” A lot of it has to do with the aging population and chronic disease which drives up cost which makes it more difficult for people to have access. Therefore, we asked, “What can we do, as a company, to tackle that problem?” We understand that one of the fundamental things around chronic care and chronic conditions is that it is not as simple as you just take a drug, or get a test or have surgery. Chronic care requires habit changes that need to be made in addition to following prescriptions and so forth.
We looked at that set of issues and we knew we can help tackle those problems because they are all about the patient provider connection. So we have our tools, our portal and Greenway Link, that help with communication between the patient and the provider. They also provide the necessary visibility to help a provider be proactive as opposed to reactive and, in turn, help the patient to be proactive instead of reactive and coordinate care. We know that if we can help drive that process, then we can save lives and improve care.