How to Get Better at Human Care with Addison Hoover, Senior Director, Client Development at Docent Health
Episode 86

Addison Hoover, Senior Director

How to Get Better at Human Care

Unlocking the value in the space of engagement by creating a marriage of people and technology and meet the needs of a changing consumer marketplace

How to Get Better at Human Care with Addison Hoover, Senior Director, Client Development at Docent Health

Episode 86

How to Get Better at Human Care with Addison Hoover, Senior Director, Client Development at Docent Health

How to Get Better at Human Care with Addison Hoover, Senior Director, Client Development at Docent Health

: [00:00:01] Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring healthcare leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez

Saul Marquez: [00:00:19] Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket podcast where we chat with today’s most successful and inspiring health care leaders. I want to invite you to take a look at our rating and review page through Apple podcast. Go to outcomesrocket.health/reviews and you’ll be able to check it out. Give us a rating and review for what you thought about today’s episode because we have an amazing guest. His name is Addison Hoover is a consumer experience advocate multi industry innovator currently at Docent Health where they’re moving and shaking with client development and their Charter. He’s charged with deep ethnographic and market research efforts to understand the complex healthcare ecosystem we all know how complex it could be and he looks at ways that Docent health can really use software and human services bounce at all out to get amazing patient experiences. So he’s been doing it for quite a while. I want to open up the microphone to Addison to round out an introduction. Addison, welcome to the podcast.

Addison Hoover: [00:01:21] Thanks all I really appreciate you having me. Yeah well really flattering introduction and excited to spend some time talking about what I think Docent health considers to be the patient revolution that we are experiencing in healthcare today. So thank you again for the warm introduction and really look for today’s conversation.

Saul Marquez: [00:01:38] Absolutely and we had an interview with Sanjay Shah a couple of months ago and he just couldn’t stop saying amazing things about you and what Docent does. So really excited to dive in there as well.

Addison Hoover: [00:01:51] Sanjay is one of my favorite partners and people to engage with a real healthcare thought leader and it’s a huge compliment that he’s a big fan of Docent health love to hear.

Saul Marquez: [00:02:02] Absolutely. So what would you say got you into the medical sector to begin with.

Addison Hoover: [00:02:06] Yes so I have kind of an interesting background in that I still consider myself to be a relative newcomer to the healthcare sector and so the first decade or so of my career was really spent focusing on the transformation that were taking place in the retail and hospitality and the kind of end of my run in the banking sector and what was really the consistent thread across those was this idea that there was a customer revolution happening in each of those spaces and retail it really started as there was a transition to e-commerce and the Amazons of the world were threatening kind of traditional brick and mortar in the hospitality space. This idea of consumerism and access to digital channels was rising in the banking space and industry that actually think I can draw a lot of parallels to the healthcare sector heavily regulated have to deal with a lot of compliance data privacy regulations are often considered a really archaic industry was beginning to have major agita about the new entrants of digital players about these aging archaic branch networks and what we’re going to do to help augment the customer experience in a manner that would meet with sort of new tastes and the new approach that was required by customers and so that had been my focus for the better part of the 10 or 12 years. And in parallel just kind of through great timing I was introduced to one Docent inhealth cofounders royal Tuthill who is a new york based entrepreneur and healthcare whiz. And we began to have these conversations about the similarities that I was seeing in those adjacent verticals what healthcare was beginning to see in terms of megatrends around growing coinsurance and high deductible plans and the rise of urgent care and the fact that this industry seemed really primed for disintermediation because of things like consumer frustration and new technologies and data availability. And I began to feel this real personal excitement that oh my gosh health care was primed for transformation and I believed this next you know run of entrants we’re going to be the ones to get it right. And I wanted to be part of that. And so I don’t know that joining the medical sector was an idea I had at the earliest stages of my career. But as I had begun to develop pallete for consumer experience and design what I saw coming on the horizon in healthcare really excited me and that was where the opportunity and the alignment with Dosen health was really just a perfect fit for me.

Saul Marquez: [00:04:24] Well there is absolutely no doubt in my mind Addison that you’re passionate about the consumer experience and I love what you said. You said the consumer revolution right. The industries that are ripe for it. The parallels with the financial industry. It’s exciting. And so it just makes me wonder within the topic of consumer experience what do you think a hot topic that leaders should be focused on today in healthcare.

Addison Hoover: [00:04:51] Yes and I’ll start by saying I am passionate I do think this is going to be without a doubt. I know as I hear it I see it. I don’t feel any sense of negativity or blame for the things that health care is grappling with today. I feel nothing but optimism and appreciation for the chance to help mold and shape where I think healthcare can go and I think if there’s a topic or an area of focus you’ll hear a lot from health system leaders today around engagement and empathy. I would take that maybe a layer deeper I think those are the right starting points but to really unlock value in the space of engagement I think we’re really talking about is service design and thinking about how we create this marriage of people in technology and use those and are really mindful manner to meet the needs of a changing consumer marketplace and you started with this idea of a consumer experience and I like the idea of referring to patients as consumers. I believe they have changed in so many unique ways because of some of the things I mentioned earlier on high deductible plans because of things like FSA and HSA. They are looking at health care decisions like consumers would in a retail purchasing decision in a travel purchase or in a financial decision and so I think making sure that we from a leadership perspective understand that engagement really trickles down to this idea that we design services and experiences through technology and people in a meaningful way. And I would also say in a way that doesn’t isolate it to what happens within the four walls of the brick and mortar hospital located. Thinking about that continuum of care to me is I’m obviously biased and I’m passionate about this space but I think this is becoming kind of a preeminent focus for healthcare leaders today and I think it’s the right one. It really excites me that there is this newfound energy and focus on how do we optimize for that longitudinal patient journey. What happens before the patient experience what happens when they’re under our care within the hospital’s walls. What happens long after they left the hospital and returned home and begun their normal lives again and thinking about health care in that way I think really changes the paradigm for how we think about delivering quality service and care to our patients.

Saul Marquez: [00:07:02] That’s really insightful Addison and just before the holidays we had the pleasure of having Dean Galea. He’s he’s the dean of the school of public health at Boston University and he talked to us about changing the script in healthcare and I think this is exactly what you’re doing. You’re taking this very simple but powerful shift in let’s stop calling these people patients let’s call them consumers because that’s what they are. This small shift could lead to huge huge change.

Addison Hoover: [00:07:34] It’s small but it’s a really difficult one in that I think healthcare is going to hurt. It’s not just understanding that we have a consumer ship but it’s unlocking the types of things that are significant to consumers because they’re not often the things that show up in an age gaps report and they’re often dissimilar to the things that we’re talking about in health system leadership meetings and so I think a point of pride that we have a docent health is that we don’t just take people first attitude and then chalk it up to grabbing a couple of people for a panel. When we take on a project in maternity or an orthopedics or in cardiovascular we actually go out into the marketplace and spend time interacting with people that have had a hip replacement or given birth recently those types of conversations especially when they’re in ecosystem someone’s home in someone’s neighborhood in a local hang out up you begin to unlock these insights about what mattered to them across their patient journey. What were their points of apprehension where were their expectations met or not met. These are things that are really hard to glean from a patient satisfaction survey or an H Kaps report or administering a quarterly patient panel with two or three voices that are the same ones showing up each time around. And so I think doesn’t health has really try to take a deep ethnographic approach to understanding how we can unlock value and to really personalize these experiences and I think that’s the only way at least philosophically to me we can create tremendous customer experiences in the healthcare sector and so I think your point. It’s small but it requires some really unique approaches to finding where there’s those tributaries of value in the eyes of the actual consumer that the patient themselves.

Saul Marquez: [00:09:12] You guys are the anthropologist’s of healthcare man. You’re getting in there. You’re figuring it out. You’re not taking survey data you’re getting into the field and getting it done and listeners if you’re trying to find a way to make a better impact and to unlock as Addison says unlock that value you’ve got to spend time with your consumer, with your patient. And so there’s some really great things here. Addison can you give the listeners an example of how you guys have improved outcomes with these ideas and what you guys are up to.

Addison Hoover: [00:09:42] Yeah happy to. So you mentioned Sanjay Sanjay is a leader at Dignity health for their great partner of Docent health and as an example of kind of a project that really got deep and sort of ethnography. We spent several months in and they’ve got programs live with us today across maternity crossed with Predix and spine and a number of areas and cardiovascular. Each time we would do that we would say let’s say there is nothing in the playbook right. We were totally rewriting the script. What would we want to do differently in this new World of maternity O.B. ortho etcetera. So we’d actually go spend time in the communities at Dignity health Serb’s gaging with patients having them walk through a longitudinal patient journey with us identifying all the positives and negatives they experience their emotional biorhythm and then from there using our service design team at Docent health we’d say we really thought all of this where there are moments where we could really choreograph the theater of this experience and add an appropriate touch points and information and education at stages were perhaps that patient is it being engaged with. And so as you begin to do those things you’re not just improving the experience and you certainly are right. If you look at NPF scores are each kept score as willingness to recommend. There are some really important deltas when you do those things right along that critical path so to speak. But there are other vectors of values here too right. We’re also beginning to see things like behavioral change right as you engage more actively as you provide greater degrees of support and across channels that are the preferred means for a given patients like to be over the phone over text over email. All of a sudden right we’re starting to sound like the retail industry or the hospitality industry as you do those things. Haters begin to change with our patients so you know I can quote We’ve got a project in the maternity space with Dignity health where their patients are 10 to 12 percent more likely to take Digney health prenatal education classes when they’re being supported by the Docent health program. Those are really monumental shifts in terms of patient behavior that happened because we’re taking a more consumer centric approach to supporting them along their maternity journey. Other vectors of value are things like how we provide additional support and do the right things for these patients so can we make sure that they’re feeling a level of preparedness with their DME or they understand their caregiver transitions post their total knee replacement. These are things that often we believe are being taken care of but they’re being taken care of and are really fragmented away or in an inconsistent way by clinicians via physician work that a patient has when they’re there meeting with their surgeon or when they transition into the care of the hospital. Those are elements that we’re trying to stand out. Those points of friction with when you do that you’ll see changes in education and expectation management in terms of providing additional support and then ultimately all of those begin to roll up into improved age caps and net promoter scores.

Saul Marquez: [00:12:27] That’s really cool. And Addison you know I’m I’m sure the listeners that are not familiar with the way that Docent does with what you guys do they’re probably wondering well what is this is this is a software platform is this an army of people like what is the solution here that we’re talking about here.

Addison Hoover: [00:12:44] I probably jump right into it and.

Saul Marquez: [00:12:45] It’s all good. I just want a little of that. Yeah.

Addison Hoover: [00:12:48] And to be totally candid Docent health didn’t exist 24 months ago. So we’re a startup Boston based. And we have I think a really unique philosophy that says hey there are some difficult challenges to be solved for in the Patient Experience realm within healthcare today and Docent health has taken a stance that on the human side of things providing more people can be wonderful and can create higher touch experiences. But in addition it’s very costly and it’s very difficult to scale on the technology side. There are some great data science. There are some great workflow tools. There are also very cold. So you don’t necessarily create the level of touch and relationship that we think is important for transforming patient experiences and so those in health has really taken sort of a marriage of both of those and designed along not just a digital or a physical or human axes but across X Y and Z axes of each of those. And so we can deliver various sort of configurations based on hospitals needs. And think of it as sort of like the tech is enhanced CRM platform. We talk a lot in this world today about like precision medicine that CRM platform is how you get to precision experiences and how you choreograph the right steps for individualized patient journey. And then we also have Docent hospitality trained employees that if a given hospital says we just don’t have the liaisons or the coordinators or the volunteers that can help manage some of these points of outreach and touch points in the inpatient setting we can actually embed those Docent health service team members into your environment to help augment that patient journey and provide additional bandwidth to your standard traditional clinicians. Right. Your charge nurses your physicians et cetera. So Docent health has really kind of taken a two pronged approach that’s both technology and this sort of advanced precision experience driven CRM solution on one side. And on that second side for those in need of assistance on providing really high touch experience we actually have a service offering as well.

Saul Marquez: [00:14:44] That’s really cool and appreciate you jump in to those details for the listeners because at the end of the day folks what Addison and his team are up to and what you could see and probably hear you hearing this is that the commitment the level of commitment and it’s that whatever it takes attitude that they’re putting into this whatever it takes to make it work and looking inside and outside of the health care box as we talk about here on the podcast they’re all and so really just appreciate it highlighting how you guys do it. And it’s really whatever it takes.

Addison Hoover: [00:15:18] 100 percent. And I believe that Sanjay would talk about this our partners at the Hospital for Special Surgery would talk about this and we’re really lucky in that we’ve gotten to work alongside some world class organizations that share this philosophical focus on this is the wave of the future and this consumer revolution that the tide is just now beginning to crest and we are lucky to work with so many thought leaders that feel the same vigor and energy and passion that we do and so that we are 100 percent. And it’s it’s an exciting time for of.

Saul Marquez: [00:15:51] Well I could see your sleeves are rolled up and you are just gathering friends. Best way to spend the morning with you. All right so let’s walk through a couple of things here. You guys have obviously had some great success early out the gates. Four months into it. What would you say in this time frame a setback that you had or the company has had and what you learned from it.

Addison Hoover: [00:16:11] I think it’s maybe of a partially shared set back for both the company and for myself professionally. And this is sort of the nature of the biz when you transition verticals and you come to a space that’s so differentiated as healthcare is. I think in the first probably six to 12 months of our business we were talking all about the customer experience and obviously that’s woven into our DNA. But I think for a number of health systems in America today the concept of focusing on the customer experience is still relatively in its in its infancy. And so we didn’t necessarily do a great job out of the gates of creating that connective tissue between a focus on customer experience is really a focus on creating improved engagement that drives retention that drives loyalty that can drive growth and acquisition of new patients. And ultimately we have data to show the downstream consequences that this can have on culture on operational efficiencies on staffing age and all of these these positive tributaries of value. I just don’t know that I think in my first probably six to 12 months with those health I did a great job of connecting those dots between hey we’re talking about customer experience what we’re really talking about are the things that customer experience does for you in terms of creating a propensity for loyalty and growth and improving culture and operational efficiencies. And I think healthcare is in that sort of stage of maturation where making sure that we can draw those correlations is really important because industries like retail and hospitality for the last 10 20 30 years they’ve been absolutely focused on customer experience. They know what that means in terms of bottom line impact in terms of customer satisfaction impact. I think for healthcare the lesson I’ve learned in my transition has been to make sure that I can create those correlations so we understand what we’re talking about and continue to highlight it for those health systems that haven’t necessarily prioritized customer experience. Why this is so important for you as we look to the future.

Saul Marquez: [00:18:12] That’s such a great great lesson and really appreciate that. You know just thinking about all right. I’m totally into the consumer experience but I am in a new land with new language and I just have to figure it all out again. And you did it really quickly so kudos to you for doing that so quickly and doing it because some people don’t do it and they suffer. Right. So congratulations on that and the insight that you just shared is really awesome. Thank you. Thank you. Tell us a little bit more about an exciting project you’re working on today.

Addison Hoover: [00:18:43] Yes I kind of hinted at this idea of precision experiences and one of the fun things that happens when you’re a startup is you go from the earliest days where you’re beginning to engineer a product and you’re beginning to partner with great teams like Dignity health and the hospital for special surgery to understand where their pain points are and where can we provide assistance in helping them better cure rate experiences for their patients. You know the earliest days of Docent health who was just beginning to get that shit pointed the right direction will now at just over two years in our own company maturation. We now have tens of thousands of patients that we’ve interacted with. And so I think as far as an exciting project that gets me really I think really jazzed is this idea that we now have this trove of data that we can begin to carve up and analyze in creative ways at least to my knowledge in my infancy within healthcare. I haven’t seen done elsewhere that’s beginning to give us this insight into maybe not so much big data but maybe what I would call really small individualized data that can tell us here’s the ideal critical path for serving this type of patient. This moment in time at this stage in their journey based on their experiences. And as we begin to kind of sort through that that really personalized small data as opposed to big data we’re getting to some really big answers. And I think it’s going to allow for us to take the work we’ve done with some of our anchor clients and extend that now as best practices for the next sort of traunch of customers and partners at Dosen health begins to work which is really exciting to me.

Saul Marquez: [00:20:15] That’s really exciting and it’s that domino effect of creating amazing things in one place. And you guys have a template that you could share with other providers across the nation. And that right there is all about removing silos and improving outcomes which is what we’re all about here outcomes Rockett and you guys are doing such an amazing job so I’m super stoked for you guys.

Addison Hoover: [00:20:37] Thanks. Disney used to talk about it and he’s like a personal idol of mine in terms of experience design but the magic of people in the setting and processes. And I think healthcare is so lucky to have so many of the best people I’ve ever worked around. I mean so dedicated and so committed to the hospital and patients that they’re serving what I think we’re beginning to unlock are some of those values on the setting and the process piece because I think we’re beginning to open that aperture to where we can design services outside of the four walls of the hospital itself. And beginning to think about healthcare as a continuum not as a static moment of time. And I think this is where the industry is going in the fact that I believe we’re beginning to unlock some of those best practices. Gosh just so ecstatic right.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:24] Now that’s so great. Addison this has been a lot of fun. We’re down to the part of the podcast where we’re going to do the leadership course you and me putting it together here. The ABC is of Addison Hoover and health healthcare outcomes and so we’re going try out a syllabus for questions. Lightning round style followed by a book that you recommend to the listeners you ready.

Addison Hoover: [00:21:44] Let’s do it.

Saul Marquez: [00:21:44] Awesome. What’s the best way to improve health care outcomes.

Addison Hoover: [00:21:48] Let’s go with engagement. And I think it’s the right engagement so it’s not just gauging with patients it’s engaging with nurses and physicians to understand what the needs are and unlocking value across those different key stakeholders is really I think the most important and best way for improving health outcomes.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:04] What’s the biggest mistake or pitfall to avoid.

Addison Hoover: [00:22:07] Assuming everyone understands the value proposition of investing in customer experience.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:12] How do you stay relevant as an organization. Despite constant change.

Addison Hoover: [00:22:15] I think for us the secret sauce is listening and it’s listening not just to your customers but to every member of a patient’s journey and making sure that we’re in tune to their changing needs. And if you do that I think you say humble about assuming you know the answer is I think that’s a trap that in this course that we’re going to teach we’re going to try and make sure to ensure that we really have to know our customers and not assume that they think and are wired the way we are. If we do that I think that’s how you stay relevant as an organization.

Saul Marquez: [00:22:47] And finally what’s one area of focus that should drive everything else in your organization.

Addison Hoover: [00:22:52] For us I think it’s people right. I think it’s people both in the sense of customer and in terms of the key stakeholders nurses hospital leadership for us they can try to keep people at sort of the center of our vision is the ethos of Dosen health.

Saul Marquez: [00:23:05] Awesome and Addison what book would you recommend to the listeners here on the syllabus.

Addison Hoover: [00:23:10] You know I came prepared. I’ve heard you asked this question and I said I knew I knew it was coming and I think I’m going to give to just because I think you know most get a health care provider and if there’s one health care book that I really think in many ways probably shaped my decision to switch industries. And that book would be transforming health care it’s written by Charles Kennedy. It’s really the Gary Kaplan story of transforming Virginia Mason. If you’ve not read it I just I feel like it really shifted my thinking about health care leadership in the modern era and it’s an inspiring read that cools and I have a bias for this but it pulls from a lot of different industries in terms of design terms of Lean In terms of processes and I think if there are healthcare leaders listening to this podcast that are looking for a bit of inspiration I think the work that Gary CAPLAN as Virginia Mason team have done and how it’s captured in the Transforming Health Care book is as a phenomenal read and then my second one is not healthcare related and it’s old but my favorite book in all of my coworkers are going to laugh at me when they hear this on Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence others I think is timeless. I look at so many of the pieces that are alien the customer experience in healthcare today and I go back and read that book each year to refocus on those insights around how we communicate through body language the verbiage we use how we make eye contact. So many of those things are the very essence of the relationships we build with the people that we’re honored to support when they walk through our doors and I think you know we have a responsibility to think about how we deliver our best selves when we have a patient that we’re engaging with either in their home in a clinic in a hospital and I go back to that one. I think it’s it’s informed so much of how I think about delivering great quality human to human experiences and in our course if we’re teaching this one so those are the two books that we’re going to have is kind of required reading.

Saul Marquez: [00:25:02] Boom there you have it. Listen there’s an amazing selection of books I love the commentary there. Addison How to Win Friends and Influence People. Maybe the title should be How to Win patients and influence people.

Addison Hoover: [00:25:15] I like that feature.

Saul Marquez: [00:25:16] And I’ve so listeners don’t worry about writing any of this down just go to outcomesrocket.health/Addison that’s A D D I S O N and you’re going to be able to find all of the show notes as well as links to Docent and the books that Addison just recommended. As in this has been a blast and what I want to do is just open up the mic to you one more time so you could share closing thought. And then the best place where the listeners get a hold of you.

Addison Hoover: [00:25:44] Yeah so I mentioned the very top of our conversation that my last stint prior to coming into the healthcare space had been in the banking sector. Another industry that’s been really struggling to kind of course correct in terms of customer experience and when I was in that role I ran a survey for several months where I ask folks about the best customer service they’d experienced in recent memory and we surveyed thousands of people from coast to coast was a really cool piece of market research and I remember looking back at it and in the financial sort of focus of my day. I was pointing to all of these bankers and credit union leaders and saying look at this. When people think about great customer service only 5 percent of people mention a bank or a credit union as the last place they were served really well. Well now I’m in healthcare and I went back to that old research and it was sub 1 percent had would say that their last great customer service experience was somewhere across a health care journey and so I guess maybe where I’m going with this is my last thought is I believe that that number can be exponentially higher than 1 percent and it should be. These are such important moments of truth and I want our patience and the docent health customers that we partner with to feel empowered to provide experiences that are if not equal to better than the experiences delivered in hospitality or in travel or in retail or in banking. I think the charter I feel today is to help make that vision a reality. So I’ll leave it with that and say that if anyone wants to engage in that reality you can find me pretty easily on LinkedIn. On Twitter I’m @addisonhoover and would love to keep this type of conversation going. I really enjoyed our dialog today, Saul.

Saul Marquez: [00:27:30] It’s been a pleasure and I really appreciate the insights. Looking forward to staying in touch with you my friend.

Addison Hoover: [00:27:34] It’s been great. Will talk soon.

: [00:27:35] Thanks for listening to the outcomes rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.health for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

Recommended Book/s:

Transforming Health Care: Virginia Mason Medical Center’s Pursuit of the Perfect Patient Experience

How to Win Friends & Influence People

The Best Way To Contact Addison:

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How to Get Better at Human Care with Addison Hoover, Senior Director, Client Development at Docent Health