Gratitude, nurses, and data: key ingredients to health innovation, with Dr. Bonnie Clipper

January 13, 2021
Josie Rasberry

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For episode five of our podcast, we spoke with Dr. Bonnie Clipper, Chief Clinical Officer at Wambi. Bonnie joined us to discuss her work at Wambi and her experiences in the provider space. In this episode, we discuss the importance of collecting positive data to encourage healthcare professionals and prevent burnout. We also talk about the importance of patients controlling their healthcare experiences, and giving nurses the resources to be innovators.

Steven Cutbirth, our host and Head of Marketing, and Matt Dale, our Founder and CEO, discussed a wide range of topics with Bonnie, resulting in a podcast episode that’s got something for everyone. You can listen to the whole episode here or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever else you listen to podcasts. If you’re short on time, we’ve included a few highlights from our conversation below:

Steven: What do you see as the role of the provider in encouraging patients to be active in their care? And I think there’s multiple pieces of that. That’s choosing their care, their decision-making, and encouraging them to be engaged in their health, but also in their consumption decisions. Because it’s a pretty expensive choice, right. So they’re having to weigh a lot of factors. From your perspective and your experience as a provider, how have you seen that play out?

Bonnie: I, myself am not a provider. However, as a chief nursing officer, as a chief nurse executive, my facilities and my organizations are where patients have come for their care. So we’ve really leaned a whole lot into the patient experience. Particularly, how we can actually shore that up and help convey data back and forth that creates meaning for leaders and for individuals to improve how they communicate, how they message, and how they serve others.

So I think data is going to continually be an important role. There is such a disconnect though, right? When we think about this from a healthcare perspective we often put people into a very large bucket and think about healthcare and how we’re going to get this best digital platform or that digital platform, and how are we going to get that to these patients? I would almost invert the question to think about: before we go too far there, how do we bring everyone that currently isn’t even able to access care into the conversation? When I put my nursing hat on, my biggest concern, yes, is around quality. However, it’s really about bringing millions and millions of people into the same expectation of a healthy life and health & wellness as a platform to sort of springboard off for the rest of your life.

Steven: You were the Vice President of Innovation at the American Nurses Association, and you’ve written a book on nursing innovation. It sounds like a fun role. What was that like? What were you able to do and maybe what did you learn from that experience?

Bonnie: Yeah, that was an absolutely amazing experience. And through that, I crafted the innovation framework for the ANA, which really allowed us to bring four million registered nurses into the innovation space. If you think about it, nurses are natural innovators, but we don’t teach them about innovation. We don’t call them innovators. Instead, we just do work arounds. We MacGyver, we do what it takes to care for our patients. We need to call that out as innovation because that’s what it is. And oftentimes when nurses have these really amazing ideas or solutions, we give them the million reasons why we can’t. “It’s too expensive. We tried that but this department won’t do that. This person won’t do that. It’s not in their job description. That policy says otherwise.” We throw literally every roadblock in front of them that we can. So my experience at the ANA really allowed me to help educate nurses on innovation. Give them some hands-on experiences. I actually facilitated the largest nurse hackathon ever, 850 nurses back in 2018. So it started to help bring nurses into that space. Now there’s kind of a small army of nurse innovators around the country that continue to bring nurses into this space. And as a result, not because of me but as a movement, nurses are incredibly bright, bright people that are very resourceful. There are nurses that have multi-million dollar companies, some that have actually exited rather successfully. We’re seeing all kinds of amazing things pop up as a result of that.

You know, even the work that you guys are doing: lots of opportunity, as we talk about improving the patient experience. You know, it can’t just be about look and feel. It’s really got to allow them [patients] to have more control about what happens. You can tell I have some strong opinions, and one of them is that insurance shouldn’t be driving the patient experience but they are. Which is partially why we have to decouple insurance from employment because people are too afraid. You know, if you have a job, you can’t mess that up because it changes your insurance. I have no control over my insurance. It’s part of my job, right? So the good experience I had with the company last year is gone. And now here I am rebuilding all new provider relationships again, because the other ones aren’t part of the new insurance. So until patients control that, it’s a game. It’s a joke. It’s whack-a-mole.

If you want to hear more from Bonnie, listen to the full podcast above and follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter, and check out Wambi.

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