During a recent volunteer event with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Karl Nicholas followed his team into the woods and was immediately greeted by a committee of wasps.
“I ended up getting stung by about 20 wasps,” Nicholas said. “I was kind of freaking out.”
There in the woods, with no doctor in sight, he readied his phone, opened Medici, a healthcare messaging platform, and contacted his primary care physician.
“After my doctor stopped laughing at the absurdity of the situation, he walked me through the life-threatening signs that I should look for, gave me a plan of action to stop my panic and prescribed me medication in case an allergic reaction were to occur,” Nicholas said.
Fortunately, he didn’t have an allergy to wasp stings and recovered — at least physically — without issue.
“Being able to have access to a medical professional that instantly is so powerful,” Nicholas said. “My case wasn’t that serious, but for someone else, it may have been life or death.”
Medici’s efforts to modernize healthcare through digital doctor visits may be a broad mission, but it’s one that these employees say drives every decision the company makes.
Nicholas, who is an inside sales manager at Medici, along with Mackenzie Merriam, a UX designer, shared how Medici’s mission inspires product, leadership and more every day.
Developing an ‘empathetic product’
To recreate the doctor-patient relationship, Medici aligned its workforce to a set of keywords: caring, ambitious, resourceful, excellent and speedy, or C.A.R.E.S.
For Nicholas, that means applying C.A.R.E.S. to his everyday tasks, regardless of where it ranks in importance.
“Am I being thoughtful? Am I being caring when I'm handling a task?” Nicholas said of applying the keywords to his daily work. “Am I using all the resources available to me? Am I bringing excellence, and how quickly am I accomplishing the task? It’s like a checklist.”
As part of the sales function, Nicholas said being resourceful is just part of the job, as is quick thinking.
“In healthcare, there are so many different moving parts and any software that a practice uses is never going to be an exact fit,” Nicholas said. “Our team has to quickly convey how we can best help them.”
That means talking with medical professionals on a daily basis to learn what their needs are and evaluate how they are currently set up to support patients.
We have a mission that’s powerful and impacts so many lives in such a meaningful way.”
On the product side, Merriam said she and her team leverage Medici’s values to prioritize and direct their focus. This helps them eliminate spending time on projects that don’t move the business forward.
Of the five, Merriam said caring and resourceful playout the most.
“Being in UX, the whole idea is to empathize with your user,” Merriam said. “We hold a lot of interviews with doctors using our app because we care about their experience.”
Doctor experiences make up only half of the equation. Medici’s other half, the patients, consists of users from 8 to 88 years old. With no specific demographic, Merriam and her team have to design with everyone’s experiences and expectations in mind. For example, Medici said they’ve included high contrast ratios and larger fonts to ensure usability for both younger and older users.
“Our whole structure is very different from people’s current mental models of healthcare, and when you're doing something that’s that different, people don’t have an idea of how things work,” Merriam said. “It’s our job to use design to guide them, and not make assumptions on people’s understanding.”
To ensure Medici is meeting those expectations, and following in line with their “caring” value, Merriam said they recently implemented an “ambitious” high-touch engagement discovery process to collect ongoing feedback that will inform future UX iterations.
The more feedback, the better the experience.
“We have a mission that’s powerful and impacts so many lives in such a meaningful way,” Merriam said. “For some, it’s smaller, and for others it’s life-changing. Knowing that we have such a big mission is always good to keep in mind and keeps me driven.”
While Medici’s mission and values find their way into its platform and sales techniques, Nicholas and Merriam said leadership and company-wide internal initiatives reinforce them.
The C.A.R.E.S. Award recognizes employees once a quarter who embody the characteristics of each value on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, at Medici’s town hall every Friday, leadership reviews successes for the week, what’s on the following week’s docket, and how it all aligns with their values and furthers their mission.
Since true KPIs don’t yet exist for measuring how successful Medici is at recreating the doctor-patient relationship, Merriam and Nicholas said the company shares user success stories and the numbers of doctors they’re signing up each month to benchmark.
“One of our veterinarian clients recently told us how helpful the app was for a pet owner with a 100-pound dog,” Merriam said. “Instead of bringing the dog in for a rash, the pet owner was able to send a picture and get recommendations and prescription without having to take time off from work.”
Plus one for Medici.
Our leaders make an effort to embody the values and lead by example.”
Another power user of Medici’s app, a doctor, recently informed Merriam and co. how effective the app has been with older patients — something Merriam said she had been concerned about. Chalk that up as another Medici win.
In addition to programmed awards and company-wide meetings, Merriam said leaders often make explicit connections to mission and values through meetings and informal recognition.
“Our leaders make an effort to embody the values and lead by example,” Merriam said. “Whenever we’re with them and brainstorming, they’ll often mention, ‘Have we thought about it from this angle with this value in mind, and how would that play out?’”
To get to the root of how healthcare relationships work — recall Nicholas’ instance of “kind of freaking out” in the woods — Merriam and Nicholas agree that empathy and sticking to Medici’s values have been the guiding light for the team.
“With something as strong as recreating the doctor-patient relationship, once you really dig into that and you understand the problems in today’s healthcare system, it’s something that we’re really passionate about, and that goes from the top all the way down to the bottom,” Nicholas added.