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From the Company

Moving mountains: innovation in health care takes more than just entrepreneurs

By March 24, 2021 No Comments

Let me introduce myself. My name is Katrina Anderson. I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Clinician Nexus, a platform with multi-directional data sharing that enables health systems, schools, students, and clinicians to coordinate, monitor, and measure student success in clinical settings. Bob Bryan, Tim Schottler, and I started Clinician Nexus in 2016 and we have since supported over 200 clinical sites, 260 schools, and 28,000 students. We’ve raised $2.3 million and are surrounded by some of the most brilliant minds in health care education, business, and human resources.

Those are the results so far, but the story I want to tell is one about the people that helped us make this happen.

I left my previous full-time job in the spring of 2016. My co-founders, Bob Bryan and Tim Schottler, and I spent the better part of that year developing our minimal viable product (MVP) for Clinician Nexus. In hopes to build our solution within a health system, we reached out to members of the Association of Hospital Medical Education (AHME) to see if we could find a willing participant. This is how I first connected with Denise Adams at Riverside University Health System (RUHS).

We received a single response, which was from Denise Adams, GME Institutional Coordinator at Riverside University Health Systems, and we set up a phone call to share what we were doing. Following the demo of our software, we received this email from Denise: “We aren’t choosing this only because we think it will make our workflow better, but also because we like what you are trying to do, your bravery in doing it, and the chance to help you develop a truly spectacular tool.”

Our team will never forget that day. Until this point, we only had an idea and an MVP. Denise and Stephanie Maldanado, RUHS’s Rotations Coordinator, were the pieces to the puzzle we could only dream of finding.

Leading a clinical education department in a county safety-net hospital requires high levels of efficiency. Denise and her team had created the most efficient system for managing clinical learners, but they still continued to struggle with the workload. They searched for solutions for two years before we met. Long story short, they tried every possible solution before they got serious with Clinician Nexus.

What made sense about our solution for RUHS was that we shared a vision for what was most important in our space, the students, and we could create the solution together. In order to make this project successful, Denise had to understand, believe in, and lead the value propositions and outcomes of our work together in her own organization. She did this masterfully.

In addition to Denise seeing the potential, she invited her team into the adventure. In order to protect the data her team was collecting, they maintained it in their legacy system, as well as in Clinician Nexus. In essence, doing twice the work to ensure they minimized any risk. We could not be more grateful for the daily effort, feedback, and commitment to making a solution work, not only for RUHS but for hundreds of other organizations, too.

What our work together looked like:

Every other month in 2017, our teams would meet together to collect both the clinical and school coordinator’s key requirements by asking the following questions:

  1. What are your need-to-haves?
  2. What are your want-to-haves?
  3. What are your nice-to-haves?

Our team would then gather to unpack what we learned, build the features that met their needs, and meet up again to show a demoable version that the coordinators could use and play with to give us feedback. We did this for the better part of a year. During this time, we knew we were planning to move a mountain, and at times it felt daunting. But you move a mountain by moving one small rock at a time. Over time, more and more people join in, and eventually, the mountain is moved.

Clinician Nexus and RUHS have grown into an extended family. This trusting relationship allows both parties to be upfront and real. I feel 100 percent comfortable telling Denise my real thoughts, and while having lunch one day during an onsite meeting I told her, “I think this is working… and it scares me.” Denise replied, “This is nothing to be afraid of, Katrina. We have to keep in perspective what real fear is. This is our work and innovation.” The message I received when she said this was that the work of helping our future clinicians is important and requires our intentional efforts, but does not benefit from our fear.

Today, I believe that our results are the fruit of not just being entrepreneurial, but having a partner in Denise and RUHS to take a calculated risk. Since 2018 RUHS has served Riverside County by offering 5920 clinical experiences to 4816 students as a means to ensure the county has excellent clinicians to care for their population for years to come. The platform we built together has helped them accurately track these experiences, helped them realize 17% additional capacity to teach, and saved their team 50% of their time.

So, if you’re reading this and you have an idea or want to help move a mountain, take the risk. Don’t lose sight of the solution at the end of the journey.

It’s worth it.

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