Written by Amanda MacArthur and Husna Ali-Khan
Over the course of several weeks this summer, teams consisting of 40 employees from SAP, Medtronic Foundation, BD, and Celanese came together in the Reimagining Community Health Systems Challenge to develop recommendations for enabling broader telehealth access for the thirty million Americans who utilize Community Health Centers as their primary source of healthcare. The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and the Iowa Primary Care Association (Iowa PCA) served as the Anchor Partners for the Challenge—both posing a complex challenge they were facing with regards to enabling telehealth access. Working in cross-corporate teams of five, Challenge teams heard from internal and external stakeholders through a series of panels and Voice of the Customer Sessions and participated in weekly office hours with the Anchor Partners as they worked to understand the problems and develop potential solutions. On August 27th, the teams pitched their recommendations to a panel of six judges consisting of a representative from each of the Lead Sponsors (SAP and Medtronic Foundation) and two judges selected by each Anchor Partner. The judges then had a week to review the final deliverables, and on Friday, September 4th, the winners were announced. Each solution was judged on six criteria – Innovation, Social Impact, Sustainability, Desirability, Feasibility, and Viability.
This has been such a unique and rewarding opportunity for us as challenge participants. I’m so appreciative to have been able to work on this Reimagine Series with such wonderful organizations and people! When do we start the next one?!
—Jennifer DerHovanesian, Senior Solutions Engineer at SAP and member of the winning Tele-Transformers team
The four teams assigned to Iowa PCA were asked to consider the current needs for improving telehealth access across Iowa, which is complicated by the lack of consistent broadband and cellular access in many parts of the highly rural state, and then to develop a roadmap that the organization could use to roll out consistent, high-quality telehealth services across its 13 community health clinic members. In an incredibly tight contest, the winning solution came from The Tele-Transformers, with members from SAP, Medtronic Foundation, and BD. Their solution took a three-pronged approach, including recommendations around Strategy and Process Improvement, Technology Systems and Software, and Marketing and Training for both patients and healthcare providers. The team scored exceptionally high on Sustainability and Social Impact, and the judges were especially impressed with how thoughtful they had been in thinking about the end-users, including both patients and caregivers.
I was so impressed with how much was covered and well thought out within the time allotted. I hope the teams take away a new perspective on rapid innovation and are proud of contributing ideas and tools that are meaningful!
—Tiffany Aquino, Senior Manager, Strategic Initiatives, Medtronic and Judge for the Reimagining Community Health Systems Challenge
Teams assigned to NACHC, an industry organization that has led in training, advocacy, and support of community-based health across the country, were challenged to create a clear role and business plan for how NACHC positions itself in the telehealth landscape, including a recommended strategy for operationalizing this plan. After drawing insights from over 19 different stakeholders during the Challenge period, all teams concluded that NACHC’s strong position and trusted name in the industry had to be the starting point for a solution. Yet, based on the diverse skill sets of these multi-company teams, they landed on very different solutions, proposing everything from a turnkey solution for telehealth in the form of an app, to the creation of a national data exchange across current members as well as state and national level partners. In the end, the R/Evolution Lifeline team created the winning solution that prompted NACHC to consider elevating its role as a national leader in telehealth policy and advocacy through guiding best practice, establishing standards of work and care delivery, and advancing the telehealth space to provide equitable healthcare to Community Health Center users and patients. Recognizing NACHC’s strategic partnerships and possibilities for data analytics, their solution received major points on Feasibility and Desirability because it bridged the gap between those who deliver care and the federal agencies who fund care.
The Reimagining Community Health Systems Challenge was the first in a planned series developed by PYXERA Global in partnership with leading global corporations and influential Anchor Partners over the coming months. Challenges are designed to address the systemic fractures surfaced by the COVID-19 pandemic and draw on the diverse expertise, perspectives, and life experiences of corporate employees working pro bono in virtual teams to develop innovative solutions.
To learn more about the Reimagining Community Health Systems Challenge, go here.
Co-Author Husna Ali-Khan
Husna is an Associate Director for Global Pro Bono. Her career spans ten years in social impact programming focused on education, gender, and capacity building. After managing a nationwide teacher training initiative for primary and secondary school teachers across Iraq, she fostered academic partnerships between American and Iraqi universities, including the establishment of first of their kind career centers across the country. From 2012 to 2015, Husna oversaw the U.S. Department of State’s bilateral initiatives to promote the employability of 2,500 minority women, with a focus on IDPs fleeing ISIL violence. More recently, she helped operationalize a social business turning rural Indian women into clean energy entrepreneurs.
Husna holds a BA in Communication from The George Washington University and an MSc in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. She has traveled to thirty countries and is fueled by a passion for food and indigenous culture.