Get Real Health’s Robin Wiener Tells About Valuing Employees and Health IT in Pandemic Times
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Robin Wiener: Both my husband and I were fortunate to recover from Covid-19 in the spring, so we took this pandemic very seriously. We, like everyone else, have adjusted our lifestyle to focus on family time and staying safe.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Get Real Health.
Robin Wiener: I founded Get Real Health as a professional services company with two partners in 2001. We were the typical small business start-up and took advantage of the County Tech Incubator and government services. Our first big break came in 2007 when Microsoft tapped us to be part of its HealthVault product launch, the first of the online personal health records. From there, we shifted our focus to Health IT and soon released our InstantPHR product, which is now helping millions of people manage their health around the globe. We were acquired last year by CPSI and are thrilled to be a part of their family of companies.
How does Get Real Health innovate?
Robin Wiener: We are the rare combination of thinking outside-the-box while maintaining old-fashioned customer-focused processes. We use an iterative approach to developing all of our solutions, so clients are with us every step of the way. Our favorite part of the product life-cycle is showing clients the possibilities they never dreamed existed. Our expertise anticipates where the market is trending and helping our customers stay ahead of the curve with cutting-edge products. As much as we assist our clients, they also are an integral part of our product road map, and we rely on their feedback to learn and grow through real-world experience. I honestly don’t think enough companies are willing to take that negative input and put it to good use moving forward. In many ways, this feedback-driven update cycle keeps our customers invested in our products, which is critical for retention and growth.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Robin Wiener: I could really go on and on about our team and how they have pivoted and thrived amid the chaos of the pandemic. We are a highly collaborative group. If you visit our office, the walls are literally whiteboards where we scribble ideas and wireframes all day long. Going to an all-remote workday was a complete 360 from our norm. However, not only have our employees kept pace with current clients and projects, but they developed and released a new product in the span of two weeks. This new offering gave telehealth capability to our current customers and is now a standard part of our platform options. In fact, we are using our platform to assist in Covid-19 tracking and research for the citizens of Rhode Island, Maryland, and a large Canadian Province. We have also signed new business both here in the US and abroad, all working remotely and accommodating varying time zones.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Robin Wiener: We consider ourselves very fortunate that the value of our products and services has been heightened during the course of the pandemic. We have not had to cut staff or decrease work hours for employees and have gotten wonderful support from CPSI… However, the flip side of that positive is the negative impact of employees having to balance an increased workload while balancing family responsibilities and stress. We have learned that mental health cannot be ignored in the workplace and look past the bottom line and focus on the whole individual. This summer, I drove around with another member of our executive team and delivered gift baskets to employees to boost morale. I have found that creative thinking is not only integral to professional growth but from a human resources perspective as well.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Get Real Health in the future?
Robin Wiener: I really do strive for balance even in non-pandemic times, which is sometimes easier said than done with clients around the globe. I try to exercise and eat well, and these days a healthy dose of Hallmark Movies is a nice escape. My family is very good at reminding me when it is time to step back and gain perspective. I would say that is a definite positive of the pandemic, the gained time with family. As much as I miss larger gatherings with friends, there is something very restorative about watching movies on a big screen in the backyard with my kids.
For the future, I am very optimistic that this pandemic has finally made the rest of the world see what we have been preaching for a decade; there is great power in interoperability and patient engagement for the entire care continuum. The shift in the care we’ve seen in 2020 with options like virtual visits and remote patient monitoring will become the new normal. We are excited about providing the tools to enhance care outside facility walls.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Robin Wiener: It seems everyone is looking to jump into online health in some fashion. From established companies like Epic to non-traditional entrants like Walmart, there are an array of options. What keeps us on top is the flexibility of our products. Our platform can integrate with literally any existing software or HIE. So, instead of starting from scratch with a new solution, organizations can improve what they have and better serve patient demographics. We truly believe in patient-centered care, and our commitment to fulfilling that one singular thing sets us apart. This is all we do, every day, and that expertise and laser focus make for improved health outcomes, better workflow, and, in most cases, increased revenue and patient loyalty for clients.
Your final thoughts?
Robin Wiener: I feel so very grateful for my team, our parent company, and my partners. We struggled for many years and definitely paid our dues, but we never once doubted that success would come. That faith in what you are doing is what gets a company through the lean times. When I slow down and take stock, I realize there is nothing better than knowing we are helping people live better lives. Our work has a true meaning, which means that what we do at Get Real Health is not a job but a passion.