Update From the Field: National Association of Community Health Centers

Last week, the BIF team visited Bond Community Health Center in Tallahassee, Florida and Eau Claire Cooperative Health in Columbia, South Carolina to conduct interviews with leaders, staff, and patients as we continue our work with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). BIF and NACHC leadership are joining forces to explore the questions:

How might we shift our lens to uncover innovation opportunities that will transform how we serve patients?

How might we collaboratively innovate, going farther together?

How might we continue to promote equality in the healthcare system?

We learned a lot in our four day trip down South, and a few insights emerged as we look toward the next phase of the project.


Key Insights we Learned from their Healthcare Leaders:


The role of Technology in healthcare systems

When speaking with leadership teams at the sites, we learned that technology is helpful but not the long term solution to fix the healthcare system. According to Donnell Durden, Coordinator of Community Relations and Outreach at Bond Community Health Center:

“All of the technology works, it helps, it helps us amplify our message. But nothing is more important than getting outside, touching the people, shaking hands… reaching out to them; letting them know that we are here for them, we want their business, but more so, we’re here.”

Emerging technologies help deliver value in the real world, but are not at the core of creating healthier communities. Technology can be utilized as a component to support larger system changes that focus on the human experience first. If they’re constrained by today’s business model, technologies will only deliver tweaks, not transformation. It is crucial that we consider technology to be a supplementary aspect of innovation, rather than innovation itself.


Medical services are only 20% of the health centers job-to-be-done

Keeping in mind the increased importance of the social determinants of health when considering the actual services needed to successfully run a community health center, medical services only cover about 20% of all patient needs. The remaining patient’s jobs-to-be-done are met through enabling wraparound services like transportation, having access to childcare, caseworkers, insurance specialists, social workers, and nutrition education outreach, among others. While none of these wraparound services are actually separate from a comprehensive care model, often these services are unacknowledged in traditional healthcare experiences. The wraparound enabling services compose the majority of what community health centers do for people, but these services are often non-billable and intangible in healthcare. By adopting a more evolved definition of what health and wellness look like for individuals, we gain a better understanding of service gaps and experiences, realizing that wraparound services provide a more holistic and comprehensive solution to their pain points.

What innovation means to healthcare leaders

When speaking with community health center leadership teams, we gathered that innovation means changing the way care is provided to better serve patients and families, leading to healthier, wholesome outcomes. It also means not accepting the status quo. But what does innovation look like within community health centers? Dr. Robinson, CEO of Bond Community Health Center posed the question:

“When we consider innovation, we need to ask ourselves- Is it a good fit in the community? Does it fit the mission? Is it feasible and sustainable? Can you see passion and excitement among your team and will that lead to lasting partnerships?”


Innovation means staying true to your core values while also not allowing the way systems work today to dictate what’s possible for a better future. Eau Claire Cooperative Health Center’s leadership team focuses on how their founder instilled in them the mindset and perspective that there isn’t anything they can’t do. Innovation isn’t easy in this context, but core business models need to change if we strive to continue breaking down the barriers of inequality in healthcare.


Looking Forward

Look out for the next update from the field highlighting the patient perspective as we continue to make discoveries in our research with NACHC.


For more on our work, visit our case study here: National Association of Community Health Centers Case Study

Healthcare Storytellers to Watch at #BIF2018

This September 13-14, 500 innovation junkies will convene in Providence, Rhode Island to listen to 32 storytellers share their passionate stories about transformation at the annual Business Innovation Factory (BIF) Collaborative Innovation Summit. BIF’s Patient Experience Lab is most excited to listen and learn from these 5 speakers from the healthcare industry:  

Andrew Hessel

Andrew Hessel

Andrew Hessel is the CEO of Humane Genomics Inc., a seed-stage company developing virus-based therapies for cancer, starting with dogs. Andrew is also the co-founder of Genome Project-write, an international scientific effort working to engineer large genomes, including the human genome. He is also a Distinguished Researcher at Autodesk Life Sciences and a faculty member at Singularity University.  Andrew is a reputable speaker helping people understand the biotech industry. He enjoys presenting to groups with government, academic, and commercial backgrounds. Check out Andrew at BIF 2016

Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia

Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia

Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia is the Executive Director of the Cook County Department of Corrections where she oversees mental health strategy. The Cook County Jail, located in Chicago, is home to 2000-2500 inmates suffering from mental illnesses. Nneka focuses her work to slow the rate of mentally ill individuals re-entering the prison system by developing the Mental Health Transition Center to build a system of support for inmates re-entering the community. She became warden of the Cook County Jail in the Spring of 2015, emerging as one of the first clinical psychologists to run a prison, understanding how a large portion of the jail’s population suffers from mental illness. Read more about Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia here.

Darden Smith

Darden Smith

Darden Smith is a singer-songwriter, a founder of a non-profit, an author, and a return BIF Summit speaker. Darden has produced 15 critically-acclaimed albums in his 32-year career. Mental health is often hard to talk about, however, Darden is helping American heroes tell their story, release often invisible pain and forge new connections. His non-profit, SongwritingWith: Soldiers helps soldiers and their families cope with the aftermath of combat by using music as a form of expression. Darden is an accomplished speaker and often shares insight into the lessons he learned as a singer-songwriter, how he re-made himself into a non-profit founder and entrepreneur, and his evolution as an artist. Check out Darden at BIF 10.

Ken Falke

Ken Falke

Ken Falke is a 21-year combat veteran of the US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal community and retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer. Ken’s passion for taking care of his fellow vets led him to develop Boulder Crest, America’s first privately funded wellness center that assists combat veterans and their families. Boulder Crest focuses on an alternative approach to treating PTSD and depression. Ken is also an accomplished author and recently released his book, Struggle Well which focuses on post-traumatic growth. Ken is highly respected around the world as an innovative and forwardthinking leader on the subjects of wounded warrior care, military and veteran transition, counterterrorism, military training, and innovative technology development.

Emily Levy

Emily Levy is the CEO and founder of Mightywell, a company that aims to “turn sickness into strength”. Her products allow patients to live a more comfortable life by helping them to maintain their dignity, health, and confidence through functional and stylish apparel and accessories. At Mightywell, Emily encourages a strong, digitally-driven community where peers can talk about their experiences and find strength in each other.


This year’s BIF Summit will be a welcome place for healthcare innovators and leaders to connect and find inspiration to transform the industry. Are you a healthcare leader who shares BIF’s passion to innovate and transform? Email Will to talk about this year’s Collaborative Innovation Summit

Connect. Inspire. Transform. Register #BIF2018

Voices of the Innovative Learning Network (ILN)

On May 8-10, the Innovative Learning Network (ILN) met in Charlotte, North Carolina to discuss and explore business model innovation in the healthcare industry. I found it amazing to see such a diverse group of innovators – senior leaders, doctors, nurses, and directors of innovation just to name a few. With everyone’s different backgrounds, we were able to tackle the looming question of business model innovation in healthcare from all angles and perspectives in a safe space where thinking outside the box was encouraged.

Business Innovation Factory (BIF) hosted the meeting to lead a 3-day workshop with Atrium Health. The workshop was designed to take the ILNers through our Design Methodology and Playbook for Next Practices and New Business Models process using a case study from our past work with Children’s Health in Dallas. In groups, we started by shifting our lens to understand the pains, gains, and job-to-be-done from the customer’s perspective. Then, we took the customer’s current experience as a foundation for imagining a new customer experience that relieves the customer’s pain points, maximize the gains, and completes the job-to-be-done. Finally, we tested a low fidelity prototype and put it up to the constructive criticism of the other groups.

We met with a few top healthcare trailblazers from a variety of different organizations and backgrounds who aren’t afraid to operate in the ‘scary’ space of business model innovation to ask them a few questions. We asked them about their personal take on innovation, the obstacles they must circumnavigate to innovate within their company, what innovative questions they want to explore in their company, how they prepare for future business models, and how they differentiate between transformational and incremental change.

While healthcare leaders understand the imperative of business model innovation, it is often scary to disrupt a large system that has been in place for years. When the motto of healthcare is “do no harm,” it is hard to be the guinea pig to test out new business models and next practices. Our goal was to help them make the business model innovation process safer and easier to manage.

I found it fascinating how unique, yet similar each person’s response was to these questions. The ILN is such a great catalyst for future business models because it provides a place for members to discuss and explore business model innovation in a safe way. Tim Rawson from ILN said that the event was a meeting, not a conference because in a meeting, things can go wrong. It was clear that everybody, no matter who they were felt confident sharing their perspective and wasn’t afraid of failure, rather they embraced it.

From the ILN In-Person meeting and the interviews, I learned how there is a clear imperative for business model innovation in the healthcare industry. Leaders are ready and willing to make that next step to transform their business models, but they just need a clear path forward. At BIF, we make the step towards next practices transformation safer and easier to manage. It is no question that patient’s values have changed; they want to feel empowered to take control over their health and overall wellness. They want to understand their health in normal terms and have a clear path to achieving their wellness goals. By transforming business models to align with customer values, not only will the customer be happier and healthier, but the business itself will perform better under new metrics of success.

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Changing the Quality of Patient Experiences for Families with Autism


For my first blog post as the new Patient Experience Lab Manager at Business Innovation Factory, I wanted to talk about something that I am passionate about because it is personal. I want to share a story about Autism awareness month and my little cousin Cole, a 12-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Autism right around his first birthday.

As Cole grew older, I saw the pain and struggle that my family went through on a day to day basis just to trying to live a normal life. To gain a deeper understanding, I called my aunt last night to ask her a few questions. What are the challenges? What needs to be transformed? What is missing from the social aspect of families and family members afflicted with Autism and other disabilities?



According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 68 children has Autism Spectrum Disorder, a shocking 30% increase in the last two years. Further, the Associated Press reveals that 8% of all children born in 2018 in America will have a disability, and 10% of children stuck below the poverty line will be born with a disability.  



After speaking with my aunt, she revealed that there is little to no social support for families with members that have disabilities. When a child has autism, it can be hard for families to do normal things like go out to dinner or meet other families that have similar pain points and struggles. “We often feel isolated and alone,” she revealed. “We just need a place where families can be families.”  This inevitably puts an immense pressure on the family – there are not many ways that these families can connect, to unwind and relax, to just be human. Virtually no support groups exist for parents, everything is social media driven and parent run. There are not enough support systems for siblings to talk about their sisters and brothers who are different. In terms of overall wellness, there is a huge gap between what parents and siblings need and what is available to them. Mothers and fathers just want a normal life for their family, and siblings can find it hard to fathom why their family is different and are often embarrassed because they think that others don’t understand.

Even though the services available to families with autistic members are often not enough, there are not nearly enough resources present for social support systems. In other words, there are services available to cover the clinical definition of well-being, but that is not enough. There are not enough resources available for families with members that have disabilities to cover the emotional definition of well-being. In past work, we at BIF have identified the key drivers in overall well-being as a balanced outlook, sense of self, a solid support system, connected knowledge and personal power. From our research, we know that children with medical complexities have extremely high needs and unpredictability, causing moms, dads and family members to live under constant stress. We have examined the experiences of medically complex kids and identified new opportunities to support the whole family better in ways by connecting moms and families in similar medical situations, relieving unnecessary burdens that fall on parents, adapting homes and hospitals so that they feel more comfortable and familiar, equipping parents with the skills they need to provide for their child, providing parents with opportunities to personally develop, and reducing barriers to social life.  It pains me to see how many elements of complete well-being are missing for families with members that have disabilities.

There is absolutely a job-to-be-done for these families and I am excited to explore the possibilities of working with families with children on the autism spectrum to gain a deeper understanding of their pain points, their needs, and how we can support their overall wellness beyond the few services that are currently available. I hope for a future where children with autism and their families do not feel ostracized. I hope for a future where families are connected and given the tools that they need to thrive so that living a normal, peaceful and happy life isn’t out of the question.

To learn more about the work we are doing in PXL, visit us here.