“Kristin Walker is a scientific thinker” is not something I ever thought I’d hear … from anyone. In fact, if someone did make that statement I would probably ask what they added to their protein shake that morning. My name included in the same sentence with the words “math” and “science” just does not compute. Don’t get me wrong: I have my talents but I also know my limits.
My acknowledged and apparent lack of skill in these areas has been a running joke throughout my professional life. It is not uncommon for a colleague to send me a clip of a Saturday Night Live skit with one of our political figures parodied on Jeopardy stating, “You said there’d be no math!” Or colleagues like Dr. Darrin Hanna, CTO of a Behavioral Health EHR, who will jokingly text me during contract negotiations, “Listen, when it comes to the numbers part of the contract just let me review it for you,” followed by an evil smile emoji.
Of course, such teasing is all in good fun, as I’m the first to admit to not just my strengths but also my weaknesses. By admitting my shortcomings it allows me to bolster those areas with other people who exhibit those talents. That’s how everythingEHR works—and oh, how the team at everythingEHR has grown over the last year. By taking on the right people for our needs, we have evolved into a tight unit with specific skill sets that can better serve your needs.
But what exactly do we do?
It has been hard to explain precisely what “it” is that we DO. The most publicly social thing we do is host a radio show Mental Health News Radio that is downloaded globally. All of our shows enjoy a certain popularity because of the wide diversity of topics, but it is the programs we have done on narcissistic personality disorder, psychopathy, and sociopaths that have given us real global reach.
We also work with Behavioral Health practices as well as community mental health organizations and academic institutions. Using our specific expertise and experience we help them find the best electronic health record systems, revenue cycle management, business development, and outreach programs for their needs. We work with their staff on Meaningful Use attestation, HIPAA compliance, EHR implementation, and the list goes on and on.
Another source of inspiration for us is working directly with the vendors that support the Behavioral Healthcare market: EHR and billing companies, funding agencies, and ancillary technology innovators. Just recently another fantastic EHR organization reached out to us simply because they Googled “commercialization in the EHR market” and our website was the first in the display. We are proud to nurture their growth so they can better serve mental health organizations.
Last but not least, we are invited to speak at national conferences on healthcare and technology about a host of topics. Whether it is clinical workflow, revenue initiatives, or how to gauge a technology company’s effectiveness: we have our fingers on the pulse of Behavioral Healthcare and we love sharing that information.
At everythingEHR we work together to effect all of the above. While I am at the helm, this ship is sailed by the talents of many others as well. Our experienced and innovative clinicians, administrators, marketers, developers, technology advisers, and strategic partners have unparalleled expertise in Behavioral Healthcare. And believe me, I’m not blind to the talent I’m surrounded by in those who share this everythingEHR journey with me. So as I think of our success, I’ll try to pinpoint what it is exactly that I do best.
What is it that I do as the CEO?
I unexpectedly stumbled across the biggest part of this answer when our CFO, Joy Wanden, came across an article, The Secret to Creativity, Intelligence, and Scientific Thinking: Being Able to Make Connections, and forwarded it to me. It took me a month to read it because it has that word science in it, which I immediately attributed to some form of math (which means it goes into the “read next year” folder). Clearly this article is not meant for me, I thought.
I am so glad I read it anyway. The article explained everything I could never put into words about what I excel at and what it is that I do–I make connections. To summarize the technicalities, this involves linear thinking and is oft maligned by categorizing someone as a “networker.” A kindred spirit, Jay Lacny, Director of Business Development for a Behavioral Health EHR and CEO of a CRM organization, is another master connector. He and I have been known to spend a few ADHD moments (this diagnosis serves us both) discussing how this skill is sometimes ignored and misunderstood in the professional world.
But it shouldn’t be.
This skill has served me well throughout the decades I have been an entrepreneur—after I learned to apply it to the right people. You see, when I first entrenched myself in the Behavioral Health marketplace, I tried in vain to help a couple of small organizations connect to other entities so they could grow. It did not work but I know now it was due to nothing I did or didn’t do. I learned the hard way that if an organization cannot stand on its own because of faulty leadership and/or bad technology, I was actually doing a disservice by connecting them with other entities in Behavioral Health. It was through these experiences that I learned all about narcissistic personality disorder. There were very painful yet profound moments in which I learned that I cannot help solve anyone’s problems if they’re not willing to address them. The very nature of this disorder lies in the fact that the person or organization affected does not believe they need to change.
As I read further into this article, I came to realize that many of the ideas I tried to implement with our first vendors fell flat. Were these former vendors more successful because of our involvement? Absolutely. Did they maintain the same level of success after our departure? No. But why did so many ideas never take off when these same principles and ideas now work wonderfully with all of our other clients?
Most of our early ideas weren’t faulty on their own. But at the same time, they couldn’t take off because they were being applied to the wrong organizations. Once in the right hands they grew like wildfire (and still do). Finding positive entities to place your ideas–where they are respected, acknowledged, nurtured, and taken to far greater places because of our clients’ innovation–is what we do best. And, though our first journeys working with Behavioral Health vendors may have been unhealthy ones, I have to say we remain thankful for how those experiences helped us understand where to put our energy in the future.
I am thankful for the journey.
We created a set of standards which we apply to every client relationship that has come since then and we practice healthy, safe and necessary boundaries. We also gained the knowledge of how to properly vet a company, especially its leadership. Out of uncomfortable experiences we learned how to nurture highly motivated vendors and Behavioral Health organizations. We work hard to strategically partner with the top minds in our field, like Michael Myles, CEO of Active Marketing, and Scott Lloyd, President of MTM Services. Let me tell you how incredible it is to volley ideas back and forth with peak performers like these in the healthcare space. How could I not be thankful for the awkward process that brought me to this awakening?
I now look at all experiences, good and bad, as catalysts for the next venture. It is quite true what some say about growth often being born of our most painful experiences. I have been able to finely tune what I was already good at–connecting the “right” people with one another–and I have learned how to turn this skill into a successful organization. Some of our clients are competitors with one another and yet we work hard to balance this reality because our mission is about supporting the greater good in Behavioral Health. Whatever is best for the provider and the patient always works for us. We want great technology vendors to grow because they support our mission: stellar provider tools and superior patient care. We want great Behavioral Health organizations to grow because they support our mission: stellar provider tools and superior patient care.
So what’s the point of all this, anyway?
The point of all this is to tell you that as the CEO of everythingEHR I have finally figured out what it is that I do best: making and nurturing connections. And now that I have science to back me up (enter smiley faced emoji here), I can continue doing what comes naturally. And that is helping to connect all of you, in whatever capacity that comes, always thankfully, ever graciously.
Kristin Walker, CEO everythingEHR
Host, Mental Health News Radio
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