How high school football prepared me for life in healthcare

November 14, 2016
Andy Lebovsky Integration Engineer

Have you ever returned a punt in a football game? It’s terrifying.

Not only are you wearing one-size-fits-all pads that are meant for someone six inches taller than you, but there are eleven guys running as fast as they can toward you who’s sole purpose in life is to hit you with such force that you…

Couple this with the fact that you’re expected to actually catch the ball and get it back to great field position for your team after a long defensive stand and you begin to wonder why anyone would ever put themselves in that position.

It’s very tempting to just get the hell out of the way and let the dumb ball hit the ground and come to a peaceful stop. The problem is… you can’t.

You have to catch that ball—your team’s success depends on it. And that’s a nice, fluffy statement, but it becomes much more when you’re on the team and have built these intense, meaningful relationships with your teammates. It really matters when you’re depended on, and if it weren’t for the strong bonds and common goals of your teammates, there’d never be a reason for anyone to return a punt. Oddly enough, this same sense of camaraderie—this willingness to make personal sacrifices in favor of a team goal—is absolutely vital to achieving success in the healthcare technology field.

In my previous life as an EHR implementor, teamwork was the name of the game when it came to building and installing a complex electronic medical record at a health system. When one first starts out in this role, the task seems impossible, and you’re wide-eyed with wonder at the fact that someone before you has ever pulled this off.

There’s an unimaginable amount to learn, and so little time to get caught up to speed. You’re thrust right into the fray with a team of like-minded but equally overwhelmed peers, and though you’re completely overwhelmed and kind of frightened, there’s only one thing you can do: Get to work. Simple as that.

And you do. You plow through what needs to be done, and figure out how to make ends meet. You certainly experience more than your fair share of surprises and stressful times, but there are always others going through the same difficult situations that you can lean on for their knowledge, experience, or a shoulder to cry on (to be clear, I was the shoulder. No crying from this punt returner). You manage to get through your first project, and then you move on to your second feeling a little less shaky. You get more confident in what you know, and the people around you keep filling in the knowledge gaps until one day, you’ve completed your twentieth installation and you genuinely have mastered what you once thought was an unattainable skill. 

You caught the ball. You dodged each of the defenders hurtling at you. And even better, you always return the ball the 20 yard line of the other team, if not all the way back for a touchdown. You’re THAT good. 

The point is, when you have a truly remarkable and supportive team behind you, anything seems possible and the successes mean that much more because you’re able to share them with others.

From my experience on the gridiron and in healthcare technology, you can boil a successful team down into 5 key components:

Within Redox’s Customer Success Team, scoring high in all of these areas is critical because we get the opportunity to be a part of more than just the Redox team—we also become part of our customers’ teams, too. From initial sales calls to getting into the gritty details of day-to-day integration projects, we work directly with our customers in ways few other departments can relate to. Jumping onto another team can be tough, but if you come in with a positive mindset and the ability to collaborate effectively, it can be done.  

In order to become good teammates, we learn as much as possible about our customer’s product and mission so that we don’t just watch them win championships, we actually help with the blocking and tackling. We are a part of their team just as much as they are a part of ours throughout these integration projects, and if one link in the chain fails to deliver, the whole project gets delayed. We realize this and rally around one another to ensure success.

At Redox, we have nine company values that we hold near and dear. One of them that speaks directly to me is, “Our customers are our best salespeople because we delight them.”

The key word here is delight. It isn’t enough to simply execute our part of the project—we need to be engaged so that we can proactively get out in front of issues and lend a hand when someone is overwhelmed. We know how important we are in your ability to interact with healthcare systems across the country and strive everyday to make you look good. We know that helping you deliver a product that is technically sound and capable of seamless integration is what’s going to put the game away.

We need to be good team mates because we know a strong team means we win.

If you take nothing else away from this blog post, know that we at Redox want all of our customers to feel like we’re a part of their team. There are going to be bumps and bruises during the punt returns, but integration doesn’t have to be scary when you’re playing as a team.

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