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March 20, 2024

How top performers bridge the gap between clinical & engineering teams [Part 3]

This is part three of our series on bridging the gap between clinical and engineering teams. If you missed part one, start here.

We're on the final leg of our journey to bridge the gap between clinical and tech teams. Today we're going to focus on quick wins.

1) Swap knowledge over sandwiches. Host "Lunch and Learn"for a two-way knowledge exchange: let tech explain the nuts and bolts of product development and clarify how clinician feedback shapes the roadmap. Meanwhile, let clinicians tell more about the complexity of their (clinical) workflows.

2) Screen for candidates who thrive in ambiguity and have a growth mindset (e.g. I'd rather hire a clinician who used 5 different EHRs in the past vs someone who has been using Epic for 15+ years).

3) Double down on onboarding. Transitioning from traditional healthcare into the fluid, ambiguous world of startups is a lot. Allocate plenty of time to get clinicians comfortable with tools like Slack or Jira, and make it clear that navigating thisnew level of modus operandi is expected to take some time.

4) Underpromise! Clinicians have navigated a minefield of over-promises so building a solid relationshiprequires clear communication about what’s ahead, its timeline, and any hiccups along the way (template provided below).

5) Bring on Clinical Product Managers - actual clinicians only dedicated to enhancing the care experience. Care organizations such as Spring Health (JD), Homeward Health (JD) and FORM (JD) are actively recruiting for this role 

6) Implement feature flags to selectively roll out new functionalities to a VIP list of clinicians who agreed to test drive not-quite-perfect functionalities (I love Statsig for this).

7) Get constant feedback from your clinicians and celebrate those who give feedback (by closing the feedback loop). Some examples:

  • Open a Google Chat with your providers where you discuss features before coding starts.
  • Allow your clinicians to give thumbs up or down to product requests (Rotten Tomatoes kind of vibe).
  • Create a Slack channel where providers can brain dump feedback and open another one called "what-if-we-had" where clinicians list features and the benefits it would bring.

8) Respect each other expertise. Clinicians are unmatched in their domain of diagnosing and treating patients, tech is unmatched when it comes to shipping products. So tech should stop dismissing clinician input as mere complaints ("they're never happy, let's stop listening") and clinicians should stop going straight to an "I need THIS, period" stance.


Quick intro: we’re Thomas and Rik, building Awell - a low-code platform allowing care teams to design, implement and optimize care flows in days, not months. CareOps grew out of our years spent improving CareOps at innovative providers.

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