[Editor's note: This month, we're featuring 2015-16 fellow Jake Vildibill in our Alumni Voices series. Earlier this week, Jake shared his experience during our informational webinar which provided more information about the fellowship and recruitment process. To view the webinar and to apply for the 2017-18 HFA fellowship, CLICK HERE.]
About six months ago, my time as a 2015-16 Health for America at MedStar Health fellow came to a close, and I took a position as a Product Analyst at Docent Health. At the end of the fellowship, I could not have imagined just how much would happen in the next 6 months of my life, and that’s saying a lot after 11 months with HFA.
Simply put, Docent Health is a patient experience company. We make beautiful connections as a service model implemented in a hospital, and our teams enable employees to build relationships with patients as a team instead of in silos. We hire our team of “Docents” as non-clinical patient navigators/advocates and delicately insert them into the hospital workflow, empowered by our technology platform.
I came on to the team in September, and my main function was to help in the design of our first full implementation. Not to be too cliché, but for the first week, I was faced with a new, blank whiteboard every day. Talk about déjà vu. To say that Health for America prepared me to face that challenge would be a significant understatement. Using a favorite concept of our 2015-16 fellowship, you could say I have some new superpowers:
I am comfortable with ambiguity.
After a few weeks of design, the Docent team was filled out a bit and we started planning for D-day. Two months after I started, I jumped on a plane and traveled across the country to begin building the service model we had been planning. Traveling across the country to unfamiliar territory was again a bit of déjà vu, and I felt grateful to have the experience from HFA under my belt. I was gone for nearly two months.
I am comfortable traveling and working at an unfamiliar hospital.
Two of my teammates and I were lucky enough to serve as the company’s first Docents on the ground. We fleshed out the specifics of our design and then trained our first ever team. This experience was completely unique. We were building the workflows, standard operating procedures, and communication channels—while actually providing our service at the same time.
I am comfortable building the ship as we sail it.
Currently, I am dual-tasking—fleshing out some projects at headquarters while offering my experience, and a few weeks of my time, to our second full implementation as a company. My projects span from designing new service offerings, to operations design, to robust data modeling. Even though my projects span many different fields, I have been excited and view it as another great opportunity, all because:
I am comfortable applying my skills across many healthcare disciplines.
When I finished the Health for America fellowship, I knew that I would appreciate the exposure to healthcare. I knew that the relationships I had made were priceless. I knew it would be a unique and valuable life experience. But what has been surprising to me are the little things that I have carried with me into this next step in my career. I feel strongly that Docent has positioned itself right on healthcare’s horizon, and the work I am doing could be very impactful. But even in this new, broader “land of confusion,” I feel confident in my abilities, comfortable in the ambiguity, and excited to learn more.
Jake Vildibill is a Project Analyst and founding team member at Docent Health in Boston. Read all Alumni Voices posts here.