During a crisis like the pandemic—or the civil rights movement we are experiencing at this time—innovators are given permission to move more rapidly than “normal” to create change and foster new ways of thinking and doing. In health care that means reimagining care delivery and how to innovate the way we meet and engage audiences on their care journeys.

There is no doubt in our minds that when we look back on this time in health care history, innovations in patient care, as well as how we successfully communicate with patients, will be numerous. It’s why we invited two health care innovators to join us around the Hailey Sault Campfire.

Watch our Campfire Session, COVID-19’s Call-To-Action: Innovate. Or read below for key takeaways from our webinar event!

One 6/18/20, Mike, Ann and Stephen were joined by:

The discussion included:

  • How DispatchHealth is embracing innovation.
  • The evolving needs of patients at this moment in history. 
  • The opportunities available to innovate.
  • Leaning into risk.
  • Your ability to be an innovator.

Innovation at DispatchHealth

DispatchHealth’s mission is to create the most advanced and complete in-home care model in the world. Kevin Riddleberger shared: 

  • 17 to 21 percent of 911 calls don’t need to be transported to the emergency department. 
  • DispatchHealth started in the Denver, Colorado market as a response to the above statistic.
  • The company provides on-demand health care for people in their home. 
  • It has expanded from answering 911 calls to offering urgent care in the home and is developing an in-home hospital care model.
  • DispatchHealth has grown from 1 vehicle, staffed by a nurse practitioner and paramedic, to 70 vehicles in 19 markets.
  • It has saved the markets it operates in a total of $250 million in unnecessary 911 transports and improved patient outcomes.

Rallying to innovate and provide care during COVID-19

  • Kevin described the culture of innovation at DispatchHealth by humbly explaining:
  • “We don’t talk about innovation that much within the organization.” 
  • Instead, everyone from software developers to those in the field and the leadership team come together to answer one question—what does the patient need?
  • Each meeting begins with a patient story.
  • During COVID-19 the company worked to create coordinated care throughout its 19 diverse markets, partnered with a care facility in Denver to make PPE, created accessibility to care for patients who lacked access to their providers, and built a virtual care option.

Looking beyond the pandemic

  • DispatchHealth has begun to provide senior care in the home. And as mentioned above, is moving to design an in-home hospital care model. Right now it is:
  • Providing care for seniors and in so doing is able to address some of the social isolation needs seniors are experiencing due to quarantining.
  • Partnering with food banks in order to carry food in their trucks to deliver to patients who are in need. 

Your evolving patients

As a digital health care and customer experience strategist, Chris Boyer provided some light bulb moments and a practical look at how to innovate to meet the evolving needs of patients.

  • The needs of patients and their perception of care has changed in the last three months.
  • People are scared and uncertain about the future and what to do. They are looking to us, as health care authorities, for education and a clear understanding of what to expect when they receive care.
  • We need to keep in mind that we may have to pivot our communication as the virus ebbs up and down and our understanding of it continues to change.

Innovation through listening 

Chris introduced us to three words: Listen. Empathize. Define.

  • In times of crisis it is important to listen and empathize with our audiences’ needs and define how we can answer those needs.
  • It is through careful listening and empathy that opportunities to innovate reveal themselves.
  • This is an opportunity for us to think revolutionary and act evolutionary.
  • Throughout the innovation process we need to be constantly learning and iterating.

Taking risk—telehealth

Kevin explained that one of the things that has challenged health systems previously has been the lack of availability of a payment or revenue model to back up innovations, such as telehealth. Those revenue models have opened up right now, giving health care the opportunity to change the way it operates. He believes telehealth is here to stay.

Experimenting and taking risk—marketing and communication

Chris, Mike and Ann discussed the importance of leaning into risk right now. 

  • It’s time to jump in and get patients back.
  • It’s time to take what we learn from listening to our patients and experiment with marketing messages that speak directly to their needs and concerns.
  • It’s time to run multiple campaigns and begin reading the market in real time. 
  • It’s time to track and measure results weekly instead of every 30 days.
  • If something isn’t working, it’s time to quickly change the message. If something is working, it’s time to reinforce that message.
  • We need to use social media as our mini testbed to introduce solutions to our audiences’ needs, to quickly get messaging and/or videos out that put our audiences at ease, talk about safety and show our patients what to expect when they come in for their appointments.


1. The DNA of an innovative organization is one that asks, “How are we best serving our customers?”

2. The time has never been more exciting for health care, to answer the needs of patients through innovation.

3. Innovation is not a solo journey. It includes a diverse team listening, empathizing and defining solutions.

4. It’s time to act quickly, to experiment, take risk and capitalize on creating the health care experiences our patients are craving right now.

5. It’s time to be in the market with messages patients need to hear from the authority they want to hear from—your organization.

We’re in this together

As we think about this time we’re in, now more than ever, we need ideas, insights, and community. We hope our Campfire Sessions are providing the conversations you are craving about the issues and opportunities facing your health care organization and its leaders. 

Make sure to sign up below to receive invitations to future Campfire Sessions and links to past Campfire Session recaps.