Getting resources to people in need is a complex challenge that takes coordination and collaboration. Especially during the early days of COVID-19, this challenge was more important than ever. Organizations handling this work needed the flexibility to take on this challenge - and WellMed Medical Management has been able to improve this process to better serve their patients.
A network of primary care clinics across Texas, Florida, and New Mexico, WellMed Medical Management mostly serves Medicare Advantage patients, many of whom are food insecure. In an extraordinary move to help these patients get access to food, the company created the WellMed Delivers program. And doing this in spreadsheets and through other manual Gray Work was simply impossible.
Brittany Pratt, VP of Social Responsibility at WellMed, and Tammy Stamps, Manager of the WellMed Delivers initiative, shared the origins of this program at Empower 2023, how they have taken on this dynamic work, and how the processes built to serve their food-insecure patients has allowed them to tackle additional complex challenges with Quickbase.
The origins of WellMed Delivers
Let’s travel to three years in the past, when COVID-19 first hit the scene. The patients in WellMed’s clinics were understandably scared to leave their homes and go to the grocery store. At the same time, food banks were stretched thin. That’s when leadership went to Brittany’s team so they could come up with a solution for patients in need of food—and so WellMed Delivers was born.
“We started very simple,” Brittany recalls. “We were just asking employees to volunteer to go to the grocery store for one of our patients and go deliver the groceries to their door. And that worked for a little while until word began to spread about what we were doing and how we were doing it.”
To put things into perspective, WellMed serves over one million Medicare Advantage patients. “When the word gets out to one million people, the demand is definitely going to grow,” says Brittany.
At first, the WellMed Delivers team managed the program on a simple Excel spreadsheet and took orders via SharePoint. But this solution wasn’t viable for long - leading to an explosion of Grat Work. “As word got out, these referrals multiplied and it seemed like overnight we went from five a day to 300. We quickly realized this was not going to work for us anymore. We needed a fix. And that's where Quickbase came in.”
Streamlining processes with Quickbase
Quickbase was crucial in helping WellMed manage and access volunteer and client records at a glance. Tammy first highlights the landing page, where WellMed sends anyone who wants to volunteer or submit a referral for a client in urgent need of food.
Volunteers share their contact information on a form created through Quickbase, so WellMed knows how to contact them. Once they submit the form, the records are instantly moved to the volunteer interest database. “This holds all of the volunteers in our program,” explains Tammy. “And it's wonderful to have it at a glance. I can see who is in it and where they are.”
Similarly, for patient referrals, a form collects the client information necessary to serve the person in real-time, and moves it to its own database. “What is really great about Quickbase are the fields,” says Tammy. “They're very flexible. You can have a field that's numeric, text, date, multiple choice, checkboxes, anything that you want. So it's really easy to create a form even when you're a novice.”
A game-changer for WellMed is the ability to see the information on both databases intersect in the dashboard. This shows the data in a meaningful way that the team can act on.
Brittany shares an example of this: “Within a week of launching this application in Quickbase, I was very quickly able to see what the workload distribution was like for the team, and it became very clear to me that it was not even. When I saw 60 cases and one pie chart assigned to one member of my team and then to another, I immediately called that person with 60 assignments just to check on them. And she said, please help me. I'm overwhelmed. I would not have been able to act that fast if Quickbase wasn't there to put that data together for me in such an important way.”
This is something that the WellMed team still uses every day. Brittany and Tammy are constantly monitoring the pie charts to understand whether the work distribution is fair.
Getting information to the right people, at the right time
Tammy has to communicate with leadership every week to let them know how WellMed Delivers is doing—yet another task Quickbase has made more efficient than ever. She uses the platform to create weekly and year to date reports.
Weekly reports show leadership the impacted WellMed market. They can see the number of client referrals, what happened to the referrals (declined or delivered, for example), how many were online groceries, and more. “What's particularly helpful about this report is just understanding week to week where the program stands. Overall, are the referrals going up? Are they staying the same? How do we need to adjust to make sure that the program is being supported the way that it should be?,” says Brittany.
The year to date report is also a standout. “Let's say someone in Dallas-Fort Worth is having an event this day. They're going to be doing a presentation and they need the information on how many referrals were completed, how many meals were served, how many referrals we had. I can pull this within seconds and get it to them in plenty of time for their presentation. So it's really user friendly as well,” explains Tammy.
Brittany adds that, from an administrative point of view, the year to date report “really helps me understand where we are budget wise. I can look at the total number of completed referrals and understand, if this is the year to date and we're just finishing up Q1, what does that number look like compared to last year? And do we need to adjust budget-wise or staff-wise to meet this need if we can use that number to project for the rest of the year? I didn't even have time to look at this before Quickbase. Quickbase allows us to see this and it's automatically sent to my email every week.”
Communication with volunteers, clients, and client advocates is essential to keep WellMed Delivers running smoothly. Notifications in Quickbase are what really allowed the team to communicate in real time.
“These automatic notifications are just another example of how Quickbase really revolutionized the time savings of this program,” says Brittany. “And most importantly, the client advocate final outcome message was where we were lacking in customer service in the very beginning. Imagine you are someone who put in a referral for an older adult who doesn't have food and they're about to run out in two days. You want to know what happened with that case. You want to make sure that person is getting their food.”
“My team simply could not keep up with closing the loop on people,” she continues. “And it was just such a relief to know that Quickbase could pull the right data from the data sets to get that notification to the client advocate without us having to do anything except save the changes in the record. And that is the most worrisome part of this whole program, is making sure these people are taken care of, and Quickbase just eliminated that worry for us with these instant notifications.”
The impact of real-time service
Brittany, Tammy, and the entire team behind WellMed Delivers are exceedingly proud of what they have accomplished. And rightfully so— their impact increases every year to the tune of over 22,000 deliveries completed since 2020, equating to 185,000 meals and a $2.3 million impact for the community.
“We just couldn't accomplish this level of success without Quickbase,” says Brittany. “And there's just so many stories of good outcomes.”
Brittany recalls one of her favorite moments, when helping a woman in Florida on her birthday. “She reached out to her clinic and said, ‘Can you help me? I don't have any food in my home.’ They put in a referral through WellMed Delivers. I just happened to be a volunteer assigned to the case that day, so I called her, learned it was her birthday, got her all the usual stuff from our grocery list. But I asked her, is there anything special that you'd like on your day? And we got her a rib eye steak to enjoy for her special day. And I surprised her with a cupcake. So for me, that's what it's all about.”
With Quickbase, WellMed can focus less on the manual work that bogs them down and more on better serving their patients. “It's less worry about intaking the data and outputting the data and more focus on what really matters, which is getting this food to these people who need it."