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Is It Possible to Use Technology to Actually Enhance Relationships? Absolutely!

Megan Shea, Senior Business Analyst, HealthySteps

Megan Shea, Senior Business Analyst, HealthySteps

As a recent addition to ZERO TO THREE and HealthySteps, and during a pandemic no less, I had no idea what to expect when I first started here in June. A senior business analyst is usually the glue to a product. We own a product and we interface with the users, the developers, the project managers, and everyone in between. It’s less about technology and more about people. We spend a lot of time listening to our teams and then designing ways to make their workflow and lives easier through that product. My main question as I joined the HealthySteps team was: How do we make lives easier when we can only communicate across Wi-fi and all we see of each other is half a person in a small square box on a screen?

HealthySteps is an evidence-based pediatric primary care program that promotes the health and well-being of babies and toddlers. One way we do this is by supporting HealthySteps Specialists in these clinics. HealthySteps Specialists meet with families to provide extra time and attention and give holistic care that focuses on all aspects of a family and a baby’s growth. As part of the HealthySteps project we want accurate data and information from these Specialists so we can provide an evidence base that supports expansion. This is where Welly comes in. Welly is a web-based application that guides our HealthySteps Specialists in steps they can take to promote the healthy development of their families and children outside of the clinic. It offers patient profiles, care history, health and well-being assessments, scheduling tools, progress tracking, and educational content. First, it’s a care coordination tool, designed to make the lives of HealthySteps Specialists easier to allow for more time to focus on a family’s needs. Second, Welly is also an easy-to-use application for HealthySteps sites to collect and report crucial data to the National Office to ensure a high-quality, effective program. We work together to make the lives of our HealthySteps Specialists easier while making data collection and reporting a smoother process as well.

The beauty of Welly is that it was designed by HealthySteps Specialists, for HealthySteps Specialists. It’s an application focused on the needs of these specialists, and we are constantly listening to feedback to create a smoother workflow. We’re continuously querying our sites all over the nation, gaining feedback on everything from missing data points, to placement of the save button, to expanding the care history tab to include referral tracking. Welly isn’t your normal electronic health record; it’s focused on the needs of our sites and allows a direct line from our sites to our National Office related to the documentation of care coordination and data collection.

These conversations with our specialists are invaluable to me because it gets to the people part of a product that would be lifeless without them.

We’re providing a technology, but we’re focused on the people. That’s something I try to keep at the top of my mind. I may be focused on building a piece of technology, but I’m a people person at heart. I want to know each person’s story. When I ask about pain points with data collection or with Welly or just with the HealthySteps Specialist role in general, I ask because I genuinely want to make improvements that help. These conversations with our specialists are invaluable to me because it gets to the people part of a product that would be lifeless without them. Like a lot of things in life, we can’t create technology using a top-down approach. If you want to design something, it has to done using the feedback, suggestions, and knowledge of those it’s designed for or, more preferably, as in the case of Welly, those you’re designing it with.

As for doing it all online over video chat? I make sure to have my camera-worthy shirt on standby, but other than that, the questions are the same, the people are still real, and the connection is still there. It’s a little bit harder, and some days I can’t stare at a screen any longer, but in exchange I get my perfect mix. I have a job building technology that focuses on the needs of the people using it. I haven’t met a single person I’ve worked with in person and I’ve never been to the ZERO TO THREE office, but I have worked with many HealthySteps Specialists on Welly and one thing is clear: it’s making lives just a little bit simpler and easier. That’s the goal.

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