Anderson Wiksell talks about the NCQA PCMH Congress 2015 with CEO, Amber Winkler

Clarify’s CEO, Amber Winkler, spoke at NCQA’s 1st Annual Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Congress this month in San Francisco. Anderson Wiksell got the scoop about Amber’s experience and the conference.

Q: What led you to want to speak at this conference?

A: It’s an honor to speak at NCQA’s PCMH Congress. NCQA, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, is the major governing body and gold standard for PCMH Recognition. This was an incredible opportunity for me and for the company. I also wanted to contribute to the content of the conference. Clarify has been in the PCMH space since 2009, and it was a pleasure to be able to contribute what we have learned to the conference.

Q: What was your presentation about?

A: How to approach your PCMH Recognition process, and how to be smart from the beginning about project management. The processes and technologies you select are critical to being successful. A lot of people get bogged down in the project management, and it prevents them from achieving PCMH recognition. Many times, people just don’t know how to start and we want people to start off on the right foot. We achieve this by efficiently managing the project so the client can be more focused on the core work of achieving PCMH Recognition. 

Q: What was the most important advice you shared in your presentation?

There are a couple of things. 

  • Technology: I presented a comparison of several online project management tools that can be used for a PCMH Project. I explained how an organization can use those tools to simplify the project management of their PCMH project, and save a lot of time and stress. I also walked the audience through how to evaluate and select the right tools for their organization.  
  • Project Management: Getting leadership support, identifying a physician champion, and selecting the right project manager are key goals for any organization. 
  • Optional: We advise keeping your PCMH project team small, and then reaching out as needed if additional help or a new team member become necessary. In our experience, small teams can work more quickly and effectively, and spend less time in meetings.

Q: What was your biggest challenge speaking at this event?

A: It was in a large, full ballroom of people. Questions were held until the end. It’s more difficult to gauge the audience’s engagement and interest level in that format compared to smaller, interactive environments. It’s easy to wonder if everyone is bored or just checking email or social media! It was so rewarding when people stood up to ask questions, and others waited in line to speak with me afterwards. That makes all of the nerves and preparation worth it. 

Q: What did you want attendees to take away from your presentation?

A: I demonstrated three project management options. I hope people left with an idea of one or two ways they could successfully and efficiently manage their PCMH project. It’s frustrating to me when organizations spend unnecessary time and resources on project management rather than gathering the documentation, reporting and transformation activities for their PCMH project. I encouraged the group to take a step back and re-evaluate if they feel stuck on the project management part or on a single decision.

Q: What set your presentation apart?

A: There were a number of great sessions and speakers at the Congress. I believe we were the only presentation about project management. After the session, people thanked me for having a hands-on and applicable presentation. 

Q: Other than speaking about Clarify and Project Management, what was your favorite part of the conference?

A: I love the networking opportunities and talking to people who are doing exciting and challenging work in healthcare around the country. It’s enriching to hear about the organizations and people behind the progress we’re experiencing in the industry.

Q: What was something fun you got to see while you were in San Francisco? 

A: During a break, there happened to be a Blue Angels air show I watched from the 47th floor of the hotel in downtown, San Francisco. The view was gorgeous - with planes, San Francisco’s skyline, sailboats in the bay, and the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. I also enjoyed several great dinners in the city with friends. Saru Sushi in the Noe Valley neighborhood was delicious.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on the actual tools that were presented!