After two years of successful work overseas, Medtronic PLC, chose Memphis and Christ Community Health Services to launch a pilot program for its Global Innovation Fellows project.
The program, which involves Medtronic selecting a nonprofit organization to become a “client,” places three Medtronic employees with the organization for three weeks to work on a specific issue that needs improvement.
Three Medtronic employees — Victoria Davis, senior financial analyst forMedtronic Spinal; Kelley Schmidt, senior principal IT project lead; and Corey Leet, research operations manager — spent time with Christ Community’s staff to help improve efficiencies in a several areas that would help the organization improve patient care.
Lance Luttrell, COO of Christ Community Health Services, said the company and the organization had collaborated in the past on hypertension and scoliosis programs before Medtronic opted to launch the domestic version of the Fellows Program here.
“What I felt was the biggest takeaway was we had three people who gave us three weeks of their time as highly trained experts in their field,” Luttrell said. ‘What would take me nine weeks to do, they did in three weeks. I had the technical knowledge, but nowhere near enough time.”
Luttrell says the fellows worked on projects ranging from Christ Community Health Services' electronic medical records system running slow at peak times and streamlining into a couple hours processes that were taking weeks.
“The way the landscape is changing, we have to produce quality patient care,” Luttrell said. “We want to know the most recent blood pressures for people in this ZIP code, but we have a limited resource of people who can respond. They helped us do some of those in house and left a process we can reproduce down the road.”
Kristine Fortman, director of Medtronic Philanthropy, says the partnership between Medtronic and Christ Community Health Services isn’t a one-shot deal, something Luttrell was wary of at first.
“The message they come back with is critical to who we are as a company,” Fortman said. “Our primary focus in starting this was engaging employees and aligning their skills in the community to address global challenges. It’s a long-term commitment.”
It was also educational, according to Davis, who is originally from Russia, but has been in Memphis for 10 years. She was the only Memphis-based fellow on the team.
“If you’re new to Memphis, you’re warned against some areas (of town), but there’s so much need there, and that’s why Christ Community Health Services is strategically placed where they are,” Davis said. “All three of my teammates feel like we have a responsibility to bring the story back and find out what the community needs so we can get involved.”