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What is your full name, title, and company name for your current, primary role?
Aubree Colorito, PT, DPT, MBA — Sr. Process Improvement Consultant for MedBridge
Where are you located?
Where did you go to PT school, and what year did you graduate?
Slippery Rock University, 2013.
What did you do when you first finished school, and for how long?
Initially, I worked full-time as a clinician in multiple settings for five years. Then, I transitioned into a PRN PT role, while working non-clinically.
In what setting(s) did you work, and what types of patients did you treat?
I worked in the following settings:
- Inpatient rehab
- Acute care
- Skilled nursing facility
- Transitional care unit
- Day surgery
- Home health
What did you enjoy about your early roles? What didn’t you enjoy?
As a treating clinician, I appreciated the direct impact I made on patients and their families through therapy and education. I always took a holistic view in my plan of care, regardless of the setting, to understand patients’ home setup, caregiver support, social determinants of health, and other factors that may impact their progress and successful transition to another setting.
The aspects I did not like about patient care were related to the insurance limitations and inability to provide services to patients based on their social determinants of health.
These frustrations drove me to want to move into a non-clinical role, where I hoped to one day have an impact on clinician workflows, company culture, access to care, and any other aspect that could make the employee and patient experience better.
What else have you done since then, prior to your current role?
My first non-clinical role was Staff Development Specialist, where I created our first therapy-focused onboarding process, which deviated from the standardized nursing-focused path. Within that role, I had opportunities to expand outside of onboarding and annual education to create our therapy mentor program.
From there, I was promoted to Manager of Innovation & Onboarding. This role was a nice combination of my two passions at that time:
- Training new employees of all disciplines to work in home health.
- Creating specialty programs for patients that elevated the care provided in the home.
These programs opened the door to new avenues of access, best practices in care, and improved coordination of care across service lines.
After years of working in traditional healthcare, I became curious about the broader impacts I could have on patient care by branching out into the healthcare technology space.
With this, I had been working closely with MedBridge for years. I loved the people I worked with and felt their products had the broader reach I was looking for to make a larger impact on patients and clinicians. So, I took a leap and started my career at MedBridge as Account Executive II for the Home Health & Hospice team.
When and why did you decide to do something non-clinical?
I was drawn to a non-clinical role to make a broader impact on more patients. I also wanted to be a decision-maker in processes, solutions, and regulations that impact patient care and clinician workflows.
What are you doing these days?
In July 2023, I transitioned into a new role at MedBridge as Sr. Process Improvement Consultant.
As Sr. Process Improvement Consultant on our Value Realization Team, I manage strategic planning and quality improvement projects with a subset of our largest customers. Our ultimate goal is to ensure our customers are achieving their desired outcomes and deriving maximum value from MedBridge.
Are you still treating patients, or are you solely non-clinical?
I am solely non-clinical, as I official gave up my PRN position in March 2023.
Did you get any special certifications or training along the way to help you get into your current role?
Prior to transitioning to MedBridge, I completed my MBA through Purdue Global.
While this was the right path for me, I do feel strongly that this is not a requirement to make this transition. My reason for pursuing an MBA was very personal in wanting to build my confidence and business acumen prior to interviewing and transitioning into a fully non-clinical role.
How did you find your process improvement consultant job? Did you apply or find it through a connection?
When I transitioned to MedBridge as Account Executive II, the consultant role was always the position I was working towards. I felt it offered an opportunity to make the broader impact on patients and clinicians that I was looking for.
However, I am happy with how I progressed through MedBridge because my year in sales now gives me perspective and insight into different areas of the business. This allows me to be more strategic in my approach with our customers.
What are some of the things you did to stand out, take initiative, and advance in your career?
I am a very curious person, so early on at MedBridge, I would proactively reach out to leaders across different teams to learn new things or troubleshoot issues I was experiencing in real-time.
For me, understanding the “why” is just as important as resolving the issue, so I would use this opportunity to learn each step needed to work through a process from start to finish—even if it sat outside of my current role.
I think this approach has always served me well in being able to network, support colleagues when they need to troubleshoot issues, and learn more about the company at a high level.
Now that I am a consultant, this is especially important. We are tasked with always being in-the-know of what is going on across all departments in order to share updates with our customers and troubleshoot time-sensitive issues when they arise.
How have people reacted to you leaving patient care?
Within the past year, I have felt a positive shift in how people have reacted to me leaving patient care.
I believe part of this is related to clinician burnout and many other therapists exploring the idea of non-clinical roles. I believe the other part of it is personal—in overcoming imposter syndrome as a therapist who no longer practices.
What’s a typical day in the life like for you? What types of tasks and responsibilities fill your time as a process improvement consultant?
A typical day includes a mix of administrative time, internal calls, and customer-facing calls.
Administratively, our team is responsible for maintaining project management documents (ex. Charters, PDCAs, Monday boards) and preparing to lead all of our customer-facing calls.
Internally, we are on a lot of meetings. We provide input into product and content development, and we have to stay in-the-know of changes occurring across our organization.
For customer-facing calls, we run a mix of strategic planning calls, account health calls with project work, and quarterly impact reviews focused on demonstrating ROI.
What are some of the rewards of your role? What are the biggest challenges?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is taking customer feedback to our teams to improve future products, content, workflows, etc.
Since we hear the industry’s pain points first-hand, we are in a unique position to ask more questions and figure out how MedBridge can solve the problem.
The biggest challenge I experience is facilitating change management during project implementation. In order to deliver true ROI to these larger organization, there must be a level of prioritization and partnership with our customers to ensure the change is effective.
Healthcare is complex and always changing. To be successful, it is important to have top-down messaging, champions throughout the organization, and solid processes that make the future state easier to adopt.
How did your clinical background prepare you for this role? Which skills transferred?
One of my mentors once pointed out to me how closely the project lifecycle relates to the process we follow as therapists:
- As therapists, we review the patient’s medical record to gather as much information as possible to prepare for our customized evaluation.
- In the evaluation, we test and gather more information to then create our patient’s plan of care.
- In that plan of care, we make hypotheses—”by addressing X, the outcome will be Y”—and start to build our education and training program.
- During our sessions, we begin treatment and reassess if changes need to be made based on the outcomes that are realized.
In project lifecycles, we essentially do the same thing:
- We scope the project by meeting with stakeholders that have the identified problem to understand their perspective on the issues and possible solutions.
- We then take this information to brainstorm tangible solutions and the work to be done.
- The work is completed over time and the feasibility re-evaluated during the development of each deliverable.
- The project is then implemented in either a pilot or as a broader initiative, with the expectation of assessing its effectiveness and determining if next steps need to occur in either a second phase of the project or maintenance.
I also think there is a lot to be said about therapists’ abilities to use motivational interviewing skills. Therapists collect information, are organized in their synthesis and process planning, have forethought into how each component will impact the broader initiative, and are agile in making changes along the way.
What type of person do you think would do well in your process improvement consultant role?
The first thing that comes to mind is someone who embraces changes. This role is very dynamic. We are involved in a lot of information sharing, idea generation, problem-solving, and so much more.
From the project side of things, being detail-oriented and good with documentation is definitely important in order to track the work that has been done and to report updates to leadership.
The last thing that comes to mind is having good time-management skills. Our book of business is our business to run. Therefore, we are responsible with how we spend our time, how we engage with our customers, how we manage project timelines and the work to be done, and every other aspect of communication, planning, and execution of our projects.
Do you work remotely or onsite?
I work remotely and travel occasionally to conferences or customer headquarters.
Does your organization hire PT, OT, or SLP professionals into non-clinical roles? If so, what type of roles?
Yes, MedBridge has all disciplines staffed across multiple departments.
Did you read any books, take any courses, or do anything special overall to get you where you are today?
One of the most important things I did in my career as I started to move up within organizations was get a career coach. By having a career coach, I learned more about myself, how to communicate effectively with others, how to work through things like conflict resolution and complaint management, and how to positively impact a team’s culture.
What is a typical career path for someone in your process improvement consultant role?
I don’t know that I have a clear answer for this since my career path has been anything but typical. On my team, we have a mix of individuals that have worked in customer success, account management, quality performance in health systems, and project management.
Ready to launch your own non-clinical career?
What is next for you? What are your high-level career aspirations?
While I have always been intentional in the steps I have taken in my career, I always leave the door open to allow opportunities to present themselves. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
With that being said, I love the consulting role and see myself working in this capacity for a while. I also have aspirations to excel into executive leadership in the future.
Do you have any special advice for others who want to follow in your footsteps?
Understand your “why” and don’t be afraid to go for it. Even if your goal seems unachievable, identify the steps needed to achieve that goal, and start to work on those.
It’s not always easy to transition from being a clinician to a non-clinical role, so you will likely need to diversify your experience and build your network along the way. The Non-Clinical PT is a great place to start that journey and build that community.