Leadership Voices: Q&A with WELL Health SVP of Customer Experience Sarah Shillington
A seasoned leader with more than 25 years of experience in healthcare IT leadership, Sarah Shillington has recently joined WELL Health® to lead our Customer Experience organization. She has overseen client experience at large-scale, global enterprise companies, including at TigerConnect, where she oversaw all aspects of the client experience post-sale.
Here, we get to know her a little better with a few quick questions on her background and plans for the future:
Tell us about your professional background?
I started my healthcare IT career at a startup, after about four years as a collegiate coach and educator. I came into healthcare IT as a receptionist, and five and a half years later was a vice president.
This company was acquired by HBOC, which was then a powerhouse in the revenue cycle space for health systems as well as an electronic health record (EHR) that was sunsetted. HBOC was later purchased by McKesson, and I was one of the very first people to get that VP role at a corporate level, and that career at McKesson lasted 19 years in a variety of different leadership roles
Can you tell us more about your time at McKesson?
While at McKesson, I was general manager of a clinical consulting business that I grew exponentially over a seven year period as its leader. I led the customer education group, and led a group of what we called “Enterprise Account Managers” back then, which we call customer success today.
Where did you go next?
From McKesson, I went to Leidos, which was a great crew. They are a big company as well, with a commercial health division that did a lot of staff augmentation during the wave of implementing meaningful use. There was a division focused on consulting services, that I led that focused on optimization, system selections, and meaningful use consulting.
I left Leidos after seven years and went to TigerConnect where I was the chief client officer – same role as WELL. With all of these jobs, I have always been on the post-sale side of the business. That’s my sweet spot. I love working with customers.
Why did you join WELL Health®?
At TigerConnect, my goal had been to either help the company go public or get acquired, and that had happened earlier in the year. I’m goal-oriented, so achieving that goal and having that experience in my toolkit is pretty cool. I joined WELL because I am ready to do that same sort of thing – help the company grow and potentially go public.
Is there anything in particular that drew you to WELL Health®?
WELL has an amazing reputation in the market, and I’ve been following WELL for a couple of years. I’m a really mission-driven person. My mother was a cancer patient with a cardiologist and an oncologist, and they gave two completely different directives to her. It was Fourth of July weekend, and nobody would answer their phone or call her back.
If she had a tool that allowed her to better communicate with her care team, I believe my mother would still be with us today. Sadly, she passed from an infection after having to make multiple hospital trips due to poor care coordination and communication between her various specialists and her.
That’s why it’s so important for me to make an impact on the patient experience. That’s what my career has been for the past 15 years or more, and I love waking up and having that opportunity to make an impact.
What keeps customers in the healthcare industry happy?
First, we need to recognize that healthcare providers are under a lot of stress. They’re facing a lot of demands financially, there are operational challenges, pandemic staffing shortages, regulatory changes, and more. So they have a lot going on.
I think what they’re looking for is a partnership with their vendors, and they’re looking for an experience where they can have a trusting relationship around the reliability of that vendor. Getting to that trusted advisor space is a wonderful place to be. So the spirit of partnership, I believe, is really important.
What excites you most about what’s ahead?
We’ve got a lot of work to do as we grow – people, processes and technology are all going to have to scale. I think that’s the opportunity that’s in place. If our goal is for our customers to have great customer service, we’d better have great customer service and support as well. We need to be on top of that, and there are a lot of opportunities to improve the customer experience with WELL. ♥