Get to know Wheel Senior Manager of Clinical Operations - Mollie Ewing!
What’s your role at Wheel?
I have been a Senior Manager of Clinical Operations at Wheel since February 2021. The role was initially a broad range of responsibilities, and as Wheel has taken off and the Clinical Ops team has grown, I have begun narrowing my focus on how to enable Clinicians to provide the highest quality care.
A typical week includes interacting with clinicians, client teams, and pretty much every work stream across the Wheel organization. I spend a lot of time in workshop-style meetings. When meeting with clinicians, I am typically working to better understand the clinician's experience so I can be the best possible advocate for our clinician network.
When meeting with Wheelies, I am typically sharing the clinician perspective and "solutioning" to ensure a safe and enjoyable working environment for clinicians.
When meeting with client teams, I am typically discussing quality assurance through the lens of operational and clinical performance. My favorite meetings are always those with Clinician Champions.
What’s your background? What did you do before working with Wheel?
I was born and raised in Texas, but have also lived in Athens and Atlanta, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois. I first studied child development in undergrad, then nursing. I always knew I wanted a profession that focused on helping others, but put off nursing school because I had always struggled in math and science classes. My dad was a cardiologist. It was normal for me to accompany him in rounds at the hospital as a young kid and then I worked in his clinic while I was in nursing school. My work ethic and caregiver's heart were definitely passed on to me from my Dad.
I met my husband, Matt, through a friend when we were teenagers and after 10 years, we started dating. We've been married almost 12 years now and have a rambunctious, talkative 2 ("and a half" she would yell) year old. Matt and I are a good fit because he loves to cook and I love to eat, we love watching movies and dissecting every last scene, and we are both beach people (he surfs, I read on the beach). We live just south of downtown and spend most of our free time walking around the neighborhood with a destination that includes some combination of coffee, tacos, wine, and/or a playground.
I've been exposed to many different specialities and settings within healthcare, which helps me keep a broad perspective. Working in high-intensity clinical settings forces you to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. The most valuable lessons have been understanding my capacity and learning to play on my strengths.
I started my career as a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) RN at Dell Children's in Austin, TX. I jumped in with both feet - I was chairman of the bereavement committee for the NICU and worked on quality improvement projects focused on educating families to care for their clinically-complex babies at home. In search of more reasonable work hours and a little less heartache, I moved around the hospital working in pediatric post-anesthesia care and pediatric obesity. A job of my husband’s took us to Chicago, where I taught yoga and reevaluated my career path.
A couple years later, we returned to Austin (not enough tacos in Chicago) and I completed my Masters in Public Health (MPH). While earning my masters, I also worked in a pediatric obesity clinic and did research in maternal and child health. I learned a ton doing both, but neither offered rapid, large-scale impact.
Why did you join the Wheel team?
My career has always been focused on caring for others, but how I've helped others has evolved over time. Working in the NICU as an RN means wearing a lot of hats. One minute the nurse is addressing a respiratory emergency in a tiny patient and consoling a parent the next.
The care provided requires constant attention to detail and creative workarounds to fit the unique needs of each patient. For me, burnout presented itself as worrying about patients when I wasn’t at work. Eventually I started to dread the hospital just as much as I loved it. I pursued my MPH with the hope that learning more about the healthcare system and preventative healthcare would lead me to work that progresses societal-level change.
I shifted my focus to health tech because I saw bold, progressive goals that felt impossible to someone whose only perspective is from within the walls of the traditional healthcare systems.
I came to believe the key to actually pulling the healthcare system out of the dark ages is to combine fresh perspectives from outside of the healthcare industry with people who have firsthand experience within the brick-and-mortar healthcare system.
I was drawn to Wheel because I saw the opportunity to impact so many critical aspects of digital care - collaborate with our client partners who are building the digital health landscape and advocate for clinicians who are bravely expanding their practice to telehealth. By having meaningful interactions with our clients and clinicians, I get to have a hand in transforming healthcare into what patients need and deserve.
What’s your favorite Wheel moment?
My favorite Wheel moment was leading a quality improvement project with a specific client. Looking back, I set some pretty aggressive objectives. It took a few weeks longer than I had planned, but we are now consistently meeting the performance objectives set at initiation of the project.
The project included working to earn the trust of the client team, hearing out the clinicians’ concerns, enabling Clinician Champions to support their peers working on this client platform, and trialing different methods of sharing individual-level and group-level chart audit and performance data with Clinicians.
The quality metrics and clinician satisfaction on this client platform are much higher and we have a more transparent and trusting working relationship with the client team. I am really proud of the work we put into this project. We are applying the learnings to improve the clinician experience in regards to performance feedback and quality assurance across many other client accounts.
This was the type of project that would have taken years to execute in a hospital setting, but took a few months at Wheel. I find it so rewarding to have the opportunity to create rapid change that builds trust with clinicians in addition to positively impacting our business.
What do you think the future of healthcare holds?
I believe that the growing world of digital health is paving the way for rapid improvement in our healthcare system in three ways:
- Revealing the impacts of integrating technology into both preventative and responsive care
- Promoting patients' accountability in their own healthcare journey
- Liberating clinicians to be both a provider and an active part of healthcare transformation
A common thread in these three ideas is the ability for patient data to flow freely (safely/protected, of course). When patients can easily access their own data, they will become more involved in their own health. If clinicians can easily access patient data, there will be decreased duplicative testing and increased continuity of care.
What excites me most about my job is that I get to help raise the voices of clinicians in order to build a virtual care environment that not only supplements the brick-and-mortar environment, but forces it to transform into something better.
Traditional healthcare is largely led by decision makers that have never touched a patient. Virtual care is being led by the tech industry and the tech industry has learned the importance of listening to the customer. The first step to building a digital health environment was to engage clinicians who provide the care. The voices of the clinicians who have been telehealth's early adopters are fundamental to building a virtual care environment that is equally beneficial to both patients and Clinicians.
Thanks, Mollie, for all your hard work with The Wheel Team! We appreciate everything you do.
Interested in joining our team? Check out the latest career opportunities with Wheel!
Get to know other team members through prior staff profiles with Emily Keating - Director of Commercial Strategy and Operations, Kate Dunn - Senior Recruiter, and Ed Mitchell - Senior Software Engineer.