We celebrated the birthday of our product Aperum® this week. This is a nostalgic blog – don’t look for any earth shattering statements on the state of healthcare, clinical communications industry, or future of data. This one is for my team and for all the people who believed in us and gave us a shot. Thank you – the gratitude I have for each one of you who impacted Sphere3® is beyond words. Those who helped, gave feedback, encouraged, those who said don’t give up, and those who pushed us – thank you.
5 years ago on August 30th we were huddled in the basement of HCA Centerpoint Medical Center waiting for an IP address. We had overcome the most daunting and important startup hurdle, we had found our first client. Centerpoint was unique. They were (and still are) willing to take a risk and they had a phenomenal CNO who “got” the vision. We had maneuvered around every technical obstacle, we had done what everyone said was impossible, and were ready to see the data roll thru…but had to wait for a little string of numbers before we could birth Aperum®.
But maybe we should rewind a bit – to understand what built up to that day. How we went from concept to creation.
Sphere3® started as a consulting company 3 years prior, and it was doing very well. Honestly, there was little reason to change trajectory because it was profitable, comfortable, and respected. (Frankly, it was fun) It just wasn’t enough… I was tired of building a workflow or helping to select a technology, and then leaving the recipients to figure out if they were meeting their goals. Creation with no measurement of change is not purposeful. The vision was to make the scale of sorts – so clients could see if they were losing weight or gaining weight. Early on, we accomplished this “scale” using excel and a homegrown asci file reader.
The demand for “faster data” kept growing…and we knew that we needed an automated scale that was easily managed by the clinical leadership – not someone in a back room. Why wait to change when change could occur at the point of care!
Aperum® was conceived on a piece of paper….actually several pieces of paper that I had cut apart and used masking tape to put back together. If the team remembers right, I used to tape mock-ups to the front of an I-pad for “mobile feel”. Not going to lie – there is currently a hand traced smart phone on the white board as we worked on the mock up for our new hourly rounding tool.
We went from this piece of paper version to a digital version that I could show people at HIMSS. I walked the miles of booths to ask (in some cases beg) if we could write an interface to their nurse call, middleware, or whatever we could get our hands on. I wanted to be able to deliver their data – serve it up in a new way that would enable clinicians to change.
A lot of people told me I was crazy, and even more people told me not to waste my money or their time….I am glad that we didn’t listen to the negative feedback.
We ended up with two hospitals willing to be out Beta sites. (Both are still active users today!) Centerpoint did get launched that day and a month later Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City launched.
That is how we got our start. Since then, our growth has been very organic – clients telling other clients about their love for this platform and about what a difference it has made to their patient experience, and caregiver satisfaction. Our greatest win was the recent study that states we helped improve Patient Satisfaction Domain by 18% over 3 years.
As I told the team this week – Aperum® would be nothing without them. Our people are the greatest asset of Sphere3®. They are the reason I enjoy coming to work, and that I trust that the vision is executed flawlessly. They are the real creators of Aperum® as they contribute and mold it into the incredible platform it is today.
The constant was and is Kristal. Many of you don’t know her, but she is the quiet rock of Sphere3®. She started with me and never gave up. There were times she wouldn’t let me give up on the dream. Even when budgets were tight and things didn’t look good. She was and is always there to encourage, organize and let’s be honest – get the real work done. Visionaries are nothing without their Kristal. Visions are just dreams unless they are executed.
That’s why I am proud to announce the promotion of this humble hero of Sphere3®.
Kristal Rayson is the new Chief Operating Office of Sphere3®. A title well earned by a phenomenal human being.