How One RT Used the Lessons She Learned at the Bedside to Start her Own Health Care Consulting Company

 

Ever wonder how far your career in RT can take you? Therapists who have made the leap into entrepreneurship believe the sky’s the limit. Tracy Christopherson, MS, BAS, RRT, is a case in point.

The Michigan RT was in the middle of her journey into respiratory care when an idea came to her for a new business aimed at helping health care organizations better deal with the issues they were facing.

Her concept: convince health care leaders that those issues were really “polarities” – chronic challenges and strategic priorities that could not be “solved” but instead needed to be managed.

The result was the formation of MissingLogic, a company designed to help organizations uncover their polarities and then develop and execute an action plan to handle them.

Misdiagnosis is the issue

“I was a practicing therapist for 19 years,” says Christopherson, who got into the profession after observing RTs while spending time at the bedside of a close friend who was on a ventilator for two months after being injured in a car accident. “I loved making a difference in the lives of the patients and families I served.”

She was an adult critical care therapist and enjoyed the challenge of intubating patients, using protocols to manage the ventilator, and working with and being a resource to all the members of the critical care team.

Like many other RTs, those experiences gave her a chance to see how health care operates from the inside out, but unlike most of her peers, it also made her think about how organizations might be able to operate more effectively too.

“My business partner and I realized over our 20 year history of working with health care organizations to create the best places to give and receive care that health care leaders were wasting time, money, and resources revisiting the same issues over and over,” she says. “Leaders were misdiagnosing the issues as problems to be solved when they were polarities that needed to be managed.”

Could they do something about that? They decided they could, and in 2017 started their company to assist heath care leaders in changing their approach to their most challenging and recurring issues.

She believes the services she now provides to these organizations are empowering them to lead with confidence and achieve results that are more sustainable for their organizations.

“The work we do with organizations enables them to see their challenges in a different way, gives them a common language to describe what they are experiencing, and reduces fear and resistance while opening people up to hear and understand diverse perspectives,” says Christopherson.

The company decided to center its philosophy around managing the polarities that exist in health care in part because of the firsthand experience Christopherson gained with them during her years as a bedside therapist.

“As an example, I’ve experienced the positive outcomes from working as a team — e.g., coordination of services, decreased duplication — and I’ve experienced the negative consequences of over emphasizing teamwork — e.g., individuals unable to take initiative or practice to full scope of practice,” she says. “Over the years I’ve also implemented many of the strategies — e.g., interprofessional councils, protocols — that are helpful in gaining or maintaining the positive outcomes represented in the polarities leaders and clinicians face daily.”

Two great tips

What advice does Christopherson have for other RTs who see a good idea for a business but aren’t sure how to turn it into reality? These are her top two recommendations –

  • First, do your homework. Learn who your ideal customer is and interview ten people who represent that customer. Learn what their challenges and needs are and ask them specifically about your idea. Make sure there is a need for what you want to offer.
  • Second, tap into those who have already done what you are wanting to do. There are numerous experts who offer virtual courses and webinars. Learn from them. Also, there are many communities you can join, so you don’t have to feel like you are all alone trying to figure it out. I’m happy to share my experience and the resources I’ve used with anyone who is thinking of establishing a business.

You can reach out to Tracy Christopherson via the “Directory” tab on AARConnect.