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Insights at the intersection of tech touch & human touch within healthcare

  • Writer's pictureJulie Wolk

Music & Healthcare Technology

Tuning In or Tuning Out?

Once upon a time, there was a revolutionary new music technology called a cassette tape. A departure from clunky 8-Tracks and cat-scratch vinyl, the cassette gifted listeners with convenience, “music from anywhere” portability, and the power to self-manage and personalize their music experience via mix tapes.

Those of us who cursed the fine art of rewinding curls of loose tape after a failed cassette ejection, rejoiced when a new kid on the block, the CD, was introduced. Playing card thin, its sleek, prismatic sheen promised indestructibility and ground-breaking audio quality.

In late 1999, a quirky upstart disrupter named Napster crept like a lynx into the industry. Based on new digital MP3 technology, Napster launched a Peer-To-Peer network where millions of music fans could share music files – for free. The financial backlash was swift and severe, for artists and record labels.

Inexorable record labels, reeling from plunging CD and record sales, refused to understand the new technology and the user revolution behind it. It took visionary technologist and Apple Founder Steve Jobs, a music industry outsider, to launch a digital music store solution that provided convenience, personalization, and engagement at a friendly 99¢ price point.

Today, as technology continues to answer to social preferences, pay-per-song stores have given way to MaaS or Music-As-A-Service streaming subscription models. Any genre, era, artist or playlist – anywhere in the world – is now the palm of the consumer’s hand.

The pandemic was healthcare’s Napster.

Quarantining created a seismic disruption where virtual care was necessary, not aspirational. Post-pandemic, the social preference for “virtual first” in healthcare accelerated with our mobile-enabled lifestyle. In this new era of healthcare – as experienced in the music industry disruptions described above – people desire five critical qualities: personalization, convenience, flexibility, quality, and equality.

And it is these five qualities that became pillars from which technologists – and healthcare outsiders – Mike Hatfield, Scott Pradels and Rick Johnston, brought fresh eyes and skilled acumen to solve big challenges within the complex and quickly evolving industry of healthcare. With esteemed track records of success in telecommunications, Hatfield, Pradels and Johnston recognized shifting consumer (patient) preferences, transferred key learnings from telecommunications and built Carium as the next generation of advanced virtual care technology.

Technology doesn’t drive value; the experience people have when utilizing the technology drives the value.

Today, music streaming technology doesn’t drive value; people’s experiences of personalization, convenience, flexibility, quality and equitable access within those Music-As-A-Service platforms are driving value. Healthcare technology is the same. Keeping a finger on the pulse point of customer and industry sentiment, preferences and behavior is critical. Every experience matters.

That’s why in 2022, Carium launched a strategic partnership with KLAS Research. Our goal was to lean into KLAS’s deep industry knowledge and through their independent research, expose unvarnished customer preferences, opinions, and experiences.

Music has genres. KLAS has categories.

The dizzying velocity of change in healthcare IT challenges KLAS, in a good way, to thoughtfully identify longitudinal trending and discern vendor categorization. This year, KLAS launched a new category – Patient-Driven Care Management – reflective of public demand for more ownership, agency and personalization within their health and wellness journey.

Adam Cherrington, Vice President of Digital Health for KLAS noted: “As patients' expectations rise, firms that truly address patient needs, and even some of their wants, will win. Our belief is that meeting patient needs will accelerate and complement more so than compete with provider priorities.”

Is Carium health tech’s Vanilla Ice or Ice Cube?

December 2022, KLAS hosted Carium at their Utah-based headquarters for our first in-person Executive Deep Dive session. After a year of accelerated momentum at Carium – 120% YOY ARR and 50X pipeline growth – we were curious to understand the undercurrents and opportunities revealed within the anonymized research results that KLAS procured. Growing quickly is great for Carium’s revenue traction, but without an exceptional customer experience, we risk flaming out as a one-hit-wonder.

What learnings emerged as most potent?

Expand Our Satisfaction Traction

Even though KLAS does not publish results from Executive Deep Dives, our team was encouraged to learn that we maintained high customer satisfaction consistency as was observed within our KLAS Emerging Technologies Spotlight Report published in January 2022. With our robust growth and new executive leadership, we were pleased to see that to date, we are making good on our promise of excellence in product and service.

“We measure success one patient and one caregiver at a time,” said Rich Steinle, CEO of Carium. “Revenue growth without engaging both parties of the care experience is hollow, unsustainable and counter to both our founding vision and the true realization of value in healthcare.”

Expand Learning Opportunities

Our Customer Support and Train-The-Trainer programs received excellent scores, but today’s YouTube and SkillShare savvy consumers appreciate self-service, OnDemand multimedia learning modalities. In doing so, we not only afford our customers with autonomy and self-mastery, but we also enable more efficient, flexible knowledge management and scaling.

Lean Into Forecasted Satisfaction

One interesting question within this round of research was related to optimism. In a nod to our music metaphor (thank you, Don Henley): Is our future so bright that we need to wear shades?

In short, they responded with an enthusiastic yes. Our customers indicated optimism about the future of Carium’s technology, the value it provides and our expanding partnership towards shared goals. Delivering on that customer expectation is a challenge that we accept and intend to exceed.

Leading The Way In Patient-Driven Care Management

The same consumer demands that drove the intense disruption of the music industry – personalization, convenience, flexibility, quality, and equality – are driving disruption and innovation in virtual care.

“Episodic office visits facilitated sporadic, depersonalized “care by necessity.” Do you need a prescription refill? Do you need lab work? Every day, I’m talking to partners and providers who are just as frustrated by that disconnected, inconvenient model as patients are,” notes Jeff Stern, Vice President of Business Development for Carium.

“If we are serious about improving the patient experience, let’s meet individuals within their daily lives, enable them with rich tools, and leverage technology to provide an end-to-end virtual care ecosystem.” Jeff Stern, Vice President of Business Development for Carium

Carium’s “Know Me, Support Me, Engage Me” ecosystem answers those demands, in real-time. In partnership with their trusted care team, patients set goals, track actions, learn, participate in activities, and communicate – all within one platform environment that is responsive in real time to real life.

That is music to our patients’ – and care teams’ – ears. Rock on.


Are you considering a complete virtual care solution for your healthcare organization? Read about the top 4 virtual care vendor red flags.


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