Future PREP’d collaborates with Health Pointe to revise virtual health care system

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HARD AT WORK: Future PREP’d members collaborate to finish the slideshow for an upcoming presentation. “I think it is important to be in this club because it gave me a lot of chances to work on a group project that isn’t school,” Ritter said. “Learning how to work well with others is important.”

A room filled with eight upperclassmen might not seem like enough to revise a virtual health system. But as juniors Cambelle Cleveland, Alison Doerr, Gavin Hubner, Samantha Ritter, Zoie Russell, Brooke Whitaker and senior Hannah Tjapkes present their ideas to highly ranked healthcare officials, they exceed expectations. A new generation of future leaders prove their worth.

This group of individuals is  known as Grand Haven Future PREP’d, a club that partners with both businesses and nonprofit organizations to come up with a solution to problems through project based learning. It is advised by history teacher Brian Williams.

Health Pointe, a partnership between Holland Hospital and Spectrum Health, has worked with Future PREP’d for the past three years. This year, they were paired with Grand Haven students through the Ottawa Area ISD.

“The goal of pairing up is really being able to connect with our community,” Health Pointe communication specialist Michelle Crego said. “A huge part of it is our youth. They really bring in that fresh perspective. Partnering with them branches us even deeper into the community because they are our future workers and they are doing so much in our community already.”

Future PREP’d was asked to create innovative solutions to augment and expand the virtual health program at Health Pointe. Crego served as the Site Lead for the project. She created the driving question and helped the group from start to finish. 

Health Pointe’s virtual health program was quickly launched after the pandemic hit. Due to COVID-19, many offices were shut down. Telehealth became a tool for doctors to continue to provide care to their patients. Health Pointe came to Future PREP’d in search of ways to hit more demographics and expand the program. 

To generate ideas, the students used Ottawa ISD’s six week “Creative Sequence”  which includes observation, investigation, collaboration, incubation, solutions and validation.

BRAINSTORM: Furture PREP’d members sort their ideas into groups on the table. After researching, the students participated in a sticky note activity where they compiled all of their individual proposal. (Photo courtesy of Brian Williams)

“With creative sequence and design thinking there’s several steps to the process,” Williams said. “My goal is to allow them to see how you can have a very hard topic to deal with initially, and then using design thinking and creative sequencing you can walk through a process that ends up bringing resolution to a myriad of issues.”

Each group member was assigned to a mentor to help them with a variety of tasks throughout the project. Both physicians assistant Kevin Vardon and Crego held this role.

“We are hoping to provide some experience and knowledge through our trials and tribulations of what we’ve experienced as young professionals,” Vardon said. “This includes things that we had encountered, pathways that we had taken, things that were successful, and areas where we had blundered. We try to pass on that knowledge and wisdom to our young professionals at Grand Haven.”

During the investigation process, the students held a series of interviews with several Health Pointe employees. Their goal was to learn the ins and outs of the problem.

Sometimes, they found it difficult to get the information they were looking for.

“The biggest challenge was extracting information from adults concisely,” Hubner said. “If they didn’t know an answer to a question, they would try to give us the best possible answer. It ended up taking a little longer for us to get some of the answers to questions.”

If they were unable to get the answer they were looking for the first time, they reworded the question or resorted to asking at a later time.

“I think we got around that by being comfortable with the uncomfortable,” Ritter said. “It’s hard for me to get a little bit critical with adults, but we had to ask those tough questions, like ‘ if you’re not in a position to give us that information, who can we talk to?’ We didn’t lay down and let them walk over us.”

After completing the first three steps, they organized their thoughts and narrowed the list down to options they deemed viable for the company. COVID-19 changed the way they approached the situation. With each possible solution, they had to keep the implications in mind.

“The difference of environment cannot be understated at all,” Ritter said. “When we go through our solutions, it is in the lens of ‘what is this in a COVID like world?’ It straight up changed what businesses are asking for. In 2019 or 2018 you wouldn’t be thinking of ‘what is this in terms of COVID?’ It’s a real life example of how people and businesses are struggling with marketing and outreach. I think it just is a great reflection of where everyone is right now.”

The students created a presentation that outlined their proposals. On February 18th, they were able to present virtually to a variety of Health Pointe staff members.

“They went above and beyond and they came up with multiple avenues and buckets that they talked about,” Crego said. “They talked about marketing, community outreach, and IS and they really just drove down such a broad question. The fact that they could really narrow that scope on their own was really cool to see. They really brought it and they did a fantastic job.”

PINS AND ADS: Future PREP’d members designed pins and ads for Health Pointe. They were distributed to employees before the presentation to provide a physical example of their marketing proposal. (Photo courtesy of Gavin Hubner)

Health Pointe looks to incorporate their community outreach proposals in the near future because they are tangible. The rest of the pitch has been escalated to the right people to get them implemented. Williams was very happy with the results.

“I felt like we had a crazy amount of success, and I’m not really sure COVID got in the way for us,” Williams said. “I think we were able to totally make it work. I have an outstanding group of students who I’m working with, that helps a whole bunch. They killed it.”

Overall, the Health Pointe staff was impressed by the Future PREP’d members level of professionalism. They were thankful to have the opportunity to work alongside them and look forward to seeing what they accomplish going forward.

“The students were way beyond their years,” Crego said. “They were so professional and intelligent. They were thinking of things that we hadn’t even thought of yet. To have that level of thought process at their age and their professionalism on top of it, is such a good mix. They have such a bright future. They are so talented and we’re just very fortunate we were able to work with them.”