If anyone knows the importance of lifelong learning it is ExamMed's Vice President of Healthcare Initiatives, Charlene McFeeley. McFeeley is a nationally certified family nurse practitioner as well as a nurse life care planner with over 26 years of nursing and nurse practitioner experience in many healthcare areas.
Additionally, she is the co-founder and managing partner of The River Practice, a virtual nurse practitioner practice. Both the River Practice and ExamMed support healthcare by creating a virtual, patient-centered medical model of care.
Currently she assists with oversight of ExamMed, a technology platform for healthcare providers that delivers both virtual and in-office care to patients. ExamMed bundles video-enabled, provider-specific telehealth platforms. These bundles contain information such as centralized patient scheduling and access to specialty care providers.
McFeeley said pursuing a job path in health Information technology has brought her career path full circle. "I worked as a registered nurse in the emergency department of a trauma center for many years, relying on advanced technology to provide care to critically ill patients every day. However, despite using equipment for years, admittedly, I was not tech-savvy."
She said that the technologies she learned provide options without geographical limitations to patients. "For me, the true innovation was not how it could be used, but rather, where it will be used to extend access to quality healthcare."
McFeeley says health IT provides alternatives in an increasingly fragmented healthcare world. "Technology has emerged rapidly. Due to the fractures in the current healthcare delivery model, patients will seek alternative encounters of care."
As a student earning her master's degree, McFeeley was put through the paces of a difficult but worthwhile curriculum. Through those trials she found a renewed drive from the inspiring words of an engaging professor who taught that if you had a vision on how to change healthcare you should unapologetically pursue it. "That was the all encouragement I needed," she said. "My mantra became, 'Vision without execution is an hallucination.'"
According to McFeeley, health IT provides a big picture view of the industry, offering different ways to help people. "I enjoy being an entrepreneur and looking at healthcare from an aerial view," she said. "I see the tremendous opportunities where telehealth can be utilized as a cost-effective and valuable solution to reform healthcare in many areas."
Even though the delivery method is different with telehealth, McFeeley thinks the motivations are the same. "My inspiration comes from a passion to help others," she said. "Simply, my goal is to change the delivery of healthcare and improve population health through the use of telehealth."
McFeeley added that telemedicine is revolutionizing the healthcare industry while keeping the patient's needs in mind. "We are giving back to society through reimagining healthcare. We catalyze change, create meaning, and give back to others in both our professional and personal lives through our technology," she said.
For aspiring Health IT job seekers McFeeley said, "As a healthcare IT executive, it takes vision, perseverance, agility, a commitment to excellence, and a touch of eccentricity when developing an alternative to the traditional patient encounter through the use of technology."
She said creativity and unique perspective is critical for success. "Many times, we need to draw our own roadmap to achieve improved population health and impact outcomes a healthcare IT executive understands."
For those aiming to enter the healthcare field, McFeeley advised: "My best recommendation is to have a passion for whatever you do. Don't do it for money or prestige. Healthcare is demanding. Go into the profession with a vision to help people and if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life."
Hear from USF Health student Deborah Leyva on the benefits of earning a degree from a medical school online.