Located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, in the city’s innovation district known as the ‘Switch’, Pack Health houses their 80 employees in a large, open-format, industrial-style office.
Since our founding in 2013, thousands of conversations occur within these walls: from Health Advisors providing their members with action plans to manage chronic conditions, to developers strategizing how to make care more accessible, to researchers working to understand how we can prevent negative health behaviors from occurring in the first place.
While having a physical address is a benefit, it’s not a necessity for Pack Heath. As we’ve transitioned to operating fully remote in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are acutely aware our entire business operation can be conducted remotely. Which is why we’ve had flexible working arrangements for employees even before the pandemic struck. But, our physical location exists for an important reason: we recognize the importance of the human-to-human relationship. Our day-to-day operations haven’t changed much, but our team recognizes they miss the connection with their colleagues.
As a team, we are now practicing the same behaviors we provide to our members to stay connected with each other: scheduled check-in phone calls, text and Slack messages to show appreciation, and emails full of information on how to succeed when working from home. These communications are necessary and appreciated, and most importantly, relevant for what we’re all experiencing.
These human touches and daily interactions are why Pack Health uses human Health Advisors rather than artificial intelligence. Are robots less costly than human beings? Yes. Can they provide feedback 24/7? Definitely. But can they provide empathy, action, and understanding of a shared experience during a global pandemic? Probably not.
In order to keep our employees safe and healthy, our team left our offices on March 13, riding out the pandemic from home.
While the reality was startling, it wasn’t cause for us to panic. Why? Because our operations haven’t changed, merely where we physically sit. Actually, little to nothing has changed for Pack Health if you segment our engagement with members compared to the rest of the world’s activity.
We still maintain relationships with members to better understand the barriers to their health and the challenges they’re up against. We still connect members with grocery and prescription delivery. We still engage our members to help them manage their chronic conditions from the safety of their homes. Essentially, this is what we’ve been doing all along, but now the “safety of their homes” holds more significance than ever before.
COVID-19 has raised awareness of what individuals with chronic conditions are experiencing, as well as the importance of managing and maintaining health. Now more than ever, we realize the importance and necessity of human connections and social support. We’re confronting social determinants of health head-on that we hadn’t previously considered. We now live in a world that has renewed our focus on providing accessible care options for individuals regardless of where they live or work. While increased awareness is helpful, reactive solutions only serve a temporary purpose. At Pack Health, we’re committed to the long game.
Our work on the front lines of COVID has helped keep our members with chronic conditions healthy and out of the hospital.
You won’t find news articles explaining how our Health Advisors are sometimes the only consistent social connection for an elderly member who lives alone. You won’t find television stories depicting our Health Advisors arranging grocery deliveries for their members. We’re not developing products to throw at organizations, struggling to respond and looking for a quick solution to help their team. We don’t have to do these things because we’re doing what we’ve always done. Our company wasn’t built to respond to a pandemic, but now that we’re living through it, we know this is exactly why we’re here.