Five Lessons Learned, Three Years In.

I just reached my three-year anniversary with RecoveryOne. Thought I’d share some hard-won pointers that I picked up along the way…

  1. Win through your team and culture. Helping consumers recover from painful #MSK disorders is hard, and getting people engaged in their own recovery requires tremendous courage and resilience. Thus, having the most talented and dedicated team is key to success in everything else. We must care for those who care for our members, which starts with nurturing a culture where everyone feels a sense of belonging and higher purpose.
  2. Changing consumer behavior is hard and requires a variety of interventions. For some people, a loving grandparent will do the trick; for others, a drill sergeant is exactly what’s needed. Some of our members are motivated by education, by gamification, or by seeing how their pain has improved in the last couple of weeks  — especially when they’re having an off day. Still others find inspiration in connecting with people who are going through a similar experience. Whatever the means, we know there is no universal solution. That’s why we use highly trained behavior change specialists to understand what each member needs and to motivate members to get and stay engaged.
  3. The birthplace of engagement is satisfaction. If you want to inspire and motivate people — particularly those facing a stressful, anxiety-producing situation — you have to create an environment that is simple, intuitive, friction-free, and accessible to all. While satisfaction on its own doesn’t generate adherence, you don’t have a shot at true engagement without superior satisfaction.
  4. Engagement matters a bunch, but recovery matters more. Other companies in our space love to tout their engagement rate. To be fair, we do, too: ours is 82.1 percent.  Let’s pause and think about what that really means, though: 82 out of every 100 people who begin their recovery on our platform complete their recovery. In actuality, then,it’s a completion rate. We shouldn’t get overly enamored by program completion on its own. When your loved one completes a 90-day treatment for a substance use disorder, does that always mean they are fully recovered? Of course not. Getting and staying engaged through the end of a program is a great leading indicator, but completion is not an end itself. That’s why, beginning in late 2019, we started to measure and work to improve our recovery rate: the percentage of members who actually recover fully in terms of pain and/or function, based on objective thresholds established in the medical literature for specific diagnoses and procedures. Our recovery rate is 77.4 percent. Do you know yours?
  5. Focus on the end-to-end recovery journey, not the visit. So often when I meet new people, they assume that we use the same visit-by-visit model as conventional, in-person physical therapy (PT). Because many PT clinics are paid to be “visit factories” (i.e., they focus on visits as the keystone of MSK recovery), the assumption is understandable. Digitizing a PT visit may be helpful, but optimizing the cost and quality of the journey from “ouch” to “all better” with an evidence-based, customized solution is where the real opportunity lies. Sometimes, that journey warrants virtual care; other times, it warrants in-person care. Sometimes, a surgeon is required; other times, a PT is needed. More often, optimal recovery demands a particular mix.  The bottom line is that you don’t want to be a modality looking for a problem. Rather, you want to solve each disorder using a precise blend of treatment options in a continuously personalized way.

While the strategies I’ve learned throughout these past three years have been game changers, I know there is still much to be explored in the world of MSK recovery. I can’t wait to see what the next three years have in store.