One of the best things about Pritikin ICR is the company’s adaptability and pioneering vision. As a healthcare company, one of the organization's main priorities is anticipating clients’ and their patients’ needs. A perfect example of this is our virtual cardiac rehab offering which emerged during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when many cardiac rehab facilities were unable to host in-person sessions.
Buoyed by the success of this virtual offering, our team sought to leverage what we learned from remote programming to meet another client need: filling short-term vacancies while maintaining the quality of the program to ensure a positive patient experience and outcomes.
Understanding the Issue
To deliver Pritikin’s evidence-based, Medicare-approved content, PritikinICR clients are required to employ a multi-disciplinary team including a Registered Dietitian (RD), Exercise Physiologist (EP), and a healthy-mindset professional (such as a licensed social worker, psychologist, or chaplain). In a perfect cardiac rehab world, the director fills these positions with the best candidates and that dream team is in it for the long haul. However, that is rarely the case as team members take vacation time, family leave, relocate, or resign unexpectedly. Picture the following scenario:
Your ICR facility is a well-oiled machine. Every Monday, you hold Workshops, Wednesdays are dedicated to videos and RD 1:1’s, and Cooking School rounds out the week on Fridays. Everything operates smoothly until your RD turns in a letter of resignation. What do you do?
Faced with similar scenarios, many cardiac rehab facilities have had less-than-ideal options:
- Pull an RD from another area of the hospital and give them a crash course in the Pritikin content.
- Downgrade the patient engagement and overall experience by playing videos for all education sessions until you can hire a new RD which many times can take months.
The PritikinLIVE Solution
PritikinLIVE is the brainchild of Christine Alongi, our Director of Virtual ICR and Product Development. Before joining the Pritikin ICR team, she launched and managed multiple cardiac rehab programs where she encountered the very issue PritikinLIVE aims to solve. Below, she explains how PritikinLIVE is able to maintain the quality of a patient’s cardiac rehab experience regardless of staffing gaps:
“I figured that if this is a headache I experienced, it is probably a common issue that all CR leaders encounter. Patients need consistent care regardless of facility staffing nuances. I thought, ‘what if we had an RD, EP, or Healthy mindset professional, that could livestream into a facility to cover a cooking workshop or meet with a patient for a one-on-one consult, when the on-site personnel is on vacation or resigns unexpectedly? Almost like a substitute teacher.’ This would solve the issue of having to rearrange the CR education schedule or finding an in-person replacement, which can be quite challenging while maintaining a positive patient experience.”
The PritikinLIVE Team
Christine and her team have been able to help several ICR facilities who would have otherwise struggled to hire temporary or long-term personnel. As Casey Atwood, one of the program’s RDs shared, “one of the most surprising and rewarding parts of the job has been the level of engagement the education professionals are able to maintain with patients as they livestream into their classrooms”. She even had a patient come up to the screen after class and ask additional questions after class was over!
PritikinLIVE RDs teach Cooking School Workshops and hold RD one on one appointments from their home kitchens with patients in cardiac rehab facilities across the country. Sarah Pfeifer, another PritikinLIVE RD especially loves the position as she is "able to connect with people from all over and help them along their health journey” from home.
We are especially proud of our latest offering, our clients are excited about it too. See what cardiac rehab directors and patients have to say about their experiences with PritikinLIVE:
“We are currently utilizing PritikinLIVE for our Nutrition Workshops, and RD one on one appointments, and intend to pick up the Healthy Minds Workshops at some point. We found a need for coverage for a few months, due to a maternity leave for our dietitian, but this may extend longer depending on dietitian/social worker availability. It has been great for our RD one-on-one appointments, and we also had surprisingly good involvement/interaction with our Nutrition Workshop too. The service has been very smooth. With the IT capabilities, things have gone very well, and our patients have followed right along with positive feedback to boot.” - Graham Hospital Intensive Cardiac Rehab Director
“We have very limited space at our facility and had to be creative with the education portion of our program for Pritikin. We had no space to do the cooking schools in-person so we have been using PritikinLIVE via zoom. Our patients still can ask questions and interact with the Pritikin dietitian while she demonstrates the cooking school. We provide samples of the food she is cooking so the patients can actually taste it. This is a great option when space is limited.” - Kearney Regional Hospital Intensive Cardiac Rehab Director
“The PritikinLIVE Cooking School dietitian was talented, knowledgeable, and exceptionally entertaining. And thanks to the first-rate virtual technology, I really felt like I was right there in the Chef’s home kitchen! She was able to answer all my questions about the recipes on the spot.” - Patient from Renown’s Intensive Cardiac Rehab who participated in a PritikinLIVE Cooking School Workshop
“PritikinLIVE has been a lifesaver for us and the staff/patients love Casey.” - Cardiovascular Institute of the South