Pritikin ICR: Reflecting on a 5-Year Evolution

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  • February 24, 2023

Have you seen the TV show Manifest?

In the show, a group of individuals take off on a flight and when they land it’s 5 years later. I recently went through a somewhat similar experience as I transitioned back to Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab (ICR).

To set the stage, I started my journey with Pritikin in 2015. For the first couple of years, I mainly focused on implementing new sites. I dedicated the next five years to Pritikin Foods, launching a food initiative. Recently, I had the opportunity to return to ICR, and I jumped at the opportunity. Things have changed a lot over the last five years, and I’d like to share my insights.

When I returned to Pritikin ICR, I was amazed to see how the program had evolved and expanded over the past 5 years.* When I started in May of 2015, intensive cardiac rehab was a new service and at the time, there were only 5 Pritikin locations open. Currently, we have over 100 locations! With a robust lifestyle education curriculum and demonstration of superior outcomes compared to traditional CR programs, we expect continued rapid growth. To date, the Pritikin ICR Program has treated more than 65,000 patients.

The Implementation Team was built to personalize the training experience.

In the old days, we would do the initial training with our clients at our health and wellness resort in Miami, the Pritikin Longevity Center. Some issues we encountered with this training model could be attributed to both scheduling and related travel expenses. Finding time to pull people away from their day jobs (typically running an existing CR Department) was challenging. As such, we were often only able to train a few staff members from each site.

To best accommodate scheduling needs, we often grouped staff from various facilities. This limited our ability to offer specially tailored training experiences. We were able to overcome these challenges by establishing a team dedicated solely to the new-and-improved implementation of new onboarding sites. Our implementation department guides all relevant staff at a facility through the entire process leading up to launch. The new model which mixes both virtual and on-site training helps solve most scheduling conflicts and enables us to offer more personalized and thorough training to the entire staff. These changes have not only improved the training experience, but they have also helped to streamline the overall onboarding process. Back when training took place at the Pritikin Longevity Center, the implementation of a new site took several months. Currently, we are averaging about 8 weeks to opening day.

Marketing has kicked our resources up a notch (or two).

Our talented marketing team has continued to create new resources to better support our partners and their patients. While we’ve always maintained high-quality patient resources and facility support tools, in recent years, these materials have evolved tremendously. The addition of our Patient Engagement Kits has taken our support offerings to an all-new level. The feedback from facilities and patients is overwhelmingly positive. In addition to updated printed materials, new patient educational videos are in-production.

Account Management is armed with technology, experience, and solutions.

Over the last several years, we have enhanced our data analytics to better help clients maximize success. Our Account Management team is now able to drill down and analyze performance in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I initially joined the team. Our robust business intelligence platform provides visually immersive and interactive insights to help identify successes, trends, and improvement opportunities. Recently, we launched PritikinLIVE, a solution that has met the needs of countless ICR facilities. Our dedicated PritikinLIVE team supports sites working to fill short-term vacancies by live streaming into their education space and teaching cooking schools and workshops. Both our Pritikin LIVE and Account Management teams continue to grow, expanding our organization’s wealth of knowledge and experience. These teams are made up of former ICR/CR directors, as well as registered dietitians, exercise physiologists, a respiratory therapist, and a chef.

Business Development is not going to Cancun.

Working for other organizations, I have encountered salespeople focused only on closing the deal so they can head to Cancun. That’s not true with Pritikin. Before now, I had never worked with a group that has so much integrity and a sincere desire to see the facilities and patients succeed. They aren’t in Cancun after an agreement is signed – they stay engaged throughout the implementation process to ensure that what they promised is delivered.

Leadership is blazing a trail with their vision.

I would be remiss to not mention our new Leadership Team and their vision. Since our leadership was onboarded a few years ago, our growth has skyrocketed. They are “all-in” for ensuring we have the partnerships and resources to continue adding hundreds of locations. One example of this leadership mentality took place in December 2022. Our President joined forces with other industry leaders to advocate for better access and outcomes for the underserved cardiac population.

Stay tuned...

If the next 5 years are anything like the last, we can anticipate many more incredible enhancements to our already amazing program. I am looking forward to drafting that next blog post describing all the great enhancements that will take place over the next 5 years. Scheduled to be released in February 2028. 😉

Last but not least, if you’re considering transitioning from a traditional CR to an ICR or opening an ICR from scratch, I encourage you to read a blog written by one of my peers Tara Steadman (who used to be a CR and ICR Director): wherein she breaks down the implementation process.


*I must say this is in no way derogatory to the folks working for the company back then - many are still on-board. I consider myself one of them, and I’m proud of the foundation we formed. An equal shout-out goes to our hospital partners from the early days; you know who you are. You were instrumental in evolving the ICR model and gaining the respect we’ve built with nationally recognized hospitals, cardiovascular clinics, and the professional cardiovascular community.

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Whether at the long-standing Pritikin Longevity Center or one of our many licensed ICR facilities nationwide, Pritikin is making life-changing impacts on thousands of lives, every day.  Hear directly from providers and patients as you learn more about our decades-long history and our continued message of healing and hope.