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Early in her career, Kimberly Sinclair discovered the advantages of having the confidence to take risks. After earning a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders, she began her career as a practicing speech-language pathologist. She’s now vice president of operations, business strategy, and solutions for Sound Physicians’, which offers remote and on-site advisory services to healthcare facilities across the country.
How she got to where she is now involved learning the importance of accepting opportunities for growth as they arise. “Don’t say ‘no’ to the opportunity, even if you think you’re not qualified. It’s very easy to doubt ourselves. Being goal-driven, I told myself, ‘Even if you’re uncertain, say yes,” Sinclair says.
In her first job as a speech-language pathologist at a rehabilitation facility, Sinclair grew close enough to her director to ask if she could learn to manage the team and the day-to-day office operations. “I saw what my managers were doing, and I said, ‘I can do that,’” she remembers.
Sinclair took to the business side of healthcare and landed a consultant job as a traveling operations consultant for another rehab company, managing teams around the Midwest to ensure they delivered quality patient care while remaining complaint. “Anyone can pivot in their industry if they want to. It was a scary thought when I decided to no longer be clinical. It was part of my identity, but I took the chance,” she explains.
As a clinician, Sinclair enjoyed working with nurses and physicians, establishing professional relationships and adding value to her work. But when she jumped to the business side of healthcare, to manage teams in multiple states, she lost that connection she valued. Once she learned Sound Physicians was searching for an account manager in its advisory services division, she seized the opportunity to work with nurses and physicians again.
In her role overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Sound Physicians’ advisory services business, Sinclair draws on her experience with the clinical side of operations and the role technology plays in healthcare. “It’s really helped that I started as an account manager because when developing technology, I think about it from a business standpoint and what’s going to be valuable for our hospital partners,” she says.
Her current position is also a result of her ability to always be on the lookout for her next move. Sinclair wanted to understand the technology side of healthcare and saw an opportunity to manage and enhance Sound Physicians’ advisory services application; she approached her boss, who took her up on her offer.
About a 1,000 nurses in over 150 healthcare facilities across the US use the Sound Physicians’ advisory services application to obtain feedback to support their patients. The team of physician advisors use their clinical background, knowledge of Medicare, and payer guidelines to review patient charts and determine if the documentation found in the medical record justifies the level of care the patient is receiving. “It’s important we support our nurses as much as possible, so they can better serve their patients,” Sinclair says.
Sound Physicians has several ongoing initiatives that Sinclair finds exciting. During COVID-19, insurers were approving and processing nearly all claims, she says, but now denials are back to pre-pandemic levels. “That’s bad for hospitals’ bottom lines and harmful to patients,” she adds. Given this shift, Sound Physicians has changed the way it views appeals and denials, specifically on education, messaging to nurses and physicians, and the appeal letters themselves. “We work really hard to make sure our team can get that payment they deserve for services rendered that are supported by medical documentation, and that’s pretty exciting.”
Sinclair is also enthusiastic about the Sound Physicians’ Medicare advisory business. Hospitals that have Sound Physicians’ hospital medicine programs collaborate with advisory services who leverage technology and human intervention to screen patients who may be eligible for a different level of care, based on severity of illness of the patient and documented medical records by the attending physician. Using a team of physician advisors, Medicare guidelines and collaboration, they assist in “delivering the highest level of care possible,” the VP explains.
As a leader, Sinclair doesn’t operate under a hierarchical structure. She rolls up her sleeves and acts when necessary. “If I have the bandwidth or I’m between calls I’ll say, ‘Let me handle that,’ or, ‘What can I do to support you and get this closed?’” she says.
Throughout her career, as opportunities have presented themselves, Sinclair has said “yes” and encourages her team members to do the same. She recalls a review she had some years ago, during which her boss said, “For somebody who does so much, you always manage to take on more and do well.”
“It’s allowed me to develop real life skills and a knowledge base I may not have otherwise had,” Sinclair recalls. “These skills allowed me to become more confident and take bigger risks, and that has fortunately paid off.”
Macedon Technologies has been a proud partner of Sound Physicians since 2019, assisting them with low-code automation and robotic process automation, improving resource efficiency and data fidelity across multiple systems. This has enabled Sound Physicians to scale their operations and grow partnerships with new hospital clients and health networks.