Springfield Business Journal: What has been key to your recent growth?
John Ray: Definitely the growth of the aging population. Demographics play a big role. There are a lot more individuals who are wanting to receive their care at home rather than in a facility.
SBJ: What has the company’s growth enabled you to do?
Ray: The main thing that we’ve done is invest heavily in technology. That’s kind of been a constant need in our company. We utilize several different technology platforms [like telemonitoring and e-prescription software, cellular-connected mobile tablets] that help us to monitor our patients and improve efficiency, but yet still have very much a personal touch.
SBJ: What are your top issues when it comes to managing growth?
Ray: Talent is always No. 1 on our list. Getting the best talent in place is absolutely key for our growth and understanding our own limitations.
SBJ: Is there such a thing as growing too fast?
Ray: I definitely believe there is a thing as growing too fast. You don’t manage the quality of your product if you don’t manage your growth. We have recently expanded to new locations and with those locations, it has brought a new set of challenges. But because we took our time in our expansion, it made it go much easier.
SBJ: Is your fast growth sustainable?
Ray: If you would have asked me three months ago, I would have said, “Absolutely.” I don’t know if I can answer that the same way today. I believe it is, but there are a lot of unknowns.
SBJ: Where is the tipping point?
Ray: We monitor our staff and our patient satisfaction and outcomes very carefully. So if there are any areas we’ve missed in any one of those, that is how we know we’ve hit our tipping point.
SBJ: Have your goals changed as business has taken off?
Ray: They really have. We initially started off with goals that were related to growth. We really wanted to just grow. The last three years, we have doubled back on the quality of our service. Even though we have still grown quite well, we probably could have grown a lot more and a lot faster had we not tried to slow ourselves down a little bit. Our goal was to maintain the highest level of quality and service. Even though growth would have meant a lot more revenue, a lot more market share and all of those things that are great for business, we saw that if we grew too quickly, it would dilute that quality. Our goals are more weighted toward the quality of our growth now than the amount of growth. Growth is still definitely on our top three of our goals, but it’s not No. 1.
SBJ: How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your company?
Ray: It’s hard to imagine a way that it hasn’t affected our business. We’re in health care so we have frontline workers – we call them Haven heroes – nurses, therapists and aides that are out on the frontlines taking care of people in dire need of care. Our first concern is with their safety, and of course, the safety of our clients.
A pair of area medical colleges that received state grant funding in the fall are now investing the funds toward technology and new programs with the intent of attracting more students to the nursing profession.