Jess Chew, VP of Marketing at Trella Health
With more than 10 years’ experience in healthcare marketing, Jessica leads Trella Health’s marketing team.
Prior to joining Trella Health, Jessica served as a marketing leader at Greenway Health, an EHR and practice management solutions company that serves the independent physician market.
After graduating from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s in journalism, Jessica got her start in marketing at Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in America. She thought this entry-level job was the first step on the road to a career as an investigative reporter — but immediately became hooked on marketing.
At Trella Health, she’s able to do all the things she loved about journalism — digging for information and insights, helping people share their stories — and she’s also able to make a meaningful difference in the way post-acute care is provided.
Connect with Jess on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Healthcare tech
- Atlanta Tech scene
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio brought to you by on pay Atlanta’s new standard in payroll. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:24] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Atlanta Business Radio. And this is going to be a fun one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor on pay. Without them, we couldn’t be sharing these important stories. Today on Atlanta Business Radio, we have Jess Chew with Trella Health. Welcome, Jess.
Jess Chew: [00:00:42] Hi, Lee. Great to be here.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:44] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to at Health. Tell us a little bit about kind of mission purpose. How you serving folks?
Jess Chew: [00:00:52] Yeah. So telehealth provides growth solutions for health care organizations. We really believe that by providing insights and performance metrics, making those visible for health care organizations across the board, that we can really make a difference in how patients are treated and how in reducing unnecessary health care costs. So at our core, we give customers insight into what’s happening in their markets and with their competitors, as well as the tools to take action on those insights.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:21] You use an interesting word visible. Everybody talks about data and a lot of organizations have access to lots and lots of data, but they don’t know how to make it visible and how to kind of discern what is the most important things I should even be looking at. How does Trello kind of help in that way?
Jess Chew: [00:01:41] Yeah, no, it’s a really great point. We do there’s two things that makes what we do at Trello special. One is the data that we have access to. So while health care organizations have a ton of data on their own organizations and their own patients, the missing piece for them is often knowing what’s happening in their markets with their patients at different providers and with some of their competitors. So we have a special relationship with Medicare where we get access to all the fee for service claims as well as Medicare Advantage claims. And we take all of that and aggregate it and provide one clear view into what’s happening in your market and your state and your county nationally. So that’s a differentiator because like I said, health care organizations have a ton of information at their own buildings, but they don’t necessarily have what’s happening at a broader level. And then, like you said, data is only as useful as what you can do with it. And we have an awesome team of data scientists that take all of that information and compile it into helpful calculations, surface information. We have a great Web team that turns that into more visuals. We do a lot of things with color coding and just trying to make data as simple as possible and surfacing up what we think are the most critical points for each user.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:07] Now, is the user the the medical center or facility, or is it the consumer? Because I would you know, from the medical center and I know I charge X for this type of A procedure and I can see around, oh, these people charge why these people charge? Z That’s interesting for me to see where I stand from that standpoint. But as a consumer, if I know that center charges, you know, X and Center B charges, you know, five X, you know, maybe I’ll choose this other place. Does it go down to the consumer level or is it just kind of one institution to another?
Jess Chew: [00:03:47] Yeah, it’s not done to the consumer level. It’s the health care organizations themselves. And the primary users at those health care organizations are like the strategic folks, the sales and marketing teams, so that they know who should they be working with to help bring in more patients and who should they be collaborating for in terms of making networks like who? Who would be a good fit for their practice to be working with from a business standpoint?
Lee Kantor: [00:04:11] So it’s, it’s giving you kind of outcomes. So you can see that Surgeon A is more successful in this manner than the surgeon.
Jess Chew: [00:04:19] B Yeah, that’s part of it for sure. And another thing, for example, home health agencies, they’re a big part of our business. We sell to them a lot, helping them understand what types of doctors in your area are referring patients to home health who maybe isn’t but should be because their patients are not having the types of outcomes that doctors who are referring to home health are having. So that’s a big piece about of what we do.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:45] So what was the genesis of the idea? How did this whole company get started?
Jess Chew: [00:04:51] Yeah. So our our founder was working in the post-acute space. He’s actually working at a CRM, a company at the time. And what he found was he was, you know, selling into sales and marketing organizations. But what those teams needed was more information about where they should be going, where they should be spending their time. And then once they do finally get that ultra important meeting with the physician, what should they be saying? And so that’s we were founded around helping them get the insights and information that they need to make their time really efficient. And also at the time, he just saw not a lot of companies were innovating in the post-acute care space. It’s not as big as some of the other health care markets. There’s a lot more small and medium sized businesses. So it’s not as many of these. Giant health systems, and it’s also a big driver of costs for our health care system. And so he really felt like we could make a huge impact in this space and and provide better resources to these companies who are caring for our nation’s most vulnerable.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:00] Now, was this happening at the time when I think the rules change, where they that the insurance companies cared more about outcomes and they were kind of almost penalizing you for bad outcomes?
Jess Chew: [00:06:13] Absolutely, yeah. As we’ve started shifting away from a volume based system where you get paid for a service rendered and moving more towards a value based system where you’re getting reimbursed based on outcomes, and now health systems are getting dinged if their patients are coming back into the getting readmitted into the hospital. So it’s just so much more important now that as you’re referring patients, as you’re sending them from one place to another, that you’re working with people not based on relationships, but based on how they treat patients. Do they treat the types of patients that you treat? Do they have expertize in that area and are they known for having really good outcomes because it ultimately is now starting to affect every single health care organization’s business, whether or not they’re the ones treating them at the time.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:04] So when you say relationships as a driver in the past, that was like that was the person I played golf with was kind of a driver in terms of should I partner with this facility as opposed to who is the one that’s really delivering, you know, the outcome that we all desire.
Jess Chew: [00:07:21] Exactly. Or we, you know, we like to say we’re moving away from donuts and moving towards data. And, you know, donuts are still an important piece of business development in the health care world, for sure. But, you know, a lot of times back in the day, it was who who brought something to the office most recently, who have I known forever that I should send my patients to? And while that’s is certainly merits to working with people that you have good relationships to now, it’s just so much more important that you’re paying attention to. Is this organization best suited to care for my types of patients? Are they well versed in caring for people with these types of conditions, and are they known for having really strong outcomes so that I know my patients are going to get the care they need and they’re not going to rebound and come back for the exact same thing.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:08] And that’s really where kind of the secret sauce of Trello, you’re able to parse that data and say, okay, you know what, this organization might be great for people over 80, but they’re not great for people at 35 with a similar injury.
Jess Chew: [00:08:24] Exactly. We only deal with patients 65 plus and older, but. Exactly. You’re right on. You’re exactly right on the track. I mean, we help you understand this group is really good at caring for cancer patients or this group is really good at caring for those who have just had major heart surgery. So every every organization is going to have their own specialties. And we help really surface that information and showcase what a difference in outcomes for the patients that can make.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:53] So now how has kind of the trajectory of cello’s growth gone? I know that early in your career you worked with maybe some early stage folks in the past and you so your background is kind of interesting. So I’d like to kind of touch on that as well. But where are we at with Trello right now?
Jess Chew: [00:09:12] Yeah, I mean, we’ve been growing, growing like crazy. We’ve entered a couple of new markets. We had an acquisition at the end of last year. So it’s been I’ve been with Trello for about three and a half years. It’s been a really great ride and I think, you know, as seniors are continuing to age, there’s continuing to be more value based care type programs coming out that are impacting all the different care settings that we serve and and highlighting other care settings that we should probably enter into to help support them during these times. So it’s just it’s been a really exciting time to to be at Trello.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:49] Now for you personally, it seems like you’re attracted to these fast growing emerging brands.
Jess Chew: [00:09:55] Yeah, absolutely. I was actually just thinking about it because this week, 13 years ago, I was just moving back to Atlanta from from my first job, which was at probably the largest company that I ever worked at, which was Gannett, one of the largest newspaper publishers in the country. And I was was moving back to Atlanta and trying to figure out what I was going to do next. It was honestly one of the worst job markets.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:19] So at that time, you were you had a journalist hat on at Gannett or you were in marketing at Gannett.
Jess Chew: [00:10:26] So I was in marketing at Gannett. I thought I was going to be a joy. I spent my entire life dreaming of being a journalist, and then when I graduated college, had the opportunity to work on the business side of a newspaper and absolutely fell in love with marketing and realize just how many similarities there are with. Journalism and marketing. So I did have my marketer hat on at that point, but I knew the likelihood of getting another job at a newspaper was very slim. So I started thinking about other alternatives. Ended up at an apparel company. It was a startup. It was really fun. We were we were mostly selling flannel pants, so it was really fun. But I, I missed kind of that mission driven work, which is what I felt like. I was getting in a newspaper. I felt like I was doing something really important by helping getting news in front of people. And so that’s when I started working at a small marketing agency supporting health care companies, doing B2B marketing. And that’s where I was like, Ooh, yes, I love this. I love helping health care organizations and those that are serving health care organizations. So from there, I went to work at an HR company serving ambulatory practices, which is like your primary care doctor. So I was at Greenway and I was there for a couple of years in their marketing department with marketing ops and demand generation, and then got the call to come join the Trello team. And I couldn’t say no to that because it just was such an exciting product and a market that I hadn’t been able to serve, but felt was just a really important one.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:59] So how is your experience been in the Atlanta tech scene? I’ve had the opportunity to interview lots and lots of startup founders, lots of startups, and I’ve seen the kind of startup scene grow over the last ten, 15 years. What has it been for you to be kind of immersed in, especially this health care tech scene?
Jess Chew: [00:12:22] Oh, yeah. No, it’s been phenomenal. I mean, I remember when I was working at the apparel company, which is a startup, Sara Blakely came in the founder of Spanx. She came in and this was before Spanx was like crazy big. But I still knew of her because they’d had some early success and just walked down the halls. I was talking to people and I’m like, Oh my gosh, so crazy Spanx is here. But yeah, I mean, it is. There’s so many people in my network that I talk to on a very frequent basis that are at other similar stage growth companies, some in health care, some not. We’re right around the corner from Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead. And I just I feel like I’m always running into somebody wearing another startup t shirt in the elevator, in the office.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:08] It’s a lifestyle.
Jess Chew: [00:13:09] It’s it is a lifestyle.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:13] I believe it is. I mean, to me, I think startup t shirts were the concert t shirts. You know, today they are what the the concert teacher was, you know, a generation ago.
Jess Chew: [00:13:24] Oh, absolutely. I mean, and I take a lot of pride in making sure that Estrella, we have really nice t shirts because I totally get it. And I, I sometimes I feel bad when I hop on an interview and like, I’m interviewing a candidate to work for us and I have like a t shirt on and they’re in a very fancy business outfit for an interview. But, you know, I’m like, this is what it’s like when you work at a startup, you get to wear t shirts.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:49] And then it’s not everybody gets that. I mean, it’s it’s not for everybody.
Jess Chew: [00:13:54] Exactly.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:55] So now what’s it like kind of recruiting talent in today’s market? And you’re in the health care tech Atlanta, and I’m sure you’re you’re searching all over the country, if not the world, for talent today.
Jess Chew: [00:14:11] Yeah. I mean, honestly, this is one of the hardest markets I’ve ever had to recruit in because you’re competing just with a lot of different companies. There’s a lot of different benefits that people are offering. I mean, it’s it’s really the opposite job market of when I quit my job 13 years ago and moved back to Atlanta. And that’s a really exciting thing for employees. I think it’s a really great time, but it has made it extremely difficult. And so what I try to do is lean on the autonomy that we have here and the fact that I have such trust from my boss, the CEO, and all he asks of the marketing team is that we drive pipeline, that we nurture and engage customers so they want to retain and renew and that we help build up Treloar as a place where people want to work. How we do that is completely up to us. And so I think for a marketer that’s something really exciting and hopefully I’m trying to attract people that want to be at a place like that. And also just going back to our mission, I mean, I think there’s a lot of people like me who want to be working at a company where they feel like they’re doing something really important. And so try to tap into that too, because it is really competitive out there right now.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:31] So now what is the kind of the office situation? Is it in office? Is it remote? Is it hybrid?
Jess Chew: [00:15:40] Yeah, it’s really. Really up to the individual. So we still have our headquarters here in Atlanta. I’m actually in the office right now. I love coming into the office, so I’m here pretty much every day. But I’m one of the few people that that that is my preference. And it’s completely up to every single person. We have like a workday Wednesday where it’s just a day where a lot of people do tend to come in. And that way people know like, hey, if I want to see somebody one day this week, which what day should be Wednesday, but it’s completely up to everyone what their preference is.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:09] So when you are doing that kind of hybrid work day, can you. How did how does it work? This is something that I’m it’s a puzzle for me as a layperson, as an outsider. If you if on one side, I can be remote and I can, you know, live in Michigan because I got to take care of my parents who are in Michigan. And and you’re okay with that? I mean, during the pandemic, everybody was okay with anybody living anywhere. And then if if it’s still okay and then you do things like Workplace Wednesday and I’m in Michigan, is that still okay or is it do I really have to be kind of in the metro Atlanta area so that or, you know, within a drive so that I could come in and work day Wednesday?
Jess Chew: [00:16:57] Yeah, no, it’s totally we have people all over the country and even my team that used to be pretty much an Atlanta based team just because we’d hired most of the people before the pandemic, when we did really want to be in the office together. Now I have a couple of people spread out, so yeah, there’s no pressure to be together. It is. We are still figuring out, gosh, if you have some people in one office and you have a couple of people remote, how do you make that meeting as effective as possible? I would say we’re still stumbling through that like others are. Sometimes, even if there’s three of us in the office, we still take it from our desk just because we want it to each be our own little square on the screen. But for Workday Wednesday, we try to do things that it’s most important to be together for. Otherwise, if we’re just coming to the office to sit on Zoom calls, it’s like, Well, why did we do that? So, you know, we try to we try to find time to make sure that the people that we know are going to come in, that we’re spending time with them and and then prioritizing people who may not be in the office on the other days.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:01] So what for you was that clue when you were you know, you go from unit, you go into this startup world now you’re you’re exploring, you know, you’re with, like you said, that fashion company and then you get into health care. How did you start sensing, you know what this is? I’m good at this. I have a superpower that maybe is different than other people hear. My kind of lens on the world is unique because of my background and who I am and what I can do. Like can you talk a little bit about that from just that self-discovery standpoint of getting you to where you are now and having kind of this your own great trajectory of your career as it’s expanded and grown over the years?
Jess Chew: [00:18:45] Yeah, well, I think for me, it started when I was at the apparel company because when I was working at newspaper I was like living my childhood dream and I used to go it every morning and this is going to sound ridiculous. But there was a table where all the newspapers that we published at that at that press would be laid out on the table. And I’d grab one of each one to take to my desk so I could read on my coffee break. So I was like living my childhood dream. I always knew I wanted to do that. And then when I was at the apparel company, I thought it was crazy fun. I mean, I was organizing photo shoots. I was picking out which pattern of flannel we were going to put on the cover of the catalog. It was crazy fun, but there was just this element of like, why? Like, why does it matter that there’s going to be pink flint on this on this cover for me? And I just I didn’t have that same passion that I had about picking up my newspapers every morning as I did about picking out the flannel. And then when I, I really didn’t choose on purpose to go to a health care agency, I was really intrigued by it, but I wasn’t like, Ooh, this is my calling.
Jess Chew: [00:19:49] But once I started talking to customers, so not not necessarily the organizations that we were supporting, but their customers when I started interviewing them for different marketing projects and getting to hear in their words, like what their day to day was like, how the products we were helping market were we’re solving real problems for them and giving them like time back in their day so that they could spend more time with their families, so that they could provide a better experience for their patients. That to me it was just like a light bulb went off for me and I’m like, yes, this is this is something I can really get excited about and give me that feeling of I’m making a difference. I’m contributing something. I’m putting marketing messages out there, but that they’re ultimately driving to, you know, a patient getting better care or a doctor being able to. Go home and actually spend time with their family because they’re not having to to sit there and try and type notes into a ear system because it’s clunky.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:49] So the impact was real. Like it wasn’t a theoretical or it wasn’t. You were seeing actual impact.
Jess Chew: [00:20:56] Exactly. And it was through talking with my I guess it was technically my customers, customers, the organizations I was supporting at the time from the agency side, talking to their customers and really hearing firsthand how technology was was truly having a positive impact in their lives. And that was just yeah, it was really game changing for me in my career.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:19] And that’s when that light bulb went off and you were like, I am on the right path. This does you know, this is, you know, an exciting reason to get up every day and every Monday. I’m looking forward to I’m not dreading it.
Jess Chew: [00:21:32] Exactly. And that’s I mean, that’s when I basically said, you know, and there’s also so many health care tech companies in Atlanta. I was like, yes, I’ve found my niche. I’m set. This is where I’m going to spend the rest of my marketing days is is helping support health care companies.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:48] Now, how did you kind of keep your skills relevant and fresh as this tech scene is obviously expanding and growing and changing and chaotic? And so, you know, not only it’s one thing to have your passion pointing in the true north, but it’s another thing to say, okay, well, I’ve got to get good at this and stay good at this.
Jess Chew: [00:22:13] Yeah. And my role was not necessarily at the agency focused on some of the marketing technology that we were using for clients. But I found that in order to answer clients questions, I needed to get a lot deeper. And then and I never thought of myself as somebody who was good at technology or somebody who was particularly skilled at computers or whatever. I fell in love with Marketo, which is the marketing automation system that we were using at the time. It just clicked for me, and so I actually went way down that rabbit hole and that’s when I got my next job at Greenway I was in marketing operations, is running the tech stack for the company and I, I really appreciated that I was a member of we had a, I think they called it mug like a marketo user group but then did need to branch out and start because marketing changes so fast. So I’ve also joined gosh, what do they call it now? I always want to call it Revenue Collective, but there’s a group of like minded go to market leaders, there’s a Slack community and there’s regular meetups part of that. I’m always on LinkedIn. I have a couple of people that I follow very closely because I’m always looking to see what they’re saying and I’m paying attention to that. And I’m just an avid reader, too, of different business books, different business philosophies. And that’s one thing I love about working for Scott Tap, the CEO that we have now and at Trello is he’s introduced the concept of executive book club. So the exec team reads a book and then we talk about it every Friday as as we read it, we don’t wait till the very end. We kind of meet progressively. So those are just some of the ways in which I try to stay. Freshen and on my game.
Lee Kantor: [00:24:03] So what do you need more of? How can we help you?
Jess Chew: [00:24:07] Whew. I don’t know. That’s a really good question. I would definitely say, you know, even though I’m in some of these groups where I feel like and I have network connections with like minded people, it’s ever since the pandemic, it has been a little bit hard to continually find places and ways to meet up with other people in similar roles and similar stage companies. And so I just think that’s something I’m always looking for, is trying to connect with others at similar phases of their career, similar stage companies, because there’s just always so much that we can learn from each other. And, and so I could always use more networking opportunities around that.
Lee Kantor: [00:24:48] Well, if somebody wants to connect with you, whether it’s on LinkedIn or whether they want to, you know, maybe a job at Trello, what’s first the website for Trello and then maybe your LinkedIn coordinates.
Jess Chew: [00:24:59] Yeah. So. W w w Trello. Health.com. And then my I actually don’t even know the exact URL for my LinkedIn, but it’s it should be Jessica Levine.
Lee Kantor: [00:25:13] Good stuff. Well, Jess, thank you so much for sharing your story. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Jess Chew: [00:25:19] Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:25:20] All right. This is Lee Kantor. What’s your next time on the Atlanta Business Radio?
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