How a Caring Approach Is This Company’s Sole Prescription

Digital transformation and scaling efforts are being guided by divvyDOSE’s culture.
Written by Kelly O'Halloran
August 26, 2021Updated: August 26, 2021

Principal Product Designer Natalie Escamilla reached the point in her career when she no longer wants to design just anything. 

“As I’ve gotten older, I want to design something for good,” Escamilla said. 

That’s what led her to divvyDOSE, a full-service pharmacy that specializes in the fulfillment and delivery of medications for patients with five or more maintenance prescriptions. 

Part of the platform’s appeal is divvyDOSE’s ability to consolidate all of a patient’s prescriptions, which are often distributed across several providers. Then, divvyDOSE coordinates the refills and shipments for the same time every month and sends a box with labeled packets for each medication and corresponding directions on when to take them. 

“The company has adopted a friendly approach to helping people, and that extends from our customers to our employees,” Escamilla said.

When a customer couldn’t figure out how to open a medication, for example, the divvyDOSE rep who took the support call drove out to the customer’s home to show them how to do it. 

That personalized approach is mirrored internally as well. Six months ago, during Cassidy Edstrom’s interview process for her current role as director of product for customer experience, she received an unexpected call from CEO Matt Combs to say “hello” and reaffirm his and his colleague’s shared excitement to have her onboard. 

As divvyDOSE continues to scale following its acquisition by UnitedHealth Group a year ago, the company is putting steps into place to maintain its warm and welcoming startup environment.

Escamilla, Edstrom and Director of Product Operations Margaret Walters shared how a new digital platform, an onboarding program and internal initiatives will guide divvyDOSE through its upcoming growth period. 

 

Building from scratch

DivvyDOSE’s product provided Escamilla the platform to “design for good,” as she said, but it also presented the opportunity to develop a UX team and a user interface from scratch.

“As a designer, you don’t often get the opportunity to create a product from the ground up,” Escamilla said. 

She and DivvyDOSE’s new UX design team are developing a self-service enrollment system that allows users to sign up digitally as opposed to over the phone. But they won’t be building it without ongoing guidance from their users.

“We’re learning as much as we can about our customers as we build it,” said Edstrom. “We’re asking for folks to trust us online and give us a lot of information upfront. To get that right, we’ll have to lean on experimentation to understand how to best put our customers at ease.”

Their first prototype was largely modeled off of what they learned from in-depth user interviews, competitive analysis research and listening in to customer care and enrollment calls. 

“We’ve found that the language we use is really important to establish trust and so is security,” Escamilla said. 

Next up? A visit to divvyDOSE’s office in Moline, IL, to share with their operations team what they’ve built and gather more insight for the next round of prototyping. 

 

Industry Trends

UnitedHealth Group acquired divvyDOSE in 2020 following Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack and Walmart’s acquisition of CareZone.

 

Ramping up remotely

While drumming up divvyDOSE’s first digital experience for customers, leaders also introduced a new onboarding framework to scale its technical organization from 22 employees in November to more than 60 in August.

The two-week-long virtual program includes a blend of 90-minute sessions with executives and unstructured time for new hires to ingest what they just learned and prepare for upcoming sessions.

“The first three days are very broad and conceptual,” Director of Product Operations Margaret Walters said.  

New hires meet with the VP of product to understand the overall organizational structure. Edstrom leads another session on the current state of the product, and the VP of engineering runs through the technical architecture, how all of the company’s services connect and where the new hires’ area of work fits into the roadmap. They also meet with someone from Walters’ team to review divvyDOSE’s discovery-to-delivery process. 

Members of our team who joined prior to the program have asked to go through it.”

“From there, they move on to different product tracks based on their discipline,” Walters said. “These sessions include going through key user flows for the area of the product they’re joining, working in staging, playing with the technicalities of the services that they’ll be supporting and going through day-to-day expectations.” 

At the end of two weeks, they are paired with a buddy and begin working with their team. 

“Our new onboarding program has received such good feedback that members of our team who joined prior to the program have asked to go through it,” Walters said. 


Ensuring long-term success via culture development

DivvyDOSE’s revised onboarding is complemented by a series of internal efforts aimed to enhance its culture as the team grows. 

Take their new diversity and inclusion group, which consists of employees from various departments who collaborate with leadership to promote inclusion efforts at the company. It’s also an initiative that was formalized partially as a result of Escamilla’s onboarding experience six months ago. At the time, Escamilla scheduled one-on-ones with people throughout the organization, including a session with the VP of product. 

“I mentioned to him how important diversity and inclusion are to me, and he said that divvyDOSE was in the beginning stages of putting some formal initiatives together,” Escamilla said. 

Within a couple of months, the diversity and inclusion group took form. 

 

 

“He was very open to the idea, and everything came together quite quickly after our discussion,” Escamilla said. 

Another effort paving the way for divvyDOSE’s future is its keenness to promote from within. Walters, for example, said she’s personally advocated against bringing outside people in for senior roles so that there was room for existing employees to grow into those roles. 

“Most of the leadership within the tech organization has been promoted internally,” Walters said. “We’re looking at the big picture of growing a holistic team for the long term.”

Virtual social events, such as a show-and-tell with a randomly selected group of colleagues, have also followed suit, as well as the formation of a team that’s dedicated to coming up with activities that serve remote employees and those local to Chicago. A live-streamed, onsite yoga class, for example, is in the works. 

“It’s a great time to join our team,” Edstrom said. “There’s so much opportunity here. You get to work on an awesome product, and you’re surrounded by fun people who are committed to our mission of helping people. It’s a place where you wake up every morning excited to go to work.”
 

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