Forty Years of Building Trust

Don Kemper, MPH, Founder (Retired)

Editor’s note: 2015 marks our 40-year anniversary. This post marks our last in a series reflecting on our history and where we’re headed.

I recently met a man who had been an executive with a Healthwise client a decade or so ago. His only contact with Healthwise was through our sales and service teams, but it was clear to him that Healthwise was a different kind of organization. When I asked, “How different?” his answer first came back in a single word: “trust.” Then he said that while other vendors approached his organization with an earnest aggressiveness that promoted the value of their newest product, service, or system, the Healthwise team came with a sense of dedication and trust. It was that sense of trust that caused his team to invest long-term in the Healthwise partnership.

This is the final blog post of our 40th-year celebration. In reflection, I’d like to highlight both the inside and the outside culture we have built at Healthwise. Our inside culture is one that has been written about before. Based on the three principles of respect, teamwork, and do the right thing, it has given Healthwisers a sense of belonging that goes well beyond their commitment to our common mission to help people make better health decisions. It holds us together as a group and has allowed us to achieve far more than what our size and budget would suggest.

Our outside culture is much the same.

Respect: We have learned to respect not just the people we work with but also the challenges they face in achieving their own goals.

Teamwork: Within our partner relationships (much preferred over “vendor” relationships), we try to extend the effectiveness of our client’s teams in every way we can.

Do the Right Thing: Through the years, our clients have learned to trust us to do right by them. Contracts are important, as they define many protections within these client/partner relationships. But contracts, no matter how well written, can’t cover it all. The rest comes down to trust—trust that is hard to earn and oh so easy to lose.

We tend to think of our advantage in the market in terms of our evidence-based content that is second to none, or the plain language or clear images with which it is presented, or the state-of-the-art technology that can deliver it to the right person, at the right time, and on the right device. Those are all important. But for scores of our long-term clients/partners, our greatest advantage comes down to trust.

As we move into the next 40 years of Healthwise innovation, solutions, and service, there is no doubt that the “what” of Healthwise will continue to evolve with the times. Yet the mission and the core principles of our culture are all etched in stone. And overlaying it all is that one word we have worked so hard to achieve. Trust.