“Why Our Work Matters”: Expiration Date Prompts Unique Partnership Between IT and the House with a Heart

By Cameron Hurst and Rebecca Alexander

For years, the Mission Rathbun House has been a home away from home for patients and their families visiting Asheville for critical medical care. During these difficult times, our patients and families sometimes need a hand finding an affordable and comfortable place to call home during their stay in Asheville. It’s already hard enough going through the emotional roller coaster of critical illnesses and inpatient treatment. Rathbun House offers a way to alleviate some of the stress the patient and family may have.

The Rathbun House provides a home-like environment for families or caregivers coming to Asheville with a patient who will be receiving care or medical treatment at Mission Hospital, CarePartners or the VA Hospital.

Like any hospitality establishment, Rathbun needs software to keep track of its bookings, residents and communications. In 2017, they learned that the vendor supporting the booking and reservation system at the time was going to stop supporting the software.

That would leave the house without a booking, check-in and back-of-the-house management solution unless a significant investment was made in a new platform – money Rathbun, a donation-based entity, simply didn’t have. Left with almost no options, the Rathbun team reached out to their IT Strategic Engagement Partner (SEP) Ken Black to start the journey toward a solution. Ken, as the liaison between Rathbun and information technology, contacted Mission IT’s Software Development (SWDev) team for help.

“…projects like this for the Rathbun House serve an important purpose: they remind us who we serve and why our work matters.”

The SWDev team met with Rathbun and were deeply moved by the organization’s mission and those they served. After consultation and requirements gathering, team member Martin Carstens single-handedly (and mostly on his own time) built a modern, mobile-first solution that recently began pilot operations at the house. , The Rathbun team couldn’t be more thrilled with their new software, named “Addy,” after Rathbun’s founder Adelaide Key.

After 24 years of using nearly an entirely manual check-in process, Rathbun House has reduced check-in time and streamlined the process by adding automated front-desk procedures. This new streamlined process alleviates some of the stress for our guests at check-in time, which Martin understood from the very beginning.

“Martin’s deep empathy for our needs and his amazing software development talent helped us realize the vision for a solution that far exceeded our expectations! We can’t thank him and Mission IT enough for the sacrifice of time that went into this,” said Caryl Dean, Rathbun House Operations Manager.

While the SWDev team is normally about the work of improving customer experiences through mobile and web applications, projects like this for the Rathbun House serve an important purpose: they remind us who we serve and why our work matters. According to Cameron Hurst, manager of the SWDev team, “Every one of us is at Mission Health because of a desire to serve. While we don’t treat patients every day like most of our colleagues, Addy is one way the SWDev team can help make a difference. We like to say that all of our software is built with love by the Mission IT Software Development Team,” Cameron said. “The Rathbun House is called the House with a Heart. Now we can say Rathbun House is a House with a Heart with systems built with heart by the Mission IT Software Development Team.”

Learn more about the Mission Rathbun House at missionhealth.org/rathbun [3].


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