By Lisa A. Eramo, MA
A health information professional working at Amazon? Yes, that’s right. Adrianna Rota Melosky, RHIA, is a technical product manager of PillPack, an Amazon Pharmacy service that sorts medications by date and time and then packages and delivers those medications and other pharmacy items to consumers each month. In her role, she drives vision and strategy, defines the roadmap, and works closely with engineering, design, data science, and business stakeholders to deliver a product that meets user and business objectives. The Journal asked her to share her story in the hopes that it would inspire other health information management (HIM) professionals to explore unconventional roles and pursue opportunities to share their coveted expertise in a variety of industries.
Getting to Know Adrianna Rota Melosky
Melosky’s story begins in 2009 when she began working as a pharmacy technician at CVS. “I was able to see how broken the health system was and the impact it was having on my customers,” she said, citing challenges such as waiting for prior authorizations, insurance denials of coverage for medications, and more. She wanted to be a part of the solution in terms of creating technology that would address these challenges and have a positive impact on patients.
In 2016, Melosky graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with a bachelor of science degree in HIM and a minor in computer science. Having worked at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) for two years while in school, she had already gained hands-on experience with release of information, compliance, scanning, quality analysis, billing, and coding.
“I was able to put my textbook knowledge into action,” she said. “This experience helped me grow professionally by giving me a full understanding of how an HIM department functions.”
During her last semester at the University of Pittsburgh, she also served as an intern at MedAllies, a health information technology (IT) vendor that focuses on provider adoption and use of electronic health records (EHRs) for clinical workflow integration and interoperability. As an intern, Melosky worked closely with IT to develop system solutions, led practice transformations, and participated in International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification.
“My internship with MedAllies allowed me to see ‘under the hood’ to understand how systems integrate in an interoperable and transparent fashion,” she said. “This experience drove my passion for finding solutions that would utilize data and technology to improve patient outcomes, support the continuum of care, and make healthcare easy for patients.”
After her experience at MedAllies, she knew she wanted to pursue a career focused on interoperability and transparency within the healthcare space.
“I had a number of conversations with people in my network about analyst roles, pharmacy operations, and product development,” Melosky said. “This helped me understand different types of roles and organizational structures. When I was clear on what type of position I wanted, I reached out to my mentor—a veteran in the healthcare industry—and was able to expand my search to find nontraditional roles.”
That’s when she found herself landing back at CVS—this time as a product manager overseeing the pharmacy systems and workflows for several prescription delivery projects including national next-day prescription delivery for retail customers, national on-demand prescription delivery for Caremark customers, and same-day prescription delivery in metro retail locations.
“I used my HIM skills when it came to developing system solutions that handled PHI
Her experience working with health information systems and interest in customer-centric technology eventually helped her land a position with Amazon Care, a team at Amazon working to build a product designed to make high-quality healthcare easy to access for Amazon employees. During her time on the Amazon Care team, she built the pharmacy solution that enabled the team to launch a mobile application for Amazon employees and their families to access virtual and in-person healthcare services in the Seattle area. Additionally, she contributed to the overall strategy and roadmap for in-person services.
“When I’m working on a project, I own it from end-to-end—identifying the need, writing requirements, testing, and implementation,” she says. “My role consists of a lot of research, writing, and collaboration across the organization.”
Why does a company like Amazon need HIM professionals?
“HIM professionals bring data, system, and compliance knowledge in the healthcare space to the table,” Melosky said. “They can help inform program and product teams to design the best possible solutions for customers.” She uses these critical HIM skills on a daily basis: Teamwork, communication, customer service, data analytics, and quality improvement.
Amazon is one of many companies that can benefit from an HIM professional’s expertise, she said. “There are a lot of untapped opportunities with third-party vendors that are building emerging technologies to support existing workflows and systems,” she adds. “This requires the knowledge and experience of an HIM professional to ensure the data can be transferred in a standardized, secure, compliant, and accurate manner.”
Rota shares a few tips on how other HIM professionals can follow a similar career path:
- Gain hands-on experience in a traditional HIM setting. “Don’t think you can ignore the traditional side of HIM if you want to obtain a position on the nontraditional side,” she said. She suggests working part-time in an HIM department or entering an educational program that requires hands-on experience as part of the curriculum.
- Explore nontraditional roles. Melosky says to look for internships or part-time opportunities to gain an understanding of the technology and interactions that occur in that space. She says her experience working as a pharmacy technician at CVS helped her build products and programs that would benefit both pharmacies and customers.
- Build a professional network. “Although the healthcare space is large, it’s a small world,” she said. “It’s extremely important to build and maintain great relationships throughout your career.”
- Commit to lifelong learning. “Stay up to date on what’s going on in the industry,” she said. “Always be thinking 10 steps ahead even if your current work requires you to focus on the here and now.”
- Know no limits. “Think outside the box, and don’t feel pressured to apply for traditional roles when your passion is elsewhere,” she adds.
A ‘Day-in the-Life’ of an HIM Professional at Amazon
As a technical product manager, Adrianna Rota Melosky, RHIA, works on technology and processes that support the fulfillment, delivery, and execution of clinical orders. Check out an average day:
9-10 a.m.: Collaborate with engineering leads and other product managers to discuss resource allocation, project prioritization, and potential systems solutions.
10-11:30 a.m.: Gather data, conduct research, whiteboard solutions, and create business requirement documents.
11:30-noon: Meet with development team to touch base on daily focus areas, timelines, open items, and work in progress.
12:30-2 p.m.: Meet with key stakeholders to inform them of project statuses and reported metrics, discuss areas for improvement, and make changes to the product roadmap and priorities.
2-3:30 p.m.: Work with engineering, operations, and analytics teams to define key product requirements and associated success metrics.
3:30-5 p.m.: Review and respond to emails, schedule additional meetings, complete action items, and plan for the following day.
Lisa Eramo (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance writer and editor in Cranston, RI, who specializes in healthcare regulatory topics, health information management, and medical coding.