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Building the Gold Standard: An interview with Jody Strain

Jody Strain

Participating in a gold rush most likely brings a range of emotions, from the excitement of potential opportunity to the disappointment of having to pick up and start again when no gold is found. Add to that the thrill of creating a strategic mode of operation, and it sums up the experience of Jody Strain, AccentHealth’s Vice President of Network Operations, building the “Gold Standard” of health programming at the Point-Of-Care.

Arguably not the typical path of a Business Management graduate, Jody began her career as a Computer Systems Engineer and then moved into Operations with Times Mirror Company (Achieve Global at the time). When the organization decided to move to Utah in 1997, Jody opted to stay in Florida and joined The Better Health Network, now known as AccentHealth. AccentHealth uses digital signage capabilities and is the nation’s leading waiting room media network with CNN-produced health programming.

“I’ve basically been involved in digital signage since its inception,” said Jody. “It started as a niche industry with very few players from a hardware, software or network operator perspective, designing offerings for a specific and limited scope.” In early 2000, AccentHealth took its first stab at digital signage by deploying a graphics-intensive satellite network. Jody and her team realized that the size of the dishes and limited software options meant that their network was too early for the technology and should be suspended until the industry matured. After five years and intensive due diligence, Jody’s team selected Broadsign as its vendor of choice and began deploying network content via the Internet.

“As you can imagine, the ability to remotely deploy, control and monitor all of our screens via the Internet was a significant improvement over our previous network, which required monthly maintenance visits to each site so that the programming disc could be changed and player status verified,” stated Jody. Yes, one can imagine the intensity of such a procedure, especially given AccentHealth’s network of over 12,500 sites.

In terms of overcoming other challenges, Jody’s technological background has been beneficial in supplying her with a “what’s current today is antiquated tomorrow” attitude.  She thus ensures that her Network Operations team is composed of highly talented and motivated people who continuously invest in themselves by networking and attending industry seminars. “You don’t know what you don’t know. That’s why you need a group of critical thinkers who can discern that what’s working for one vertical might be applied to another in a different way.” On a more personal level, running a network the size of AccentHealth’s and ensuring that it meets the needs and requirements of advertisers, clients (medical offices) and consumers are of top priority to Jody.

With this mindset, Jody successfully led AccentHealth to its “Gold Standard” position. One of the first large-scale Point-Of-Care networks in the industry, Jody contributed to ensuring that the company and its software provider developed operations and enhancements that are now considered standard procedures and features. Since AccentHealth’s Point-Of-Care network generates 97% compliance and 99.99% uptime, there’s no arguing with that!

“I see the digital signage industry exploding,” said Jody enthusiastically. “With decreasing hardware and display costs and increasing service provider options, the expansion seen over the past few years will be dwarfed by the next.”

About Jody

Based in AccentHealth’s Tampa, FL, office, Jody Strain has led the technological evolution responsible for the development and deployment of the AccentHealth Digital Network, and for AccentHealth’s industry-leading customer service.
Before joining AccentHealth in 1997, Jody served in Customer Service & Operations Management at Achieve Global and as a Computer Systems Engineer in the flight simulation industry.

Jody received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Eckerd College.