Ten Questions with Chris Wishmire

DSC_6897Tell me a little about yourself – your background and your education.

I was born and raised in Indy and am anchored here by my family and friends.  I grew up on the West side of town (always driving into the sun – whether going or coming!) but now live Northeast.  I went to parochial grade schools and ended up at Cathedral High School – when it was still downtown, run by Brothers of Holy Cross, and still all male.  There I learned how to study, problem solve, and work with others from diverse backgrounds.  I also learned how to be a bit cocky (when needed).

While Notre Dame called my name, IU Bloomington and its price tag was a bit more enticing.  I majored in psychology and sociology, with lots of history (true liberal arts), without having a clue as to what I’d do with that.  Fortunately, after graduating, I landed a job at Family Service Association in Indy and became exposed to the field of Social Work and some great practitioners of it.  The IU School of Social Work started their weekend-work-study program and I was in the first class.  That meant lots of Saturday classes which prompted my friends to invoke the little know beatitude: “Blessed are the foolish for they shall attend school on Saturdays.”  Little did I know that eventually, I’d be “foolish” again and actually teach in that program for several years on a part time basis.

How long have you worked for Aspire?

I’ve just celebrated my 25th year with Aspire!

What positions have you held with Aspire?

I started out as an outpatient clinical social worker at the Glendale (later Willowbrook) office, seeing a wide variety of folks from adolescents to adults, adjustment disorders to the SMI population.  I then was asked by Dr. Sheward to join the Lead Clinician group – a loosely associated group of folks who could be a “rapid response team.”  This led to being involved in helping to develop and refine “protocols” – a harebrained idea of documenting that moved us to more data driven encoding, but were really not friendly for anyone to read.  This fortuitously led to being involved in searching for and selecting an EMR.  The one we picked was Optaio, and I worked on customizing that for about a year before the company got sold and we abandoned it before going live.  Luckily, we then moved to MedInformatix, and with nothing but one computer science class in 1973, I began to program (if I can use that word) to fit behavioral health.  This led me to be the Clinical Documentation Specialist, then Clinical Documentation Supervisor.  We like the product so much we decided to see if we could sell it.  That’s when Archeon was formed (2005) and I was dubbed: Vice President of Sales and Training for Archeon.

Describe your current position, including your responsibilities?

I mostly provide support to current customers in use of the application – troubleshooting, educating, and entertaining development requests.  My main job is as “interpreter” as I take a mental health clinical or billing function and try to describe its process to David Speicher, who can then really program new functions and enhancements.  I’m also responsible for completing Requests for Information and Requests for Proposals for potential new customers.  Additionally, I’ve become involved in reporting and helping to administer some recent grants that Aspire has been awarded.  As able, I also devote several hours a week to helping out Aspire EMRC in implementing improvements and tweaking of their version of the EMR.

What does a typical day as Vice President of Sales and Training for Archeon look like? 

My day pretty much starts and ends with email – that’s how most customers identify a need or problem.  This may then morph into phone or video calls.  When there are just two of you (David and me), trying to work in tandem and not get in each other’s way is key.  We usually reconnoiter a few times a day – but not too much to bother each of us!

What in your educational background and work experience prepared you for your current position?

Actually, my training as a Clinical Social Worker has come in very handy in this position.  While I’ve given up seeing “clients,” I now see “customers,” and there’s lots about the therapy process that translates.  It also helps that initially, I had to use the EMR that I was creating – so that allowed me to empathize with end users; it still does.

If you weren’t working in this field, what would you be doing?

I’d hope I’d be retired, putzing around the condo and planning my next trip to some faraway place.

What is it that drew you to the field of mental health?

I really had no idea about mental health in college – I thought it was “be a psychologist and help people.”  That didn’t quite fit until I started working at Family Service and seeing how you could impact kids and families, as well as individuals.  That was still the “family and children” area – not main line mental health.  That came when I went to work in Martinsville at the MHC there as Day Treatment Coordinator.  Having no idea what I was doing, I was fortunate enough to have a case manager (Betty) who taught me so much in terms of dealing with people with SMI.  That was followed by a stint at Midtown (a great training place), which really solidified my commitment to mental health and landed me here.

What impact do you feel your work has had on Aspire and its clients?

I think I did a good job in my past incarnation as outpatient therapist – it doesn’t come with lots of kudos as we all know, but there are still some clients and families that I keep in my heart and hope that they do the same.  Currently, I have a more macro function and focus, so I hope my work has made things better for clinicians and clients alike.  As we get more into interoperability and client engagement, I think the EMR will become even more important.

What things do you do to help you cope with the demands of your job?

I eat!  Actually, I like to cook and entertain friends and family – that can be with a gourmet meal that took days to plan or a spontaneous cookout on the patio.  Traveling helps me get away completely from work and stress – and usually involves even more eating opportunities!  More lately, I’ve been riding my bike, which helps a bit with all that eating.  I also quilt some – it takes the best features of an OCD/detail type person like me, and makes it creative with an actual end product, which I usually give away.

Chris Wishmire is the Vice President of Sales and Training at Archeon. While the beliefs and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mr. Wishmire, you can learn more about Archeon at https://www.facebook.com/ArcheonInc.

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