A DAY IN THE LIFE: KARUNA JONES

A day in the life: Karuna Jones A day in the life: Karuna Jones

Author(s):

Karuna Jones

Publish Date:

April 2024 | 5 minutes

Abstract:

Welcome to the latest in our ‘Day in the Life’ articles, where we introduce a member of the Abbott team. This month, we talk to Karuna Jones, one of our Contract Managers, to find out what makes up a typical day for her and what she is most passionate about, both inside and outside of work.

 

Karuna, can you tell us a little about the role of a Contract Manager at Abbott?

It’s really quite a varied role. I’d probably describe it as sort of a relationship manager. I’m the go-to person for our customers, whatever they might need.

Our main focus is customer satisfaction, ensuring that contract is operating to required standards. We regularly keep our customers updated on products and the latest resources, like webinars, and deliver training when required. We do a lot of work around delivering education and support to our customers, ensuring they have access to all the relevant information and guidance about nutritional support, and making sure that they’re happy with the Hospital2Home service and eSolutions we offer.

The main thing for me is making sure that we provide a great service and continually improve, being a source of industry knowledge, knowing exactly what our customers need, what they like or don’t like, listening and identifying where we can make improvements if necessary.

And what might a typical day look like for you?

It changes every day but I generally start my day with emails, answering customer queries and addressing anything that might need my attention. So if a customer has an issue that has come to me I can then escalate it to the correct people in Abbott to resolve it quickly to the customer’s satisfaction. Mornings will also consist of preparing for any upcoming meetings or contract review meetings, including data and analysis slide presentations and minutes.

I might do a lunch meeting where I’ll present data and discuss with the contract stakeholders about specific areas of the contract, before moving into an afternoon talking with HCPs about sustainability, for example. I would speak to the enteral feeding dietitians and community nurses about the processes that are in place or ways we might be able to start new initiatives. Generally, I go out to speak to customers face to face as much as possible, though sometimes it may be online. I like to get out and see people in person and a lot of my customers enjoy it as it’s more personable. It’s much easier to do now than in recent years.

Can you tell us about your background? How long have you been with Abbott?

I’ve been with Abbott for 11 years and worked in pharmaceuticals and medical devices for 20 years. I went into pharmaceuticals relatively soon after graduating, then medical devices for about 6 years before joining Abbott as an Infant Paediatric Account Manager. I was in that role for 3 years before moving over to the contract management team. So that’s 8 years in my current role.

What’s kept you at Abbott for so long?

I think because the job is so different every day, you just don’t know what each day will look like. Things have changed over the years of course, during the COVID-19 pandemic we were really busy and it was great to be of service to people that needed it. We’re constantly looking at different ways of improving, so with concentrating on specific sustainability projects now as well, that’s really exciting for me. I love looking at new initiatives and where they can take us.

Can you explain a little about why you find it so exciting?

So for example, we give out around 6 million giving sets a year, which is a lot of plastic out there. We’ve been talking to customers about reducing the amount if they don’t need it, obviously without putting patients at risk. We’re collaborating to make sure they’re using the appropriate ancillaries in the right quantities, so if they don’t actually need it then they can take it off their regimens and reduce the use of plastic. We’re also making sure they are looking at reusable plastics rather than single-use where appropriate too.

We’re working with our customers to make sure they’re not overstocking on equipment or the feeds themselves. We’ve recently done presentations to our Abbott Nurse Advisors as a contract management team to make sure they are all aware of how they can contribute to sustainability projects. Everything we’re trying to do obviously fits in with our customers’ own goals too, so it’s really positive across the board.

You’re obviously very passionate about sustainability initiatives, is there anything else you’re particularly passionate about when it comes to your role?

Some of the subjects we deliver presentations on, it’s amazing to see the amount of conversations it opens up. Lots of people are coming up with their own ideas on how to improve services, what they can do for outpatients or using their nutrition champions, for example. Seeing the level of investment and enthusiasm they have for Abbott’s support is incredibly rewarding.

We have all this industry knowledge, resources and information that we’re able to use to promote ideas like the importance of muscle health. It’s really useful to help HCPs understand and it’s amazing to have them engage with us on subjects like that to help improve patient care.

What impact does your role have on NHS Organisations and their patients?

While I don’t interact directly with patients, I manage a number of contract areas which cover around 2,000 patients that benefit from Abbott’s services. The key thing for me is understanding how the contracts that I manage operate, their processes and their contractual requirements. The main impact we have is in the value we bring to nurses and dietitians in delivering care, who in turn support the patients. We make sure they have the knowledge and support they need to ensure that everyone knows what to expect from Hospital2Home and that their patients receive what they need, on time. It’s essential to support them on their nutritional journey.

In terms of HCPs, I think my customers appreciate having someone specific they can go to, both for product support and to sort out any problems. I think being a named contact with a good relationship, someone who is there to speak to as and when needed, is something that’s really valuable to them.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role?

I suppose it’s the case in most roles, but sometimes things happen that are out of your control and I think that’s the hardest part. Also, not being able to solve things immediately.

Tell us about the team you work with at Abbott.

While a lot of what we do is fairly autonomous, as a team we do work quite closely in the fact that we speak to each other a lot. We have regular team meetings but we’ve also got a group chat so if anyone wants a question answered or something sent through, we can quickly help out and support each other. There’s also kind of an element of shared learning, in terms of sharing experience of an approach which has worked really well, or how challenges have been overcome or where other contract areas have implemented ideas that we can share with our own areas.

Tell us a little about yourself, what do you like to do outside of work?

I have two boys and they keep me busy after work with clubs and things like that. For myself, I like to do exercise classes, so I do a few of those a week. I like to go walking with my friends and I absolutely love holidays. Cannot beat a good holiday! I love to eat on holiday, which is probably what everybody likes to do, and I love to go to new places and try to avoid going to the same place twice. It’s always good to explore somewhere new.

Abbott’s Hospital2Home service 

Hospital2Home supports patients to manage their own health, and ensures the provision of ongoing support to patients during the transition from hospital back into their own homes. Our highly trained team have extensive training and ensure that patients are supplied with everything they need to continue their treatment at home including ensuring their feeds are delivered accurately and on time and ensuring that regular stock takes with patients are conducted, to help relieve the burden to primary and secondary care services.

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