Carilion Clinic is taking cues from retail to open the 'digital front door' for patients

As patients take increasingly more control over their own healthcare, Carilion Clinic is helping them do so by allowing the retail industry's consumer-first ethos to drive the Roanoke, Va.-based health system's digital strategy.

"Our overall philosophy is that engaging patients is about being transparent with information, and trying to do things in a way that is consumer-friendly," Nancy Howell Agee, president and CEO of Carilion Clinic, told Medscape Medical News.

Though Ms. Agee admitted to struggling with labeling patients as consumers, she explained, "When we say they are consumers, we need to own those words and not shy away from them. The fact is, our patients are consumers who can — and need — to use information to engage in their own health."

Carilion Clinic facilitates digital information-sharing not just by offering a comprehensive online portal where patients can schedule appointments and fill out forms, but with more "strategic" offerings, according to Ms. Agee, such as a library of videos in the portal tailored to each patient's condition. The videos help patients better understand their diagnoses and guide them through preparation for and recovery from medical procedures.

The on-demand videos, enabled by a partnership with healthcare streaming platform Mytonomy, are a perfect example of Carilion Clinic's digital strategy, in which each potential digital offering must meet three criteria, according to Ms. Agee: They must be accessible, instructive and motivating.

"Having information readily available on any device — just like Netflix on our phones and TVs — is what [consumers] expect," she said.

Read more here.

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