CommonSpirit to launch 'digital consumer experience'

Chicago-based CommonSpirit is launching a digital consumer experience to meet patients' evolving expectations around ways to access care, which "will foster additional consumer relationships and greater loyalty," CEO Wright Lassiter III said during the health system's Feb. 29 investor call. 

The digital consumer experience is one of five key initiatives for fiscal 2025. 

"This builds on our CommonSpirit 2026 roadmap, shifting and elevating a few priorities to address the challenges ahead of us," Mr. Lassiter said. "We consider these to be the most critical areas of focus to secure the long-term sustainability of our ministry, to maintain and improve our financial viability, to support our operations and our mission." 

Digital initiatives underway include those to provide "one digital front door" to the health system's services, providing a consistent landing page and search/schedule feature across its five regions: California, Central, South, Mountain and the Northwest.

CommonSpirit's patient communications centers include four hubs geographically positioned to serve its five regions. They help connect patients to their providers through a single point of access and allow the health system  to leverage best practices in scheduling, authorization and referral management, nurse triage and prescription refills. 

"The PCCs are delivering on customer needs in significantly less time than the national average, and most (92%) patient needs are resolved within the first phone call, also well ahead of industry averages," the health system said in its fiscal second-quarter financial report published Feb. 15.

The 162-hospital system's clinical command centers are another example of scaling resources, including virtual hospital programs in the Puget Sound market in Washington and care across the continuum in Arizona.

These programs provided integrated care, in-home monitoring, virtual visits, virtual companions or a virtual ICU to partner with bedside teams, consulting nurses or a contact center supporting inpatient and outpatient care sites and after hours nurse triage. 

So far, these programs have resulted in "more than $12 million in savings from operating costs, efficiency in processes and improved patient metrics such as patient experience with over 592,000 hours monitored and the prevention of nearly 64,000 patient adverse events," according to the health system. 

Last year, CommonSpirit achieved its strongest results in quality, safety and patient satisfaction, which takes strong clinical leadership and a stable and engaged workforce, Mr. Lassiter said. 

CommonSpirit is also using artificial intelligence in various ways to improve quality and efficiency, under the leadership of Chief Information Officer Daniel Barchi

"We've already used AI to actively monitor patients for sepsis, which has resulted in partnership with our care teams, a reduction in mortality rates associated with sepsis and a reduction in ICU hours for each sepsis case," Mr. Lassiter said. 

Since launching in 2015, the program has actively monitored nearly 18 million patients for sepsis. Last year, the program achieved a 4.7% reduction in sepsis mortality rate and a reduction of 33 ICU hours for each ICU sepsis case.

"We've also used AI to identify potential stroke patients, resulting in saving critical time with these cases, a reduction in length of stay for stroke patients and a decrease in disability caused by stroke," Mr. Lassiter said. "It's certainly early days for these programs, and the potential is significant."

Mr. Barchi has also developed a roadmap to facilitate efficiencies, streamline and reduce redundant technologies, generate economies of scale and improve system capabilities. The multi-year plan aims to address key infrastructure and software needs to align fragmented platforms and third-party applications. 

The roadmap also identifies opportunities to lower long-term costs, improve clinical and operational challenges, reduce burnout and turnover, increase speed to market and realize a greater return on investment through standardization of clinical platforms. 

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