How Baptist Health South Florida is becoming 'the Amazon Prime of healthcare'

In August 2020, Miami-based Baptist Health South Florida initiated a $100 million digital transformation project, which CEO Brian Keeley said would help the system achieve its goal of becoming the "Amazon Prime of healthcare in South Florida."

Below, Tony Ambrozie, the system's senior vice president and chief digital officer, provides an update on how the project is going.

Editor's note: Responses have been edited lightly for clarity and style.

Question: What have been the project's greatest accomplishments since it launched?

Tony Ambrozie: The driving force behind our initiative continues to be to establish ourselves as a leader in the digital transformation of healthcare. Our greatest accomplishment has been our approach, which is making life as easy as possible for our patients and potential patients, providing them with enhanced ease of use and expanded access to care; and for our employees and clinicians, ensuring that our clinical systems are easy to use and improving the delivery of care. 

For consumers, our mobile app takes center stage in this evolution, providing patients with greater convenience including the ability to find-a-doc, the location for care and even allowing them to schedule an appointment from the comfort and safety of their own home. All of this provides for an intuitive, practical and pleasant user experience that increases access to the care they need, when and where they need it. We are excited to see the important role the consumer mobile app will play in our overall strategy to meet these goals. 

For employees and clinicians, we are aligning our clinical systems and ensuring that these tools help streamline their work, and in turn, lead to a more seamless and easier patient experience.

This work is all connected, and we are excited about where we are and where we are going.

Q: Through this initiative, how has Baptist Health enhanced the value of data?

TA: Our fundamental digital strategy is about creating easier access, and we rely on the data to do that. The data is a tried-and-true road map for helping us make the right decisions. Like innovation, we see data as telling us how to respond to the future rather than only revealing what has happened in the past. The information, trends and feedback we gather from consumers and patients to clinicians and staff marks the goal post for where we want to go. If the data tells a story, we decide how we can make that story a better one. 

Our digital transformation process has served as the answer to the data, capitalizing the opportunities for consumer access and experience improvements revealed by the vast enterprise data and research we have gathered to guide us into the future with a digital-forward approach. 

Q: What changes to Baptist Health's telehealth program have occurred as a result of this initiative?

TA: Telehealth is an integral part of our digital transformation vision. The pandemic has accelerated our investment in digital telehealth services, not only because of the growing need, but because of the operational advantages as well. In keeping with the consumer-first digital convenience model, providing access to medical experts for patients and providers was at the top of our list. Being able to connect with patients wherever they are at any time, when they need it most, isn't only a great way to expand access to care, it directly elevates the consumer experience. 

Our digital transformation has worked to further streamline that access so that providing affordable, reliable care virtually from the comfort of home is easier than ever. This includes expanding services in our Baptist Health Care On Demand platform, where patients can access doctors 24/7. Our goal throughout our continued evolution isn't just to make telehealth a virtual, convenient option for consumers, but to position it as the front door of our organization. 

Q: Which teams were involved in the website's revamp? How does the revamped website improve the patient experience?

TA: Collaboration and teamwork are central characteristics of the culture at Baptist Health, especially when tackling new projects like website redesign. Various individuals and areas across the organization have actively contributed to the process, including the teams for technology and digital, consumer access, and marketing and communications. Each department, while having independent expertise, has brought its knowledge and experience to the table collectively and strategically applied it to create a robust and efficient website design. 

Each feature has been thoroughly evaluated and analyzed, integrating extensive consumer research and user-experience testing leading to improvements like centralized access points, enhanced search results and better appointment scheduling capabilities.   

Q: How did Baptist Health conduct the rollout of its new scheduling and registration system? 

TA: We rolled out our new scheduling and registration system in our smaller properties and then gradually expanded it through our system. Because medical records have become electronic, moving scheduling and registration to this new platform affords us the opportunity for a seamless patient and provider experience.  

Q: How does this initiative help Baptist Health become the "Amazon Prime of healthcare," as Brian Keeley said last August?

TA: We live in a fast-paced on-demand, digital world. People want their needs met immediately. Healthcare is no exception. That's why we're so committed to emerging as a leader in this space. Thinking like Amazon means prioritizing ease of use and access. Part of what makes Amazon develop such deep brand loyalty is how easy and convenient they have made it for their consumers to get what they need at the click of a button, from anywhere at any time. 

Brian has rightfully given us the challenge of becoming the Amazon Prime of healthcare to offer that same model for our patients. The digital transformation process is the way to get there by adapting to the ever-changing delivery of healthcare and accelerating our services to improve the quality of the consumer experience, streamlining access and enhancing overall operational efficiencies. We want to make sure that their experience is seamless across our organization, from their first click through treatment and recovery, maintaining that quality experience throughout.

Q: What other digital transformations is Baptist Health planning to pursue in the coming years?

TA: We have set our sights on our digital future for the long haul. Some of the many digital transformations that will carry us into the future are continued enhancements on the mobile app for further integration based on user feedback. We are also pursuing a smart patient room concept where technology is physically front and center in the patient rooms, including voice-controlled virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa, and application capabilities allowing patients to order food at the touch of a button. Of course, we will also continue to develop our telehealth capabilities as a central service to provide the best in care and convenience to our patients.

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