The post-pandemic digital engagement strategy for thriving health systems: 4 insights

The most recent iterations of EHRs focused on value-based care and population health, but in 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic forced healthcare organizations to reevaluate their digital priorities to emphasize patient access, engagement and digital transformation.

On Oct. 15, Silverline Healthcare and Life Sciences teamed with Salesforce to hold a webinar titled "Post-Pandemic Decisions Accelerate Pace of Patient Access, Engagement, and Digital Experience Outreach." The speakers were:

• Matt Gretczko, senior vice president and general manager of healthcare and life sciences at Silverline
• Olivia Goh Kidder, director of customer relationship management at Indiana University Health
• David Bradshaw, senior vice president of consumer and employer solutions at Cerner
• Geeta Nayyar, MD, executive medical director of Salesforce

Health systems are looking for technology that will seamlessly integrate into existing systems and solve multiple problems.

Hospitals and health systems that want to make the most of their digital transformation should focus on leveraging technology for an attractive digital front door, engaging patients and building loyalty, efficient access to care, and using data for care coordination.

"The digital front door for us is a heavy emphasis on mobile. How do we take these services, all the various activities and all the various content and material that patients and providers might use and give them a much stronger and much more engaging digital experience?" Mr. Gretczko said. "From there, if we think about if you have a really good digital front door, that allows you to improve the overall access that patients have."

With a successful digital front door, health systems can better coordinate care and improve the overall patient experience.

Here are four takeaways from the presentation:

1. Focus the solution on specific areas with defined outcomes and value. "It's so easy to look immediately to technology to solve a problem," Ms. Kidder said. "There are so many solutions out there competing to be the silver bullet for you in some regard. One thing that has worked extremely well has been to have a strong vision and strategy for CRM as part of our patient engagement strategy so we can lead the exploration of solutions from the point of view of, what will serve our goals best versus how will we bend ourselves to get value out of this new tool."

2. Balance technology and humanity in patient care. "What has really changed is that virtual care and digital engagement used to be a nice-to-have; now in this environment it's a must-have," Dr. Nayyar said. "So, we've seen an acceleration in adoption, and I think the key is staying invisible to the work team, making sure the clinical workflow is not cumbersome and doesn't contribute further to physician burnout or care team burnout, and secondly that we keep the humanity in it. The practice of medicine is an art as much as a science; it's not just about algorithms. You have to keep the human factor. So what is the right balance of what should be automated, what should be virtual, what should be in-person and what should be high touch?"

3. Select the right enterprise platform to grow with your strategy and meet evolving demands. Health systems will grow and evolve, and selecting a platform such as Cerner's HealtheIntent, which is used by large and small organizations, makes a difference. "At its core, we fundamentally believe CRM would move across the enterprise and it would be more than just a clinical use case…Cerner made a strategic decision that instead of building something that was going to be rolled out and built at the enterprise level, we were going to partner with it," said Mr. Bradshaw. "We went through a pretty exhaustive analysis and ended up with this partnership with Salesforce…we've had some really good success with clients, and I think this clinically informed CRM becomes a major differentiator going into the future."

4. Align operational, clinical and IT stakeholders to drive change. "Everything that used to be a nice-to-have has now become a must-have," said Dr. Nayyar. "That chief medical officer, that chief medical informatics officer, that physician champion now has a seat at the table at the C-suite in a really vocal way. Before it was nice to have alignment with the doc in the room or the physician champion just nodding their head; now what is happening is that the CEO is really looking at their physician leaders to drive this and to make sure they are staying aligned to the business problems and clinical problems that they are solving."

To learn more about Silverline, visit:

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