Healthcare is exiting 'point solution land'

The patient experience is a differentiator for health system aiming with the reputation for easy and accessible care. Forward-looking systems are developing technologies and partnering with companies to realize a more consumer-centric vision of care delivery.

But this also requires a new level of interconnectivity.

"For many years, we were more in point solution land where there were lots of solutions cropping up, but no systematic way to surface them to users and create that really great consumer grade experience," said Sara Vaezy, executive vice president and chief strategy and digital officer of Providence in Renton, Wash, on a recent episode of the "Becker's Healthcare Podcast." "Those are the types of platforms that are emerging, and I'm excited about them."

Providence has developed some solutions internally with Providence Digital Innovation Group and successfully spun multiple companies, including Praia Health most recently, which has a platform dedicated to collecting fragmented data sources and point solutions and connecting them to support a better patient experience.

From an enablement perspective, Ms. Vaezy and her team are focused on discovery and service to drive new customers, patients and consumers, into the system. She is zeroing in on engagement and establishing a relationship with patients to drive long-term value capture and loyalty.

"We're doing things around identity-driven engagement, which means we know our users, and can surface up the contextually relevant personalized information to them in a frictionless way, or reducing as much friction as possible, and then use that to drive ongoing relationships that may not exclusively be in the clinical transaction domain, but it helped to establish that relationship," said Ms. Vaezy.

Like most health systems, Providence is also identifying ways artificial intelligence can support digital technologies, operations and care delivery.

"We've started to use [AI and large language models] to support our personalization efforts to support how we navigate patients and consumers throughout our system in particular by understanding their intent at a really deep level and then connecting them with the things they need," said Ms. Vaezy.

One of the great use cases Providence has found for AI helps clinicians manage inbox requests. Clinicians receive an overwhelming number of direct messages during the day, leading to hours of work in the evenings for physicians to catch up. Providence put an AI chatbot in Epic MyChart as an alternative to direct physician messages.

"The accuracy of chat bots has gotten even better with large language models, and we have been able to satisfy a lot of their requests or their needs without a message. That's awesome," said Ms. Vaezy. "We've got early results. For instance, over 20% of administrative messages were handled via this mechanism."

The clinical team also reported reduced burnout with fewer digital messages to handle. Clinicians now have more time to spend face-to-face with patients and at home with their families. Providence continues to enter into and expand key partnerships around technology and digital engagement to reduce burnout and further connect the healthcare ecosystem. The enhanced digital tools also differentiate health system brands and facilitate a better patient experience.

"We're going to fully start to realize that patients and consumers don't just go to one place," she said. "We've been talking about it for a long time, but I think we're fully actually experiencing it now and realizing its implications. One of the things we've realized is that consumers use about five different healthcare brands a year for a variety of things, and often they have to navigate that on their own. Engaging systematically in partnerships that allow all of these different brands to benefit from working with one another in service to a better experience is what we're going to start seeing more and more."

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