How open platform allows healthcare practices to create integrated, innovative user experiences

Close care gaps via patient-reported data, streamline scheduling and save time for patients and providers

Privia Health™ (Privia) is a national physician organization, which has 2,300 providers, 2.3 million patients in 660+ locations in Georgia, Florida, Texas, and the Mid-Atlantic, that meets providers where they are to transform the healthcare delivery experience. Through high-performance physician groups, accountable care organizations, and population health management programs, we work in partnership with health plans, health systems, and employers to better align reimbursements to quality and outcomes. In addition to using athenahealth’s solutions as our outside vendor solution for our medical record, patient engagement, and revenue cycle services, Privia also builds its own applications and workflows on the athenahealth platform to tailor our health IT system to our organization’s and providers’ unique needs.

Our technology team works with business leaders across our organization to identify those needs and the various ways that technology can help drive results for the business. In doing so, the team has to evaluate whether to partner externally or build something themselves. Before making these decisions, we ask, “How do we meet providers where they are?” Our team knew we needed an extremely integrated solution that did not require a separate login, a separate web page; knowing we had to deliver a frictionless experience for patients and providers. And we realized that the best approach to meet the company’s strategic needs was to build something internally that connected seamlessly to our vendor’s platform, using its Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

This has been a gamechanger for Privia. We understand that many healthcare organizations face similar challenges, and want to share how this solution helped our patients, providers and our bottom line.

Online direct scheduling is easy for patients and providers
One of the first tools that we built using athenahealth’s Platform Services was online direct scheduling functionality that saves time for patients and providers alike. We wanted to offer patients a scheduling experience that didn’t require logging into the patient portal, which brought together all of Privia’s care centers in one space. Our organization wanted to make sure we were personalizing the experience for the patient, allowing them to clearly connect with the care center where they already had a relationship, and also to prevent that login step that can be a deterrent.

To build the experience, we leveraged athenahealth’s APIs, which was pretty straightforward. The data was as we expected it to be. The result, “Find a Doctor,” allows patients to search for available appointments without logging into a patient portal. Once they book their appointment, data seamlessly flows into the provider’s schedule. Four years after “Find a Doctor” launched, about 15 percent of all appointments with Privia providers are scheduled through this functionality each month.

This online resource helps providers across specialties deliver a better experience for their patients. As consumers, we use OpenTable or Uber or other services all the time, and they offer instant satisfaction. Privia wanted to deliver that same type of experience to our patients. Providers and staff like it, too, since the functionality saves time on the phone.

Virtual visits meet the patient and provider where they are
With patients responding positively to “Find a Doctor,” Privia built new functionality that extends the online tool to allow patients to schedule virtual visits that take place via web conferencing. The technology takes into account both providers’ availability and whether they accept virtual visits. Using the same APIs as “Find a Doctor,” information regarding the patient’s virtual visit gets pushed back into the athenaClinicals EHR so that a provider sees it in his or her schedule just like any other appointment. Then providers can conduct the visit through the same workflows they use for their in-office visits.

Patient-reported data saves time reporting on quality measures
As an organization, Privia is focused on taking on more risk and continuously expanding our providers’ ability to participate successfully in value-based care programs. Our teams were reviewing all the options available to providers to report on quality measures, which included talking to patients during office visits to gather data or hiring staff to follow up with patients and track down data outside the visit – both resource-intensive options.

Privia found an opportunity in the quality measures that payers allow patients to report. We decided to try collecting information on some of these measures through patient portal message campaigns. We took the four most common quality measures, which are flu vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, colon cancer screening, and breast cancer screening. Any patient who appeared to have a gap in one of these measures received an automated customized message through the patient portal.

As patients replied, our tool automatically pushed the patient-reported data back into each patient’s (EHR) chart using athenahealth APIs. We were actually athenahealth’s first customer to build such an application, and our team worked very closely with their developers on this innovative partnership. And because of this unique collaboration, we were able to complete it quickly – in a mere three months. Our teams ran the campaigns twice in six months, and during the second run, we calculated our healthcare providers closed 12,000 care gaps. It was also estimated that five minutes of time saved per gap closed, which added up to 125 business days.

In addition to capturing quality data that would impact our contracts, the initiative also prompted patients to schedule appointments for preventive care, as they remembered that they hadn’t yet had a screening or vaccine. And it left providers with a little less busywork to worry about. We, like all healthcare organizations, don’t want our doctors to have to consume their brief time with the patient in an encounter asking about flu shots or pneumonia shots. If it’s already been taken care of, it doesn’t even come up. So, we’re enriching the time that providers have with their patients by taking these things off their plate.

The athenahealth platform helps Privia innovate faster
When it comes to innovations built in-house at Privia, we credit the ease of working with athenahealth’s Platform Services for enabling our team to produce integrated solutions – and quickly. The openness of the API, the ability to read the documentation online super easily, to do minimal testing inside the site it’s presented in – that’s a huge bonus for us.

Our engineering team also appreciates platform tools that allow them to test ideas quickly before building them out, such as IO Docs, which they can use to investigate the parameters of an API before sending it over to developers. As new challenges arise, we’re finding we can deliver solutions very quickly. Leveraging the API gives us speed and allows us to be nimble.

Chris Voigt, Chief Technology Officer, Privia Health
Chris Voigt has been serving as Vice President, Business and Product Development for Privia Health, a national high-performance physician group, since 2012. Chris has more than 14 years experience in the healthcare interoperability field, including leading architecture, design and construction of public and private health information exchanges (HIE).

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