Providence's Aaron Martin on how a recent digital health investment is boosting patient engagement

At the end of January, Providence announced its participation in an $18 million funding round for Twistle, a startup developing patient education and communication software for healthcare providers.

The funding, administered through the Renton, Wash.-based health system's Providence Ventures innovation investment arm, was the latest update to a partnership that was formed between Providence and Twistle in 2017 with a goal of simplifying planning for patient encounters, and specifically surgical experiences, according to Aaron Martin, executive vice president and chief digital and innovation officer for Providence.

"When we embarked on this work three years ago, we conducted a landscape assessment and selected Twistle out of a strong group of nearly 50 other solution companies," Mr. Martin told Becker's Hospital Review. Providence chose Twistle based not only on the startup's technology expertise and open-architecture approach, but also on the strength of its team and their "strong partnership orientation."

The choice has certainly paid off: The platform has since been integrated into nearly 20 of Providence's hospitals and several surgical use cases, with further plans for expansion, Mr. Martin said, adding, "Twistle is also being used for some chronic disease management and population health messaging — for instance, around closing care gaps and ensuring patients get their preventive screenings — in select locations."

For Twistle, the increased investment from Providence Ventures reaches far beyond merely supplying needed funding to expand its operations. According to Twistle CEO Kulmeet Singh, it "will also allow Twistle to benefit from the substantial knowledge and experience of an organization that has been an industry leader in delivering great patient experiences."

That focus on improving the patient experience goes both ways. The investment and continued partnership with Twistle exemplify Providence's reliance on digital health tools and innovations to boost patient engagement, therefore remaining "their trusted partner in health before, during, after and in between their encounters with us," Mr. Martin said.

"By supporting patients throughout their surgeries with digital content, tools and products, we are not forcing our patients to 'general contract' their own care. Instead, we are supporting them through a guided, personalized experience that is tailored to their needs."

More articles on innovation:
Why diversity is a 'guiding light' for the majority-female team behind the Boston Children's innovation accelerator
Brigham and Women's study: Innovation depends on more than hospital profits — patients have to be on board, too
House bill pushes for more accountability in CMS innovation arm

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