St. Luke's University Health Network aims to provide a frictionless patient experience — technology can get them there

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Matthew Fenty is director of partnerships and strategic alliances at St. Luke's University Health Network in Bethlehem, Pa.

He outlines the key innovation trends that will drive growth in the future.

Question: What is the most interesting patient-facing innovation you are working on today?

Matthew Fenty: There are several key projects that we are working on. The first is having a truly 'Open Table/Boarding Pass' type of experience for our patients when connecting with us. We are also looking at providing true hospital-level of care within a patient's home for situations where clinical oversight needs to occur, but the patient might recover best at home rather than in the ED.

Q: What will be the most important patient experience innovation 18 months from now? How are you pivoting in that direction?

MF: It will likely be a combination of expectation setting from other industries, namely hospitality and media, and overall engagement with their own care. By using technology to make it a frictionless experience to have our patients connect and interact with their care team, we can support them on a range of issues, from seamlessly managing their appointments to routine check-ins for people suffering from chronic conditions.

Q: How have you recruited and built your innovation team? Who are ideal candidates or team members and what are their backgrounds?

MF: We have a combination of external team members, coming from user-design and pharma, to internal members who moved from completely different roles, but showed a passion for creative and innovative thinking. We view innovation as a consulting and advisory service for our health system so team members who are good at client facing work, crafting the art-of-the-possible, and being practical in solution identification with a combination of people/process/technology are the best candidates.

Q: If you could make your hospital or health system more like one other company or industry, what would it be?

MF: There are bits and pieces of other industries where I wish we would act more like, but no one in particular. All of our 15,000-plus employees, from surgeons to environmental services to IT, are focused on one mission: to provide excellent patient care where our patients need it the most. Other industries might move faster or take bigger risks, but we can’t forget that if we break things or fail, there are serious consequences.

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