Unifying the most relevant digital features into a single consumer-facing hospital mobile application or “Electronic Front Door” has been a strategy employed for years outside of healthcare. Banking, travel, entertainment, retail, and others have led these initiatives and demonstrated the value delivered by increasing revenue potential and building customer loyalty. Whether it’s Disney, JP Morgan Chase, or American Airlines – customers utilize the same tools through a cohesive and seamless technology either on a desktop or mobile device.
Healthcare has typically struggled to this deliver this type of programming for a variety of reasons. Departments have often been segmented and those responsible for attracting new consumers have had almost nothing to do with the customer experience and retaining them over time. Additionally (or perhaps as a result of), the necessary technologies to deliver a unified patient experience have been in silos either due to a lack of interoperability or the ability for different functions within the organization to work cohesively together.
Fortunately, technologies have moved forward which can allow health providers to begin delivering a more unified experience. No longer do organizations need to offer separate apps that only provide access to the health record, virtual visits, wayfinding, etc. Now a single healthcare app can be the vehicle to deliver on the strategic roadmap and integrate previously disparate functionalities. The consumer is ready, the technology is ready, as is the ability to capture ROI by increasing efficiencies and driving revenue is in place.
Organizational Options for Patient Portals and Epic MyChart
In the last few years Electronic Health Record software developers, including Epic, have modified their delivery to allow customers more options and control to deliver an expanded range of solutions. In 2017, Epic introduced the App Orchard with full integrated APIs to allow for enhanced connectivity and a software library that provides the ability for Epic’s MyChart to be embedded within provider-branded applications. These two opportunities serve providers seamless integration into the technology and the ability to control or influence the patient experience like never before. Providers with Epic are now capable of delivering this enhanced experience and early adopters are delivering value through this process.
When not integrated, patients are directed to Epic branded MyChart Apps in an experience branded and guided by Epic. Thanks to these new opportunities, providers are able to deliver the MyChart experience inside of their own branded native applications and provide a single place to house all patient features. While this has been exciting news to those closely involved, many organizations are still largely unaware of this opportunity to create and execute their own digital strategy outside of MyChart. These efforts, however, do require different parts of the organization such as IT, EHR, and marketing staff to work collectively to make sure the patient experience is made the priority.
The Electronic Front Door Methodology and the Best Patient Experience
The concept of a single Electronic Front Door housing all of a hospital’s digital attributes has layers to it: 1) the user personas 2) the technology types, and 3) the unique functionalities to be delivered by the organization. It is important to have a roadmap that supports the short and long-term strategy to deliver consumer value today and into the future. It is possible to start small and continue to grow, supporting both budgetary challenges and the reality that all the various technologies may not be interoperable today.
An Electronic Front Door model should support both new and existing customers as well as desktop and mobile application customers seamlessly. Today, 59% of web traffic originates from mobile and these mobile users spend 86% of their time on devices with mobile applications. These consumers demand a personalized experience and often switch devices throughout their engagement, making it important for features and functionalities to easily cross platforms. It is also important for organizations to create an environment that serves their goals and ROI needs, such as driving revenue by signing up for services and capturing relevant meaningful use data.
A product employing this Electronic Front Door concept could provide the following services in a custom branded application.
• Fully integrated MyChart and other EMR features
• Find a Physician, including all Services
• Find a Location, including parking and wayfinding
• ED and Urgent care wait times
• Calendars of classes and events – including registration
• Social Media, News, and Alerts
• Procedure and condition specific education (videos, images, and text)
• Video Visit/Telemedicine Integration
• Transportation options such as Uber
• Pre-registration and pre-testing tools
• Collecting patient recorded data and outcomes (that can reach the EHR)
The Electronic Front Door Methodology allows forward-thinking organizations the ability to deliver these services using their own internal technology together with 3rd party technologies inside of the same application which is completely invisible to the consumer.
It is an exciting yet challenging time for providers, as the technology options they choose today can differentiate and position them for growth and advancement for many years or can set the organization back due to a siloed and disjointed digital strategy. As is seen in other sectors, prioritizing the consumer experience dictates the path to success.