Going Beyond the Digital Front Door to Unlock Precision Healthcare Through Data and Ecosystem Unification

It comes as no surprise that the digital front door is essential to any patient engagement strategy, serving as the entry point to healthcare services. However, its effectiveness is contingent upon its ability to personalize at the patient level and unify the consumer experience. Otherwise, it remains irrelevant, obsolete or even damaging if the underlying infrastructure doesn’t connect to the broader ecosystem — and merely establishing a user interface that simply links out to other solutions is not enough.

A consumer-grade digital patient experience solution must facilitate the holistic integration of all patient data, disparate technology solutions, and care services to deliver an experience that’s worth investing in — for both the patient and the health system at large. Otherwise, organizations risk introducing yet another fragmented solution into the market, one that fails to adequately address the diverse needs of patients.

Consider what patient experiences can feel like if a digital health application lacks longitudinal insight into who a patient really is:

  • A notification may direct someone to pay a bill when they don’t owe anything, or to schedule a screening when they already completed it last month.
  • A directory may list every specialty available at an anchor hospital when a patient wants a cardiologist within 10 miles of home.
  • Surfacing solutions or benefits that aren’t covered.

In these scenarios, the digital front door hasn’t helped patients. If anything, these types of experiences are a deterrent to engagement and loyalty. Either they’ve failed to accomplish the task they logged on to do, or they’ve been referred to something they don’t need. Patients won’t use digital services if they’re not convenient or relevant to their needs.

In order for a digital front door to be effective, it must be powered by a FHIR-enabled platform. A platform that can connect and standardize to all patient data sources to deliver robust, longitudinal health records at the patient level. Only then can healthcare organizations deliver on the promise of personalization. A data-rich approach powers the proactive, personalized insights necessary to surface next-best actions, meet growing consumer expectations, and — when paired with a connected ecosystem of solutions and services — to help legacy organizations compete alongside healthcare’s new, digital-first entrants and retailers.

The richer the dataset, the better an organization can surface relevant insights to further enhance the patient experience. And, when that dataset is built with FHIR R4-enabled, consumer-mediated data exchange, it can unlock opportunities to drive innovation and enhance value. In this way, the digital front door can serve as the threshold to a robust ecosystem that meets all the health needs of patients and their families — building patient loyalty in an increasingly competitive space, while laying the foundation for a future of improved patient acquisition, engagement, retention, and service line referrals. 

Providing Targeted, Relevant Engagement

Rich, longitudinal data is at the heart of any compelling and meaningful patient health experience. Patient data is spread across numerous, traditionally siloed systems. Beyond electronic health records, which are foundational to any health system, longitudinal datasets encompass a myriad of additional clinical sources. These include information from labs, pharmacies, urgent care facilities, telehealth services, and providers outside the defined network. Moreover, they extend to bring in real-time data from insurers’ claims and care management systems, as well as insight from health assessments, wearables, RPMs, and more.

Simply put, longitudinal data about patients allows for much more targeted engagement. When ALL patient data sources are normalized and in one place, health systems are much better positioned to provide personalized recommendations that patients truly need. Instead of receiving a generic, outdated flu shot notification, a patient might see a reminder to schedule their overdue colonoscopy. Rather than a link to a service that might be difficult to access, they’ll get directions to the nearest affiliated urgent care that accepts their insurance. The list goes on.

This is why a digital front door’s effectiveness hinges on the quality of the underlying data and its ability to be interoperable. Merely propping open the door isn’t enough to stay competitive in today’s healthcare marketplace.

Going Beyond the Digital Front Door

The long-term benefits of leveraging longitudinal data extend far beyond interactions with individual patients. The three examples below highlight what’s possible.

  • Personalized insights for population health. Longitudinal data surfaces insights into unmet health and wellness needs at a personal and population level. This helps organizations better target interventions that can range from diabetes management to cancer screening to expanded specialty care access — and do it at scale. This positions organizations to improve clinical outcomes and quality metrics.
  • Purpose-built generative AI. Call center chatbots, omnichannel outreach campaigns, and automated workflows for tasks such as patient check-in, bill pay or prescription refill enhance the patient experience without forcing additional work onto staff. Longitudinal data lets organizations train AI models to meet their specific needs without the data gaps and biases often found in individual data sources.
  • Platform-powered ecosystems of care. The platform-enabled ecosystem is a critical force for health systems seeking to achieve growth and diversification. Ecosystems connect internal and third-party data, solutions and services in one place, providing an interconnected patient experience. To build one requires comprehensive, longitudinal data sets that offer insights into patient behavior and inform outreach and recommendations. That’s what makes it possible to direct patients to the appropriate resources where and when they need them.

Powering Long-Term Success

Creating meaningful patient-facing digital experiences is more than improving one-off interactions with health systems. That’s why b.well is powering healthcare’s richest longitudinal dataset, with more than 60,000 patient-generated data connections; transforming that data into meaningful, proactive insights; and connecting it to the entire healthcare ecosystem, from third-party solutions to services across the continuum. The insights, workflows, and ecosystems made possible by longitudinal data can increase patient engagement and loyalty, drive revenue to preventive care, improve quality metrics, and reduce the total cost of care. Those outcomes will be critical to create the kind of healthcare experience patients and their families deserve today — and provide the foundation to meet the priorities of tomorrow, including new rules and regulations, innovations like generative AI, and evolving patient demands.    

Learn more about b.well’s platform and why companies like Walgreens, Samsung and Lee Health leverage our infrastructure.

Meet the Author

Sarah Jones is the Chief Outcomes Officer at b.well Connected Health. She is responsible for overseeing how b.well defines client success and aligns positive patient outcomes with long-term value for its health system, payer, and technology clients.

Previously, Jones was the Vice President of Client Success at Firefly Health, where she worked with employers to help them maximize quality outcomes. Jones also served in a leadership role at Best Buy Health following the company’s acquisitions of GreatCall and Healthsense, where she led efforts to serve Medicare and Medicaid populations.

Sarah’s range of market experience includes employer solutions, Medicare, Medicaid and a variety of healthcare technology organizations . Sarah holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN.

Article originally published here.

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