Providence, a health care system, wanted to provide a better, more connected digital service for consumers.
Non-profit Providence, one of the largest health care systems in the US, wanted to align its health care delivery model more closely with new, digital consumer expectations.
Since 2015, Providence has actively sought to deliver digitally enabled care with the aim of increasing patient access, improving quality and reducing costs. Initially, it subcontracted providers of digital resources such as scheduling and telemedicine. However, these disparate systems did not work well together and failed to engage consumers.
The system was cumbersome and expensive, with no online booking facility and no consistent way of tracking the quality of patients’ experiences. While addressing these challenges, Providence also wanted to increase visibility of its services to new commercially insured patients. It also sought to improve the accessibility of same-day care (previously, it could take three to four weeks to see a primary care provider).
Providence wanted to create an innovative, connected and digitized service that would save money, attract new patients and deliver improved health outcomes. Marcee Chmait, Executive Director of Digital Business Development, said the strategy was one of “growth, operational efficiency and retention.”
Providence decided to build its own data platform, DexCare, to understand what health services patients needed, what services were available and how to match the two. It also wanted to ensure that the data collected by DexCare would be reflected in patients’ electronic medical records (EMRs) and that physicians could use the system to add new information.
DexCare fulfils the organization’s aims via three pathways. The first is demand aggregation, which allows the system to connect with users where they are looking for care – on the internet. The second is intelligent optimization, which matches demand data to service availability to allocate patients to the nearest, most appropriate location with the shortest waiting time. The third is navigation, which ensures the right care is provided at the right time and in the right way – for instance, via remote consultation or in-person appointment.
During the build, Providence faced and overcame many challenges related to information security, balancing speed of development and cost, interoperability and change management. The key to success was bringing a large number of legacy technologies under a single umbrella. “Providence made the choice early on to build DexCare in a very integrated way from the ground up,” said Derek Streat, DexCare Entrepreneur-in-Residence and CEO.
There were a number of other important enablers. Providence funded DexCare through the incubation function of its Digital Innovation Group (DIG). It had the backing of senior leaders who wanted to position Providence at the forefront of innovation and ensure that all decisions were grounded in data and analytics so the impact could be measured. And the multidisciplinary DIG team included people with extensive experience of big tech companies and user-centered design.
Using DexCare, Providence has made its retail service line more profitable and attracted new customers, particularly the commercially insured. Retention has increased thanks to improved care experiences. Effective data analytics means smoother, more efficient operations, with a 22% reduction in the cost of follow-up visits. Customer satisfaction has risen and now compares extremely favorably with competitors: a net promoter score (NPS) of 94 compared with less than 70.
During the pandemic, DexCare proved adaptable and robust; Providence has been able to manage up to 30 times the volume of patients compared with pre-pandemic levels. In fact, DexCare has proved so successful that Providence has decided to spin it out as an independent company.