Prisma Health saves $4M, and counting, with patient engagement tech

Prisma Health, the largest nonprofit healthcare provider in South Carolina, says that by integrating digital patient communications, it’s decreased no-shows to the tune of $4 million in savings within the first two years.

That achievement, accomplished with help from patient engagement company Artera, is estimated to result in an $8 million overall cost savings. 

“We estimate that every 1% reduction in no-shows equates to about $1 million in savings across our organization,” said Rich Rogers, the health system’s senior vice president and chief information officer.

He told Healthcare IT News that, since the platform was launched, it has reduced missed appointments “consistently by about 4% or more over the course of nearly two years.”

 “Through our integrated partnership with Artera we have deployed a robust patient communications workflow to help patients prepare them for the appointment, remind them of important details related to their appointment and more,” Rogers explained.

“As a result – we’re seeing more and more patients show up for their appointments.”

Moving calls to texts boosts efficiency 

The software-as-a-service platform integrates across Prisma’s tech stack, electronic health records and other systems to unify digital patient communications in their selected channel – texting, email and IVR – in 109 languages.

With it, the health system moved more than 2,300 inbound phone calls to asynchronous text conversations within the first four months of implementation. 

Prisma said that, on average, 33% of patients wait less than one minute to get a response to their inquiry via the call-to-text conversation. The call-to-text feature can transition patients from being on hold to texting directly with a staff member.

The system helped Prisma maintain efficiency, eliminating more than 1,000 backlogged specialty referrals in less than two weeks and provides analytics on staff efficiency as well as patient engagement. 

New app streamlines patient experience

On Tuesday, Prisma announced that it’s also integrating Gozio Health’s location-aware mobile engagement communications tools into a patient-facing app called Prisma Health Go to improve patient access and reduce patient fatigue with consolidated messaging. 

“Bringing these two leading HIT vendors together has helped orchestrate a streamlined patient experience, ensuring our patients receive access to quality care in the most efficient, non-disruptive way possible,” said Rogers.

Initial deployment in August increased the acceleration of app downloads from 40 to 400 per day, with more than 25,400 new installs of the application. 

With the integration, when a patient confirms their appointment via a text reminder, they are offered a link to download the new app.

Patients can launch navigation, from their home, to parking and wayfinding to the point of care on Prisma Health’s campus. The app reduces calls to Prisma staff to ask for directions and removes the added stress of trying to find a new office for the first time. 

It may also help more patients arrive at their appointments on time.

“For many patients going to the doctor is stressful enough, this integration reduces added stress patients can experience when navigating to a doctor’s office for the first time,” Robin Gadd-Lane, manager of digital health and transformation systems at Prisma Health, said in a statement. 

With a large campus – there are 18 acute care and specialty hospitals in a 21-county service area and much more, according to the health system’s website – patients would often call doctors’ offices to ask for directions.

“We’ve heard firsthand from our patients that this has improved their experience by helping them navigate to the right location on time, and our staff are overjoyed with the reduction in call volume they’ve seen.”

Other features include the ability to save the appointment to a mobile phone calendar, including an embedded navigation link that can bring them from home to the office.

There’s also a map-based “find care” feature for many facilities that includes urgent care wait times and the ability to book appointments.

While the app’s download rate is tapering slightly to approximately 300 on average per day, as expected, Rogers said Prisma continues to see growth, adding an average of 5,000 new users each month.

“What’s really interesting is that we’re seeing people come back to the app more than once – indicating that they are finding real value in it,” he noted. 

“Since launching the link, the rate of patients who return to use the app more than once has increased to 71%.” 

But it’s not just about “the dollars and cents,” said Rogers.

“It’s about improving care for our patients. We’re more deeply connected to our patients as a result of the progress we’ve made with our tech innovations, and that’s improving the patient experience and access to care.”

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.


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