The Medical Group of the Future: Our Digital Front Door

December 6, 2016 Michael Connors

As health care continues to evolve to meet the needs of consumers, Providence is using technology to invite more people through the front doors of our clinics – this can be a virtual invitation in the form of an online visit via cellphone or laptop, or in person at a retail Express Care site in Walgreens.

At the same time, we recognize that the real benefit of primary care is the long term relationship that patients develop with their physician and care team. It’s this relationship that allows us to address the ongoing health and wellness of our patients and communities. The more we can use digital technology to connect patients to their care team, the better we will be at taking care of entire populations over time.

Our medical group leaders have partnered with the digital innovation group to test new, patient-centric technology and tools that transform the way care is delivered and cement the relationship between care teams and patients after they have chosen to walk through the doors of a Providence clinic.

The On Demand Health platform, Open Notes and the Circle App for new moms are three new tools we are exploring to connect with patients and build enduring relationships.

On Demand Health platform

Currently only patients who have a MyChart account are able to schedule appointments online. Soon, with a new scheduling tool called the On Demand Health platform, anyone will be able to schedule an appointment online. The tool provides consumers with more options for accessing care when and where they need it. Swedish and Portland are the first to make this technology available to patients. 

Circle App for new moms

Circle is another new tool that is improving the connection between patients and providers. Circle is a free smartphone app by Providence and Swedish for expectant and new moms in Portland, Everett, and Seattle; expanding to other service areas in 2017. Patients can get personalized pregnancy and newborn information, check off weekly to-dos, connect with MyChart, and find after-hours care and breast feeding support through secure video chat with Express Care Virtual. New moms love the app because it puts the information they want at their fingertips – from both a medical and a non-medical perspective. Providers love the app because it helps them stay in touch with their patients outside of traditional office visits.

Open notes

Another patient-centric tool that encourages patients to be more engaged in their care is Open Notes. It gives patients the ability to view their entire medical record – from problem lists to progress notes – online. The expanded access allows patients to be fuller partners in their health care and enables them to have better, more informed conversations with their provider. Oregon will be the first region to implement Open Notes in early 2017.

“Our goal with digital technology is to connect care teams and patients in new ways to support long-term relationships so that our providers and caregivers can continue to offer the compassionate care that Providence has been providing for 160 years,” says Mike Waters, senior vice president, physician services.

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