Why health systems can’t “go it alone”


In this article:

  • With changing demands and expectations for health care, Providence’s Digital Innovation Group is working with partners in the communities we serve to better support patients – in and out of the hospital.

  • These strategic partnerships mean a greater focus on personalized care and care for the whole person (not just their health needs).

  • Partnerships can come in many flavors. Read on to learn how Providence is collaborating to care for the community.

Patient expectations are shifting. Consumers are seeking experiences in health care similar to what they’ve found outside of health care, including speed, efficiency and personalization. With health care now being delivered by new companies ranging from technology startups to retailers, patients are being served in different ways.

Meanwhile, resources are limited, and health systems are being forced to make hard decisions about what drives value for patients and their communities. Health systems are asking questions like how can they do more with less? And how can they partner and use technology to achieve those goals? How can the system become more sustainable to drive value for patients?

Health care, especially when caring for the whole person, is not something health systems can “go it alone” on. That’s why Providence’s Digital Innovation Group (DIG) is collaborating with local and national partners to better serve patients and communities in all aspects of their care.

“Over time, the scope of what we consider partnerships needs to be broader,” says Marcee Chmait, head of Digital Partnerships & Business Development at DIG. “When we think of whole-person health, that also means housing, financial and lifestyle support. It’s not just care delivery but how do other services help people live better lives.”

Driving toward personalized health care

In order to serve people to the best of our ability, Providence recognized that the team needed to really know people.

“We’re working on personalization throughout the care journey, recognizing what we know and should know about our patients,” says Chmait. “With that knowledge, how can we serve them in ways that make sense for our patients, so they don’t need to figure it out on their own.”

However, DIG understood that they can’t deliver everything on their own, which led to strategic partnerships. For example, a collaboration between Medbridge, a physical and occupational therapy digital platform, and Providence is improving outcomes through at-home, digital capabilities. The partnership means Providence caregivers can treat patients and, between visits, the partner empowers patients to extend their care outside of the clinic and into the home. 

“We’re focused on executing on what we do really well, understanding where our gaps and opportunities are, and working with others to fill gaps and complete the whole person health  journey,” says Chmait. “Alone is good but together is better and enables us to serve patients in new ways.”

Finding the right partners for a healthier future

Recognizing the need for partnerships is one thing, but finding the right partners to achieve strategic goals is another. Chmait recommends finding partners who have:

  • Shared vision for what’s possible: Are you both trying to achieve the same goals?
  • Cultural alignment: Do you plan on serving patients the same way?
  • Transparency and effective communication: Are you clear, internally and externally, about your roles?
  • Complementary skills and expertise: Can you create synergies with your different strengths?
  • Flexibility and adaptability: Can you both learn and iterate together along the way?

“When we come together, there is scale and new value created for the patient and the market,” says Chmait. “This model of coming together to solve similar problems is a rising tide that lifts all boats.”

Caring for the whole person

As new companies enter the market and new options become available for patients, DIG is looking for ways to streamline patient experiences, improve personalization and continue that high level of engagement throughout the care journey. That includes looking, for example, to the airline industry and how consumers can book flights with a personalized, in-app experience.

That whole-person experience extends to the partners Providence is collaborating with. “We’re consistently asking ourselves, ‘who can we partner with to make sure the patient we’re serving today continues to receive whole-person care,” says Chmait. 

While some segments of Providence’s business already have strong strategic partnerships, the DIG team is seeking ways to make sure partnerships continue to connect patients and services in ways that improve their experience.

Contributing Caregiver

Marcee Chmait, head of Digital Partnerships & Business Development at the Providence Digital Innovation Group

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

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