Digital in action: Bringing your health care into the digital age


In this article:

  • In health care, just like other sectors, health consumers are expecting a digital-first experience. These digital products and services can improve satisfaction, care delivery and health outcomes, with a more personalized and convenient experience. 

  • Providence’s Digital Innovation Group is focused on bringing these digital experiences to patients across our health system, through close collaboration with patients and caregivers.

  • Read on to learn how this team is putting digital into action to support patients.

In this digital age, digital transformation is no longer a nice to have. As a consumer, you expect to be able to engage with businesses digitally in every sector – from food delivery to retail, banking and even health care. For Providence, digital engagement is a must-have that improves the well-being and satisfaction of our patients while reducing the administrative burdens of our caregivers.

“Patients expect to be able to connect with their health system beyond the brick-and-mortar health care facility­­­­,” says Andy Chu, senior vice president of product and technology incubation for Providence. “Whether they are looking to find a provider, book a virtual or physical appointment, pay their bill or enroll in a new program, a digital experience is expected — and especially important for access and navigation in a complicated space like health care. Patients want to engage with their health system on their own terms and on their own time. We must be able to meet our patients where they are.”

Building out a digital-first experience

Chu leads the technology enablement and incubation team for Providence’s Digital Innovation Group (DIG), a unit of product engineers, user experience researchers, designers, product managers and data scientists who are building digital health solutions for use within Providence and beyond.

This team works to find areas of opportunity to improve the online health care experience by creating digital products, like DexCare, Xealth and Praia Health, that help our patients engage with Providence more seamlessly.

Chu and his team collaborate with caregivers, patients and other stakeholders to understand how digital products can improve patient experience while helping care teams reduce operate more efficiently.

“We listen to our patients and our caregivers, conduct extensive qualitative and quantitative research, and look at the pattern of consumer behaviors. These range from how our patients consume their health care services, what’s important to them, how they engage with their devices and how they interact with their communities,” says Chu. “We also gather feedback from our frontline caregivers to learn more about what they’re hearing from patients.”

DIG is continuously analyzing new information and feedback to deliver the best features to our patients.

“We’re not just looking at one data point for product development,” says Chu. “We’re looking at patterns and moments of frustration and delight and are using those to figure out how to bring the best of our assets to our patients digitally.”

Supporting patient care, digitally

As Chu and his team gathered information, they recognized and prioritized several areas where digital tools enhance the patient experience. These include:

  • Offering multiple modalities of care — like on-demand telehealth appointments, location information and wait times at nearby urgent care locations, and online booking for PCP virtual and in-person appointments.  
  • Proactively offering patients recommended “next best actions” with the health system based on their health status and established medical protocols.
  • Enabling self-service capabilities for 24/7 access to the health system, where applicable.
  • Recommending programs and resources that are relevant to our patients based on health status and geographic location.
  • Offering an easy-to-understand digital bill pay and support process via a chatbot and Live Chat.
  • Promoting local government supported programs for dealing with diabetes, hypertension and other health care-related services.
  • Integrating with Providence genomics and other ancillary services and research projects so patients can easily sign up for services relevant to them.
  • Offering spiritual health services in a digital format.

“As a system, Providence has a remarkably broad array of programs, services and resources to support our patients both as a part of and beyond the clinical encounter,” says Chu. “Our value is that we are bringing all these different offerings into a single, cohesive digital experience for our patients. Moreover, we’re able to provide that experience in a very personal way that supports better health for each patient.”

How digital technologies benefit patients

Patients can self-serve for things like booking appointments, finding and navigating answers to their questions, making sense of bills, or getting help for financial assistance. This lets our patients interact with the health system on their own timelines and terms and frees up caregiver time to focus on delivering world-class care and dealing with more complex administrative cases.

“Patients are happier because they can have more control, be more informed and more easily navigate the health system,” says Chu. “Digital health technology helps our care team and our operations since caregivers can spend time addressing more complicated tasks and interventions. Freeing up administrative time of our caregivers helps them focus on care delivery.”

These digital health care experiences meet the expectations our patients have as modern health consumers connecting with their health system of choice. It enables highly personalized recommendations based on their unique health status and goals and broadens their options for receiving quality care.

“Patients can be the judge for the types of services they are looking for and how they want to receive them,” says Chu. “That means they can be in the driver’s seat for decision-making and have a more convenient experience.”

To see these new digital capabilities in action, download the Providence app and sign in using your Providence or MyChart credentials. You can also create a Providence account if you don’t have one, which will give you access to both the Providence app and MyChart. Inside the app, you’ll find a robust digital experience personalized to you — including all of your care options in one place, personalized programs, service and resource recommendations, self-service support, and navigation capabilities.

Contributing Caregiver

Andy Chu is the senior vice president of product and technology incubation for Providence.

Find a doctor 

Your provider can connect you to care and treatments that can improve your quality of life. If you are looking for a primary care provider, you can search for one who’s right for you in our provider directory.

Download the Providence app

We’re with you, wherever you are. Make Providence’s app your personalized connection to your health. Schedule appointments, conduct virtual visits, get personal health recommendations, view your health record and more. Learn more and download the app.

Related resources

Driving Value: A Pivotal Moment for Digital Health

Download the Providence app for care at your fingertips

Growing from within: Why Providence incubates tech companies

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

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