Digital in action: Finding the right care with the Providence app


In this article:

  • Finding the right care for your symptoms or condition can lead to faster treatment and better recovery. New features within the Providence app are helping patients find that care, right at their fingertips.

  • Within the app, patients can now triage symptoms, attend on-demand virtual care appointments and locate urgent care close to them.

  • Patients also can learn about upcoming screenings, vaccinations and suggested appointments with personalized recommendations directly within the app.

When you feel sick, finding (and receiving) care can seem daunting. Even if you are well, getting the support you need to meet your health goals sometimes feels like an uphill battle. The Providence Digital Innovation Group (DIG) is working to change that approach with new features within the Providence app. These new tools help patients find the right type of care for their health concerns and goals. This includes triaging symptoms, meeting virtually with providers on-demand, or finding a new primary care provider close to home. You can also find an urgent care location that works for your schedule. All the care you need — and how you want to receive it — is right at your fingertips.

“Getting the right kind of care is important because it’s not about treating an illness or condition but treating the individual, which leads to better outcomes and greater engagement,” says Lisa Mason, associate vice president of product design and insights for Providence’s Digital Innovation Group. “We want to bring a personalized experience where you can manage care to stay happy and healthy and stop a small concern from becoming a serious condition.”

These features were designed to solve patient problems and address their needs.

“We talked to patients to understand their needs, built a solution that addresses those needs and went back to patients to get their feedback,” says Mason. “We also understand that when patients use the mobile app, they may be sick, worried or not in the best state of mind. We did a lot of research to make sure these features are easy to use and don’t have to be learned when patients aren’t feeling their best.”

Personalized recommendations for each patient

One challenge the DIG team saw was that it wasn’t easy for patients to keep up with constantly changing recommendations for screenings, vaccinations and other types of routine, preventative care. That’s why the team integrated the app so it can pull information from patients’ medical records. When they are logged in — and with support from caregivers throughout Providence — patients get the most up-to-date information for recommended care. For example, the Providence app can see from each patient’s medical record if a mammogram is appropriate for them, whether they are due for one, and help them book an appointment.

“It’s hard to stay up on the recommended actions you should take with your health,” says Mason. “The app manages that for you by staying on top of those things and telling you when it is time to schedule a screening or appointment — whatever the next best action is to manage your health.”

Patients also can find a primary care provider, if they don’t have one, through the Providence app. If a patient without a provider signs into the app, they’ll see a notification to search for a provider. Then, they can filter through criteria like location, accepted insurance and if they are accepting video appointments. The app will then turn out a list of possible providers and their availability so patients can book directly within the app.

New ways to find the best care for your symptoms

Within the Providence app, patients can also interact with a chatbot named Grace that helps them navigate the Providence health system. The patient can answer questions about their current symptoms. Grace will then work with them to find the best steps to manage their health.

“We’re constantly working with our caregivers to understand the best actions to take based on symptoms and teaching Grace how to navigate that,” says Mason. “Grace understands these protocols for how to direct patients.”

For example, if the symptoms are something a patient has seen a provider about in the last week, that provider might want them to come in for an appointment. However, if a patient is experiencing new symptoms, Grace will lead them through some questions to understand the condition and might recommend an ExpressCare (virtual), urgent care or primary care visit as a next step.

ExpressCare virtual visits are simple, quick and can be done from anywhere. Patients simply go into the Providence app, tap on the card for a virtual visit, say why they want a visit and enter a waiting room. Once a provider is available, often within five minutes, the patient can conduct the entire visit from their phone, tablet or computer. 

While patients can get virtual care directly from their phones, there may be times when they need to see a provider in person. The Providence app supports that, too, by helping patients find urgent care locations that are nearby, have short wait times or have scheduling available. The app adjusts location based on where you are — whether at home, work or your child’s school – to provide the most up-to-date details. For example, some urgent care locations have timeslots that patients can book, so if they are busy during the day or the problem isn’t as urgent, they can schedule for later. However, if a patient wants to see a provider right away, other clinics have a queue where they can “get in line” virtually through the app and plan their day accordingly.

“We have different types of appointments, clinics and other options to meet different patient needs,” says Mason. “It’s nice to be able to have what you need at your fingertips to take control of the situation when you need care.”

Care that goes beyond the 9-5

From managing symptoms to finding the care that is right for them, the Providence app empowers patients to manage their health journey on their own timeline. Within the app, patients also can:

  • Access lab results.
  • Ask questions about medication.
  • Book same-day care visits.
  • Communicate with caregivers.
  • Get reminders for upcoming appointments.
  • View wellness articles.

“The nice thing about the mobile app is that patients have access to their care at any time and place,” says Mason. “Life doesn’t happen 9 to 5 on weekdays. We are trying to make it easier to access care when patients need it, so they are in the driver’s seat of managing their health.”

To see these new digital tools in action, download the Providence app and sign in using your Providence or MyChart credentials. You can 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 — with all of your care options in one place. This includes personalized programs, recommended services and resources, self-service support, and navigation capabilities.

Contributing caregiver

Lisa Mason is the associate vice president of product design and insights for Providence’s Digital Innovation Group.

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

Digital in action: Finding wellness centers in your backyard

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

Download the Providence app for care at your fingertips

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

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