Just what the doctor ordered: Xealth powers digital prescriptions to your mobile

April 11, 2018 Providence Health Team


Providence patients are benefiting from health articles, videos, apps and services digitally prescribed by their doctor straight to their smartphone

Medicaid patients and other vulnerable populations can benefit tremendously from this kind of personalized care

The next time you visit your primary care providers, ask them if they can recommend any helpful content or services


At your next doctor’s visit, you may be surprised by what your physician prescribes. Providence St. Joseph Health physicians are now digitally ordering health articles, videos, apps, devices, and other content and services as easily as they do medications thanks to a new cloud-based technology from Xealth. It’s all part of Providence’s plan to use technology to create a better digital health care experience that’s even more patient-focused and personalized.

“We’ve come a long way from 10 years ago when physicians used to handwrite a prescription and patients would take that piece of paper to a pharmacy to have it filled. Now prescribing medication is all digitized, but we still have clinicians using clunky, paper methods to recommend a patient download an app, read a health article or fill out a survey,” said Mike McSherry, CEO of Xealth.

“With Xealth, we’re able to digitize that entire patient experience, allowing clinicians to recommend anything non-pharmaceutical to a patient within their electronic health record (EHR) workflow,” he said. “Patients can then log in to the portal to access their digital health prescriptions from their mobile device, and clinicians can track whether the patient has taken action on what was prescribed—all with a few simple clicks.”

Xealth is a Seattle-based company that was incubated in Providence Ventures last year and spun out on its own in June 2017. Providence was the first health system to go to market using this scalable platform that plugs into the EHR to allow physicians to prescribe digital treatments like instructional videos. Today, digital prescription of content and services is available to all Providence primary care physicians in California, Oregon and Washington, and there have been nearly 100,000 digital engagements with patients over the past year.

Two other health systems have since incorporated Xealth’s advanced technology system.

“Physicians are loving Xealth because we’re enabling them to provide the tools they believe are relevant for patient care, and we’re doing it in a way that is built into their established workflow,” said McSherry. “Essentially we’re providing a more seamless patient experience that allows physicians to easily communicate with their patients while monitoring patient compliance, and this is leading to increased patient satisfaction.”

The other aspect of this technology that is substantial for physicians and health systems is the ability to track patient utilization of these digital prescriptions. Physicians are ordering weight management programs, pre-diabetes coaching, advanced care planning educational materials, pre-op videos, CPAP monitoring and more—but the true test is whether patients will comply. And, statistically speaking, McSherry said it’s working.

“We’re sending out thousands of orders each week, and we’re seeing the open rates on those emails are over 80 percent and more than 40 percent of our patients are viewing the prescribed content from their clinician within 30 days,” he said. “Clinicians are quite happy with this compliance. These are significantly higher adoption rates than what we saw prior to having these digital capabilities.”

Medicaid patients and other vulnerable populations can benefit tremendously from this kind of personalized care as well.

For example, there’s a health system Xealth is working with that currently has a large number of scheduled surgery no-shows. “We’re learning that this has a lot to do with their Medicaid population’s lack of available transportation, so physicians are now digitally ordering a Lyft ride to ensure patients can get to their appointment,” said McSherry. “It’s a win-win. On the health system side, it’s significantly cheaper to pay for a $30 Lyft ride than to lose a $20,000 operating room appointment schedule; but more importantly, for their vulnerable populations, it means we’re able to get past some of these limitations to ensure we can care for them properly, beyond the hospital walls.”

Xealth is just getting started. The next time you visit your primary care providers, ask them if they can recommend any helpful content or services. Who knows, maybe they will be using Xealth and be able to suggest digital content straight to your smartphone!


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