Use technology to drive your consumer-centric strategy

Hoag’s digital director, Kathy Azeez-Narain, explained how the health system developed an app to strengthen relationships with its consumers and keep them connected to their health.

Today’s healthcare consumer is more tech-savvy and connected than ever before. They want to be involved in how their care is delivered. They want more than just a transactional relationship with a primary care physician. They want opportunities and they want to stay informed.

To keep up with their patients, healthcare systems are developing new strategies aimed at the connected consumer. This includes the development of patient portals and digital healthcare applications that connect the patient to the provider at any time and place.

Kathy Azeez-Narain, vice president and digital director of Hoag (California’s Orange County Regional Health System), helped develop Hoag Compass as part of a consumer-focused strategy. The applications and services offered help to connect patients with their health and strengthen the relationship between patients and doctors.

Azeez-Narain recently spoke to HealthLeaders about the success of the app so far, and gave feedback on the technology it is targeting to consumers who are integrating into healthcare.

This transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.

HealthLeaders: What do you think about the fact that healthcare organizations use technology to provide more attention to consumers?

Kathy Azeez-Narain: It is clear that it is necessary now. While you think about where health care is, consumer market demand and patient expectations are on the list of what health experience should look like.

Healthcare has been on that path for a while now. COVID probably accelerated this as well, where the consumer market is now in a more precarious situation: I want things that are more accessible and comfortable. I want to be able to reach out to doctors in a variety of ways, not just in regular offices. Technology has a critical role to play in enabling a consumer-centric strategy; it is necessary when we think about what is before. But beyond that, it has become almost a gamble for us to be able to compete in today’s marketplace.

HL: What trends are you seeing in the digital space for consumers?

Azeez-Narain: AI is playing an important role today in how we use our data, and how we can personalize it in our outreach and in the products that consumers will interact with.

Virtual primary care models and virtual pharmacy models are at the top of the list, and there is consumer demand. A major one that has emerged recently is in behavioral health and mental health, and helping to virtualize the entire community. COVID has clarified tools like Talkspace, Headspace, etc. that people can use, and now you’re hearing more and more about companies that are moving in that direction.

So there are quite a few trends from the AI ​​world to different models of care, and [we are] virtualization, accessing new niches that are taking advantage of digital technology to reach out to patients about episodic and / or pre-episodic care.

HL: Why did Hoag create Compass and what pain points do you expect to deal with?

Azeez-Narain: I joined Hoag in the heat of the pandemic in 2020, and it was a newly created role in the organization I joined and took over. The idea was to build digital solutions to help our customer base solve problems.

Overall, the strategy has been the real problems we see in the Orange County market from existing patients and / or new community members and clients. What do they want? How does digital support support this?

Step A was doing a series of research to hear and understand what the needs were. What do people demand? What issues are they still facing in healthcare? Through this research team, we have been able to find findings that people still want to focus on and / or fix.

A couple of them that go crazy in my head [are centered around how the patient/doctor relationship has changed:

  • Patients don’t want to just see their doctor once a year in one facility; they want to be able to communicate and have a dialogue with and reach them in between visits.
  • Patients want the opportunity to book an appointment or to see their medical record.
  • Patients don’t want a transactional relationship with their physician.

Compass was born out of those ideas and feedback that we got from the community in the consumer market space. What we drill down into is there’s this need from the market for Hoag to step into a relationship with patients pre-anything going wrong.

Compass embodies three pillars:

The first pillar embodies the accessibility area, which I would say is your logistical tasks that you might want to do, including meeting the doctor virtually, setting up appointments, looking at health records, and filling prescriptions.

The second pillar is the relationship with that physician and being able to build a relationship beyond just the moments of the visit, including messaging between visits.

The third pillar is continued access right into our world class care model and a larger care team. With Compass Plus, you get a care coordinator who gets to know you one-on-one and helps you at all the logistical things you’re trying to take care of as it relates to your healthcare. You also get access to three health coaches and a registered dietician, exercise, and mindfulness coach.

We have patients on the app already that are coming to the Newport Beach Hoag On-Demand Care and Innovation Center that opened as part of the Compass offering. We have people already signed up on Plus that are talking to the coaches. Their feedback has been positive, and we’ve heard they feel connected to this larger care team and the accessibility of getting all of those things through the device, as well as feedback around experience.

We’re trying to also ensure that as we add features, and as we think about what we’re hearing and learning, that the user experience remains best-in-class and we continue to focus on that as a pillar.

HL: How do the different versions of the app work?

Azeez-Narain: There are two parts.

1. “Base model”

You can form a relationship with one of our primary care physicians here and you can download the app to be able to do all the accessibility pillar things that we talked about. [You can] book your appointment, you will see a summary of your visit, [ and] you can see what steps you need to take.

You can come to a physical location, still see your doctor, and still have that relationship with your doctor. Your access is still there and you have a deep relationship that you can build with your doctor.

2. Plus membership

When you move on to membership Plus, we really go beyond the medical relationship. Once you get into Plus, you’ll have access to the health coach and your care coordinator, who helps with all the logistics, and they also guide you to make sure you get on the road. the quality of attention you expect and the quality of care you expect. You get access to all three health coaches, you also get a specialist connection from a Hoag-certified specialist if you need to go that route. And you get your care plan, which is an additional component, to gain a deeper level of knowledge about the steps we recommend you take while you are trying to achieve those goals. Part of the Plus model will give you access to the Premier Lounge, which is basically a space where you can meet and join coaches.

Plus I would think that we are really activating this additional set of things throughout the concept of health care, your basic model is still there to help you through your relationship with your doctor and trying to complete your normal level of care. done.

HL: What measures will you use to monitor patient satisfaction and results?

Azeez-Narain: From a metrics perspective, app downloads, usage, how many times you sign in, and so on. But, there is a bigger angle that we are seeing. We want to help patients achieve the goals they have set for themselves, the health outcomes they have set for themselves, and we want to make sure that what we are building here and what we provide to the community is true. giving value.

What will we need some time for, because we need a little more people in the model to be able to get that out, will it be, have we seen the population use these traits to get more health benefits? Are they achieving the goals they were trying to achieve because of this model? Here’s how we bring a new model of care that is helping the lives of our community.

Melanie Blackman is the HCPro brand HealthLeaders strategy editor.

Photo: Newport Beach, California / USA – 04/18/2019: Front sign for the hospital building known as Hoag / The Image Party /


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