Collecting patient feedback isn’t just about understanding their experience. It’s another opportunity to engage with them, demonstrate that you care, and connect them to help or resources to solve their challenges.
In healthcare, increased patient engagement isn’t just good for the organization, it means better health outcomes for patients. At Indianapolis-based Community Health Network, every interaction, whether it’s an in-person visit or a post-care survey, is a critical chance to engage patients and help them overcome obstacles to care.
A nonprofit health system that operates more than 200 sites of care and facilitates more than two million patient-provider encounters every year, Community Health Network employs Qualtrics’ automated systems to identify patients with a high likelihood to churn and connect them to resources. They’ve connected thousands of patients to primary care, which research shows is associated with positive health outcomes, through early detection and treatment of disease, chronic disease management, and preventive care.
Here’s how they took their existing patient experience management system and maximized it for a real and immediate impact on patient health.
Capitalizing on existing programs
Community Health Network knows they must meet patients where they are, so they leveraged existing survey programs and an already-captive audience to further empower patients in their healthcare journey.
The healthcare network, which operates MedCheck urgent care clinics and Walgreens’ retail clinics, saw an opportunity to connect patients who were relying on urgent care to long-term primary care.
Starting in December of 2021, Community Health Network took their post-care survey, which asked patients about their experience with the staff and facilities at these sites and added a series of questions to determine if the individual wanted to be connected to a primary care physician and/or pediatrician. Over 10,000 patients qualified for additional follow-up or connection to care.
Identifying patients in need
According to a report from the National Association of Community Health Centers, nearly a 100 million Americans do not have a primary care physician.
Community Health Network utilized medical record information from Epic, passed to Qualtrics, to identify MedCheck and Walgreens patients who had not seen a primary care doctor in the past 18 months and did not have an appointment scheduled in the next three months. They then proactively asked this group if they would like to be assisted in scheduling an appointment.
These are the patients who have a high likelihood to churn, which impacts both population health and the hospital system.
“Primary care is not only associated with population health, but also with health equity, health care quality, and lower health care expenditure,” said Dr. Patrick McGill, chief transformation officer at Community Health Network. “There are known, nation-wide healthcare access issues, which we are working to mitigate by uncomplicating the actual process of connecting with care.”
Not only did Community Health Network ask if individual patients would like to be connected to care, they asked HOW the patient would like to be connected. Options included scheduling an appointment online or receiving a phone call for further assistance. They then automated the process, seamlessly integrating with digital systems and communications, to close the loop with each patient and get them the personalized service they requested to schedule an appointment.
Of the 12,037 patients identified as needing primary care:
- 39% (4,697) requested to be connected
- 24% (2,891) indicated they do not currently need an appointment but were interested in information about physicians in their area
- 11% (1,362) indicated need for an appointment but said they would self-schedule online
- 4% (419) requested a phone call for appointment scheduling
- BIPOC were 1.9x more likely to request help connecting to additional care
About half (2,438) of those who requested connection were confirmed as attending an appointment. That’s more than $3.2 million in potential earnings for the health system. But more importantly, that’s 2,438 people who now have access to preventive health services like flu shots, blood pressure screenings, cancer screenings, and more that will help them lead longer, healthier lives.
“Thinking outside the traditional survey feedback box and being able to dream big has enabled Community Health Network to address the patient experience, population health and access and more thoroughly,” said Maggie Gentry, experience analytics manager at Community Health Network.
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