The Yale New Haven Health System is working to create what Lisa Stump, senior vice president and CIO, calls a “single digital front door” that consolidates access to mobile apps and leverages Yale New Haven’s brand reputation.
Working with San Francisco-based technology company VenueNext, Yale New Haven is creating what Stump terms an “overlay” for the apps customers might chose to use. “I can plug in or unplug apps on the back end but keep our brand and name out front,” she said, “so for instance, if I use Amwell’s telehealth app today and next year decide to go with MDLive, the patient doesn’t need to worry about that because they are coming to our digital front door.”
One of the problems this solution addresses involves patients having to go to a series of separate portals to interact with the health system and their data. Yale New Haven is an Epic customer, so patients interact through the MyChart patient portal. They can do that via the web or an app. “We have been looking at other apps that we think have the opportunity to enhance the patient experience and/or improve their health journey,” Stump said. For instance, it has been working with a company called Humm, which allows patients to offer real-time feedback.
Yale New Haven has an equity investment in a company with a platform called PatientWisdom. “It enables a patient to tell us their personal story in their own words and post a photo and preferred name,” Stump explained. A series of questions helps define the patient’s decision-making style around health and get at some of their social determinants. It gives the clinician a quick snapshot view to know you better as an individual before they start working with you as a patient. “We have linked that into the EHR, but for the patient, they are dealing with a PatientWisdom portal, our EHR portal, and lots of other portals.” That is why the single digital front door concept is appealing, she said.
Stump said many of these apps build on what the MyChart patient portal allows patients to do. “The patient portal will work for several segments of the population we serve,” she added. Appointment scheduling is one example. Some patients use a tool called ZocDoc. They are familiar with it and use it when they need to find a provider and make an appointment. “We want to make that available as well as making scheduling available with one of our providers through the portal, rather than trying to shoehorn people into one or the other. The Medicare population is going to be very different from millenials. We are trying to create as much flexibility as we can.”
VenueNext’s technology platform is pulling these apps together under one roof, so to speak. Many app vendors have application programming interfaces readily available for that type of integration, Stump explained. Others are newer in creating that level of integration. It varies by app how easy it is to integrate. “VenueNext came to us with a handful of applications they had already developed integrations with.”
Creating the digital front door is one piece of a project Stump has taken on as part of a fellowship project. Last year Stump was awarded a Carol Emmott Fellowship for Women Leaders in Health. The 14-month program expands the leadership capacity of the fellows, who are chosen for their ability to deliver results within their organizations and potential to advance to senior executive roles in health.
Her project involves improving overall access to Yale New Haven’s services. “We are a complicated medical system enterprise,” she said. “We have five hospitals, a health system independent physician association called the Northeast Medical Group, and we are in close affiliation with Yale University School of Medicine’s physician practice, which is called Yale Medicine. As a consumer or patient, if you needed to schedule an appointment with your specialist at Yale Medicine, and your primary care provider is in our Northeast Medical Group, and you needed an ultrasound done, you might have to call three or four different phone numbers to schedule those appointments and get pre-certification done,” she said. “Creating a single digital front door, aligning our web presence, and creating a single-access patient resource center — that is the telephony side — that is my overall impact project.”