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Kate Klaphake, Product Manager, Connected Care, Allina Health

At Allina Health, we understood the pressing need to modernize our patient education initiatives throughout our 60+ primary care clinics in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We recognized that while we wanted to provide our patients with the best resources, we couldn’t burden our healthcare providers with another task or app to manage.

So, our quest began to find a comprehensive digital health solution that could enhance patient and provider experiences. Our search led us to one remarkable digital health platform, Xealth, that allowed providers to order patient education materials and apps with minimal effort, streamlining their workflow and improving efficiency. 

Simultaneously, our patients gained access to their personalized education library, empowering them to engage with their health on their terms. This harmonious synergy resulted in higher engagement levels from both sides and, ultimately, more effective care. 

Measuring Success and Early Wins

At this stage of Allina Health’s digital health journey, our primary focus is on adoption, and we’ve established key metrics to gauge our progress. 

  • Number of patients actively using the platform
  • Frequency of patient engagement
  • Rate of patients who click on links within communications

We pay particularly close attention to the following two key initiatives as we evaluate success. 

Welldoc Integration for Diabetes 

By leveraging Xealth’s Welldoc integration, we have simplified the process of inputting patient blood glucose data and sharing it across care teams. Diabetes educators and primary care physicians now have instant access to this data, allowing them to make informed decisions promptly. 

Nurses benefit as well. They receive relevant information through our digital platform without the need for additional back-and-forth communication. 

This streamlined approach enhances patient care and reduces delays in addressing critical issues.

Colorectal Cancer Screenings

Colorectal cancer (CRC) screenings often involve multiple options, which can be time-consuming and confusing for patients. 

To address this, we collaborated with Xealth to automate patient reminders and instructions via email before their annual wellness visits (AWVs). 

We leveraged Xealth’s automation capabilities to email patients due for an AWV before appointments. This resulted in a steady, gradual increase of colonoscopies scheduled and completed – supporting our population health and quality goals. 

The results were remarkable, with a consistent increase in the number of scheduled and completed colonoscopies and engagement with our automated communications:

  • Email open rates averaged 60%
  • Email click through rate of nearly 40% 

Additionally, feedback from our front-line staff indicated that patients were more informed and asked pertinent questions about colorectal health during their appointments. 

One staffer said, “I really like how patients are reading the CRC SDM guide before their appointment with me and asking good questions.”

Strategy and Clinical Adoption

Our strategy centers on a “problems-first” approach, which entails identifying gaps in care and engagement and subsequently finding digital solutions to address them. 

We are hyper-focused on securing clinician buy-in at this stage of scaling our digital tools. We do this in multiple ways. 

  • “White-coat-to-white-coat” testimonial videos: These concise videos, kept under three minutes, feature fellow clinicians who share their positive experiences with our digital tools. Their testimonials help build trust and credibility among healthcare providers.
  • Provider support roadshow: We are methodical about this approach. We visit standing provider meetings to offer live demonstrations of our digital tools. This allows us to showcase the robust tracking system that helps providers monitor their progress and impact on patient care.
  • New employee orientations: Information about our digital care solutions is integrated into new employee orientations, ensuring that all new staff members are well-versed in our offerings from the outset.

Occasionally, we encounter objections, and one we’ve heard from providers is the concern of having to remember yet another new tool amid their already busy schedules. We strive to integrate our tools into existing workflows to address this. 

Whether it’s related to diabetes management or hypertension, we aim to complement established practices with digital resources. Additionally, we continuously optimize the visibility of these digital tools within the healthcare provider’s workflow to ensure easy access.

We’re Only Getting Started

So far, Allina Health’s journey toward transforming healthcare through digital patient education is marked by remarkable early wins and valuable lessons. 

The “white coat” dialogue in the form of testimonial videos emerged as a pivotal factor in driving clinical adoption and overall success. The allure of a one-stop shop for digital healthcare resources entices providers and patients alike. 

Crucially, our focus remains on empowering clinicians by providing them with the tools they need to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively. Simultaneously, we empower patients to take greater ownership of their healthcare journeys, leading to improved outcomes and higher levels of engagement.

Our “problems-first” approach, centered on addressing real pain points in healthcare, has been the cornerstone of our success. By offering solutions that both patients and providers desire, we ensure a higher likelihood of adoption and ultimately contribute to improving healthcare delivery.

Embrace your digital transformation with Xealth

Thank you for reading Kate Klaphake’s guest blog post. Allina Health’s digital health initiatives aren’t the only ones Xealth supercharges. If you’re interested in their early success and would like to see other examples, check out more of our patient communication and care gap success stories.

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