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At Community Health Network, Matching Patients to the Right Providers—the First Time

June 8, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Too often, patients use online tools to find doctors, only to learn in the end that the provider’s information was inaccurate. An Indianapolis health system took to enhancing that experience.

Imagine a patient who needs to make an appointment for a minor surgical procedure. This patient very likely will search online to find a surgeon at the hospital that best meets his or her needs. But far too often, that search on the hospital’s website will lead to a provider with inaccurate information; sometimes that surgeon is no longer working at the organization or may not even be in the state. This can obviously lead to great frustration for patients with pressing healthcare needs.

Indeed, as healthcare organizations are continuing to look to enhance patient access and experience, having the ability to match patients to the right providers the first time is a necessity. This is a fundamental challenge, however, as most hospitals keep essential provider information in dozens of disparate silos. Those data sources could often be out of date, conflict with each other, and can’t be readily accessed by the staff who need them.

With the goal to improve in these areas, leaders at Indianapolis, Ind.-based Community Health Network, a large integrated health system that delivers care to patients via more than 2,000 providers across 200 sites in the region, knew they that they had to enhance their web platform for finding physicians. Julie O’Toole, the organization’s vice president, patient experience—access and service, says that the platform was getting provider data from a combination of multiple sources, thus leading to inconsistencies with regards to searching for and finding physicians in their network. “Depending on where within the website you looked, you would get different results. And that came as a result of our partnerships with other [provider] organizations as they grew through the years. But all of those required individual maintenance, and the criteria listed there oftentimes did not match with our overall credentialing system,” says O’Toole.

Julie O’Toole

In an effort to consolidate these seven different “find-a-doctor” tools, Community Health Network’s need was to leverage some technology that stratified physicians in a way such that patients could be matched to the right provider the first time. “So if the patient had a need for a pacemaker, we would want to connect him or her with an electrophysiologist as opposed to a cardiologist,” O’ Toole says. As such, her team selected technology from Boston-based Kyruus, which developed a platform that collects, reconciles and verifies a hospital’s disparate physician data, according to the tech company’s officials. Recently, Community Health Network announced that it expanded its deployment of the Kyruus ProviderMatch suite of solutions and is now using ProviderMatch both in its patient call center— in which there is a system that connects patients to care across Community Health Network—and on its consumer website.

A Single Source of Truth

Shortly after deploying ProviderMatch, O’Toole’s team needed to figure out what source feeder system would be used for the platform. They eventually decided on its credentialing system, which all health systems have for their providers, to be the single source of truth. “We decided that that is the most accurate source system to keep us from having to redundantly load provider names and keep their credentials correct. That was the first step—deciding on one source of truth,” O’Toole says.

According to O’Toole, what differentiated this platform from others was its ability to build out a clinical taxonomy. “None of the other vendors at the time had a means by which you could take that credentialing data and the [clinician’s] individual profile, and then turn it into something to truly represent their subspecialty area of focus,” she says. “[But with Kyruus], you take the profiles from the credentialing system and put them into the Kyruus platform, and from there you build out the clinical taxonomy for each of the clinicians such that I am representing their unique clinical deliverables that they represent.” This helps the user go more granularly from cardiology to electrophysiology, for example, or even look across specialties and identify providers who care for Lyme disease—so rheumatology and infectious disease, she explains. “It starts to get at the patient symptom-based search criteria, and then when you’re employing people in the contact center, you don’t have to have a bunch of RNs to understand exactly what that patients’ needs might be, but you can [instead] use a tool from a symptom search to map to a clinical taxonomy that then reveals those physicians that specifically deliver care for that service.”

ProviderMatch—with SEO features to boost search rankings—is embedded directly into the health system’s website and mobile apps. Since going live with the new tool, on the consumer-facing side, Community Health Network has seen a 25 percent increase to its website daily, and is currently at about 1,200 daily searches for users to connect with and learn more about that physician.

What’s more, with the prior approach that used seven different systems, Community Health Network had at least a half an FTE’s time go into supporting each of those systems, compared to having half of an FTE total supporting just the one system.

And in the contact center, the platform has already shown to be helpful in matching to the right specialist, notes O’Toole. “When it comes to a specialist, that’s an expensive resource, so we want to make sure we leverage their time appropriately. And from a patient perspective there’s nothing more frustrating than going to one type of specialist only to learn you should have gone to someone else. That costs too time and money,” she says.

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