Cerner to collaborate with Well Health, offer users automated messaging

Healthcare organizations can use the new automation features to send flu shot reminders, reschedule appointments, prompt patients to set up medical transportation and more.
By Kat Jercich
09:05 AM
The Cerner logo

Cerner on Wednesday announced a collaboration with Well Health to simplify clinicians' engagement with patients through automated and intelligent conversation. 

According to the electronic health record giant, organizations can use the new automation features through Cerner's HealtheLife patient portal to deliver critical health information, send flu shot reminders, reschedule appointments, schedule virtual visits and prompt patients to set up necessary medical transportation.

"While healthcare is probably the most important industry in our country, it's generally been one of the worst in terms of customer service," Guillaume de Zwirek, founder and CEO of Well Health, told Healthcare IT News. "That's backward, especially as patients expect more retail-like experiences."

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Well Health's two-way digital tool enables secure, multilingual conversations between patients and providers through texting, email, telephone or live chat.

"Healthcare should be first in customer service. That means allowing patients to securely communicate with their doctor the way they communicate with their family and friends," de Zwirek continued.

WHY IT MATTERS

Organizations will be able to contract for capabilities "out of the gate," said David Bradshaw, senior vice president of customer and employer solutions at Cerner. "We think this technology could be in the hands of millions when it’s all rolled out," he said.

The communications integration will happen from customers' native texting experience and any communication that needs to be escalated into a secure chat – such as private information – will be web browser-based. 

In other words, "patients will not need to download an app to benefit from these new features," said Bradshaw.

He noted that the new features allow clinicians to leverage automated responses, include other members of the care team, and draw attention when an issue is escalating – hopefully allowing them to streamline their workflow.

"Their workflow may change, but we believe the impact to the way they care for their patients is significant. Instead of calling and playing phone tag, we envision a world where they leverage this platform to communicate more effectively and timely with their patients," Bradshaw explained.

"For a provider’s staff, Well Health is designed to unify and automate disjointed communications across the organization, helping to reduce unnecessary stress and limiting potential errors," said de Zwirek in a statement.

THE LARGER TREND

Individual health systems have reported a decrease in no-show rates after using Well Health's text-based tool.

In 2018, Healthcare IT News Features Editor Bill Siwicki reported that California-based Riverside Medical Clinic decided to expand to more than 85 practices across seven locations after just two weeks of its pilot program at three practices. 

"The problem we were trying to resolve was getting a hold of our patients in an expedient manner without having to do redundant work," said Diego Galvez-Ramirez, director of patient support services at Riverside Medical Clinic.

And in 2019, Siwicki reported, Eisenhower Health, also in California, decreased its no-show rate from 8% to 2.3% for patients using Well Health technology. 

ON THE RECORD

"Cerner is committed to making it easier for providers to create the engaging, comprehensive health care experiences that patients expect and deserve,” said Bradshaw in a statement. 

"By bringing patient data from different systems and streamlining in one unified view, we are strengthening our clients’ ability to build meaningful relationships with patients through a convenient, digital experience that has become a part of everyday life," he continued.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: kjercich@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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