Case study

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta: Navigating a better patient experience

March 13, 2017

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Location: Atlanta, Ga.

Size: A patient population of more than 368,000

Type: Children’s hospital

Facilities: Three hospitals, the Marcus Autism Center, 22 Sibley Heart Cardiology offices, and 27 neighborhood locations

 

Introduction

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta knows that having a child in the hospital can be a scary and overwhelming experience. To support patients and enhance a culture of patient-centered care, Children’s looked to an innovative technological solution that would integrate patient engagement efforts across the organization and enhance the experience of patient families.  Gozio Health’s mobile wayfinding application has become instrumental in designing and delivering a personalized patient experience that takes patients from their home, to the right parking garage and on to their point of care inside Children’s facilities.

 

Challenge

As Children’s searched for ways to improve on service and provide a positive overall patient experience, they discovered that families were having difficulty navigating their healthcare facilities. Children’s consistently delivers in the top quartile for patient experience, a high bar for pediatric hospitals.  So, when Children’s Family Advisory Council stressed that navigating the complex organization was difficult and sometimes resulted in late and delayed appointments, Children’s began researching innovative solutions. They recognized that a smartphone-based, navigation platform for the healthcare system represented the next generation of mobile health and patient experience, putting location-based information at patients families’ and visitors’ fingertips.

 

“When you think about patient and family experience, healthcare leaders rank patient experience as one of the top priorities, in terms of being able to address patients’ needs,” said Allana Cummings, CIO Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “As part of our overall digital strategy, we searched for innovation with a key focus on wayfinding.”

 

“Healthcare organizations have to have a mobile strategy in place,” said Joshua Titus, CEO and founder of Gozio Health. “People are buried in their phones, and will begin to expect their healthcare organization to provide mobile communications.”

 

An aspect of Children’s digital strategy was to use wayfinding as a hook to get patients to download and return to a mobile app that would also provide services such as viewing wait times and saving their spot in line at one of our urgent care facilities. The wayfinding app has the benefit of exposing families to additional applications and tools to help with all their medical care needs, such as MYchart, Children’s patient portal, which allows patients to schedule appointments, fill prescriptions and contact specialists. Children’s developed the mobile platform to be customized to their patient population’s needs, with access to multiple services in one location.

 

Solution

Children’s decided to capitalize on smartphone usage by developing a modern, consumer-facing mobile app that would provide families with an innovative wayfinding experience. But for a mobile wayfinding app to be successful, it needed to meet several of Children’s complex wayfinding challenges. First and foremost, the app needed to align with patient families’ needs and provide a personalized experience that started at home, continued to the point of care, and addressed the downstream impact of late or missed appointments for families and Children’s. The app also needed to navigate the complexities of a system that includes three Hospitals, Marcus Autism Center, 22 Sibley Heart Cardiology offices, and 27 neighborhood locations.

 

Gozio’s wayfinding technology engages users with a “blue dot,” “you are here” wayfinding experience from their home to their point-of-care inside a hospital or satellite facility. The technology provides accurate, True 3D Maps that intuitively zoom, tilt and rotate. Patients and visitors are guided with turn-by-turn directions and elevator instructions that are available in multiple languages.

 

Children’s mobile wayfinding app uses technology and a consumer focus to help patients, caregivers and visitors adopt a hospital-branded mobile solution to improve the patient experience. Providing families with a complete mobile experience, the app also allows families to access physician office directories, wellness information, amenities, real-time traffic estimates and reminders of their parking location. The mobile platform has also evolved to encompass access to MYchart, the ability to save a spot at urgent care locations, view urgent care wait times and it continues to grow and integrate additional applications.

 

The app can also access location-based information of compounding pharmacies recommended by Children’s physicians. Recommended compounding pharmacies surrounding the metro Atlanta area are included in the app, so families living outside of the city can find a compounding pharmacy close to home and navigate directly to it using the app.

 

Social workers at Children’s can recommend GoodRx, another integrated application, that compares prescription prices, and navigates families to the location with the best price while providing a coupon code for the prescription for those without prescription benefit coverage.

 

“We wanted to create a holistic way for families to get many of the things they need in single location,” remarked Pat Frias, Chief Operating Officer, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

 

“Far more than wayfinding, this app illustrates much of the palette of services available to our patients,” notes Cummings. “At its core is wayfinding, with information tailored to the location. This technology is location aware, and is able to suggest pertinent information about Children’s before the family even thinks to search for it. As we developed the app, one of the most important issues was solving the downstream impact of late or missed appointments. Once the family gets off on the wrong foot, their stress escalates. We needed to deliver helpful tools in real time while making the app user experience friendly, and avoid all that stress. Simplicity makes our wayfinding platform truly user friendly and valuable to parents.”

 

Children’s wayfinding app is an enormous benefit to users, as it provides them with convenience and connectivity. It can give a patient directions to the nearest emergency department from wherever they are, provide them with urgent care wait times, and allow them to make appointments at the touch of a finger.  Such capabilities enable users to be active participants in their own wellbeing and give them an anytime/anywhere connection to Children’s.

 

Results

“The Children’s app has made our visits to the hospitals and urgent care centers so much easier.  The items we have used the most are locating compounding pharmacies, which is a huge help, as well as finding nearby restaurants and searching for doctors. The mobile app put everything into one place for us, and for a parent with a child with special needs you can’t put a price on convenience,” describes one Children’s parent.

 

While Children’s does not put a price tag on patient experience, the utilization of the app speaks for itself. Children’s has more than 9,000 downloads, with over 76 percent of users returning to use the application after an initial use. The organization also has seen an uptick in MYchart usage as family members are accessing it through the app.  

 

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s mobile platform has become a beneficial patient experience tool. In additional to improving the patient experience, its spontaneous feedback mechanism, along with feedback stories from families about the transformative nature of the app on their care, provides suggestions to Children’s app development and marketing teams.

 

“Children’s really does want to delight families. This mobility platform, with its suite of offerings in an easy, one-stop location, fulfills that purpose.” Allana Cummings.

 

Children’s put the app in the hands of the Joint Commission team and the feedback was extremely positive, saying how helpful the app was to them during their time at their facilities.

 

A true collaboration

Children’s selected Gozio Health for its wayfinding technology, its ability to seamlessly integrate Children’s brand identity within the app, and Gozio’s commitment to supporting Children’s high standards of patient experience.

 

Gozio has formed a true collaboration with Children’s to meet and often times exceed their patient’s, families and staff’s needs.  “Different hospitals have different pain points,” said Titus. “The flexibility of the app,” Titus added, “allows an organization to promote relevant news and services to its patients, supporting the organization’s strategic initiatives.”

 

On the back end, Gozio provides analytics that help the organization understand how patients and families move throughout the health care system, highlighting frequently visited locations and providing feedback on how visitors interact with the apps’ landing page and directories.

 

Conclusion

Children’s, in collaboration with Gozio Health, has created a branded mobile experience that offers a robust suite of amenities. The mobile platform is continually evolving based on user feedback, staff input and community perspective. Adopting mobile wayfinding technology has contributed to a better patient experience and improved workflow throughout Children’s. With three hospitals 27 neighborhood locations and a patient population of more than 368,000, Children’s use of Gozio is helping it to fulfill its mission of making kids better today and healthier tomorrow.

 

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