Newly Formed Prisma Health Aims for Better Patient Access with Revamped Provider Directory Tools
// By Melanie Graham //
These days, a health system’s digital front door is more important than ever. Your website and online provider directory can be the difference between an appointment at your clinic, and one at your competitor’s.
So, when it came time for South Carolina’s Palmetto Health and Greenville Health System to merge and form Prisma Health, they knew they needed to approach their new provider directory with a focus on patient access.
“Even before the merger was complete, we started looking at online access tools,” says Nick Patel, MD, chief digital officer of Prisma Health. “Both organizations made it a high priority to remove barriers of access to patients.”
Developing the new directory would be a massive undertaking. Officially rebranded Prisma Health in January 2019, the newly merged health system includes 3,241 providers on staff; 1,692 affiliated providers; and 18 hospitals. Plus, Palmetto and Greenville each had its own credentialing and electronic health record systems, making provider information siloed, complicated, and inconsistent.
To tackle this project, Prisma Health tapped Kyruus, which offers enterprise-wide patient access and provider data management solutions for health systems. The partnership meant Prisma Health would take advantage of a few of Kyruus’ key products, including its provider data management platform (KyruusOne®) that helps supply information to the consumer-facing provider directory and scheduling system (ProviderMatch for Consumers), as well as a provider matching and scheduling platform for Prisma Health’s call center (ProviderMatch for Access Centers).
With the Kyruus tools in place, Prisma Health will be able to consolidate its provider directories into one robust resource that can help match patients with the right doctor or specialist to fit their needs.
“We’re focused on getting patients to the right providers regardless of how they go about seeking care,” says Emma Smith, vice president of marketing at Kyruus. “And better matching starts with better data.”
Creating a Better Consumer Experience
Patient access was the number-one priority for the Kyruus project, Patel explains. Many other industries, including travel and hospitality, make it easy for users to search granularly to find exactly what they’re looking for. Most healthcare-related searches aren’t that easy, and usually require multiple phone calls or online directories that can’t filter beyond location and name.
“Healthcare is still kind of stuck in the ’80s,” Patel says. “We need to have a digital front door that people are used to in their lives.”
To create the ideal patient experience, Kyruus needed to create an enterprise-wide view of Prisma Health’s new provider network. Since starting the partnership in 2018, the two have worked together to create a single point of access for data that can feed the ProviderMatch search tool. This means working with system stakeholders, understanding business and marketing goals, and bringing together data from various credentialing and electronic health systems.
“We believe a better patient-provider match starts with clean, robust provider data,” says Erin Jospe, MD, chief medical officer and senior vice president of account management at Kyruus.
One of the unique features of the Kyruus system is that it uses search terms that are both provider- and patient-friendly. When working with providers, Kyruus uses clinical taxonomy to attach terms to each provider listing (“atrial fibrillation,” for example), but also maps them to “lay” keywords and symptoms that would be more familiar to the average consumer (“AFib” or “A-Fib”). They also offer a version of their consumer solution in Spanish.
Having these keywords attached to each provider profile also allows consumers to search with more detail and find the provider that can fit their exact needs.
“A lot of provider search tools are only based on specialty or subspecialty, but because of the taxonomy we use, we’re matching at a much deeper level,” says Jospe.
The new search tool, which is slated to roll out at Prisma Health this summer, will also connect directly to electronic health record systems to allow for direct, online scheduling.
“One of the major reasons we went down this route is because we wanted a better, more consumer-friendly experience for our patients,” says Patel. “With this system, they’ll be able to click a button to get an appointment.”
Boosting Efficiency Among Providers and Clinics
The new data system will also help providers be more efficient in their daily work life, Patel says. With better patient-provider matching and direct scheduling, providers’ offices can become more automated and organized. It also allows providers to better fill schedules and see more patients, if they’d like.
Patel also expects these systems will be more effective in getting patients in the door.
“Having a more detailed provider search and online scheduling is a much better marketing tool than sending out pamphlets or mailers,” Patel says. “It’s available 24/7 and anyone can find the provider they need without waiting for something in the mail to prompt them.”
And although the online scheduling tool is a big piece of this consumer-friendly platform, Prisma Health knows that many of its patients still prefer to call to schedule appointments. With that in mind, they’ll also roll out Kyruus’ access center solution, which will integrate the provider directory data and scheduling systems to create a more seamless experience for both providers and customers.
“It’s all about delivering a better solution and routing consumers to the right provider,” says Jospe. “If you can connect the patient with the right doctor and book them right there, it’s a better patient experience and it’s a booked appointment for your health system.”
The Kyruus tools also provide robust analytics, which will give more in-depth insight into the provider network and the online search system.
Continuing the Partnership
As Prisma Health works to roll out the provider data management platform, it’s also looking at how to integrate it with the system’s larger communication strategy to provide a more seamless experience for patients and providers. One area they’re looking at now is texting capabilities, both consumer-facing and provider-to-provider messaging.
Kyruus will also continue to work alongside Prisma Health after the provider directory is live. Account management and customer success teams will look at the system’s analytics and find ways to optimize the platform for both patients and providers.
Patel has also joined Kyruus’ digital advisory council to offer ideas and feedback to improve the platform.
“Our team is always looking at the evolving needs of our customers to ensure we’re growing to meet those needs,” Jospe says. “We like to think that we exist in service to our customers.”
Although the new health system is in its early stages, Patel says the Kyruus project has helped the Prisma Health transition process and allowed the system to move faster toward unification.
“This work with Kyruus has helped speed up the process of merging and allowed us to better understand all the different systems we have in place,” Patel says. “It’s helping us take a more streamlined approach to unification.”
Melanie Graham is a writer, editor, and digital strategist specializing in nonprofit and healthcare communications. She has a background in journalism, with experience in digital content marketing and social media management.