Saint Luke's Health System, a 10-hospital system serving patients in and around Kansas City, Missouri, has teamed up with VenueNext to build a new, comprehensive mobile app for patients and visitors.
"We currently have multiple mobile applications that we offer to our patients," Saint Luke's CIO Debe Gash told MobiHealthNews. "We have the Epic MyChart app for those that are seeing our physicians or having services performed — they get their test results, they can pay their bill online, they can schedule an appointment, etc. We also have a mobile application for telehealth visits [through MDLive] which is separate from the Epic/MyChart application. And we just started an online appointment-scheduling solution with ZocDoc, which also has its own mobile application."
But offering all those different services was taxing to patients, and Saint Luke's didn't have an in-house development team to build any kind of integration.
"What we’ve been seeing is as we’ve been trying to go mobile and offer these more smartphone-enabled solutions to the consumers is we’re proliferating a multitude of applications and they have to think ‘Oh if I want to do this I go to this application, if I want to do this service I go to this one'," Gash continued. "The really great thing about VenueNext is we can provide that single mobile presence and launch all of our other services through that one user interface. So when you think of Saint Luke’s, you download the mobile application branded for Saint Luke’s, and through that solution you can launch all these other capabilities."
VenueNext has worked with some big names in the entertainment industry, including a number of concerts and sporting events including Super Bowl 50 and the Kentucky Derby. But Saint Luke's marks the company's first foray into healthcare.
“VenueNext’s technology platform has been quickly adopted by the sports and entertainment industries and we believe our value proposition extends to the healthcare industry and beyond,” John Paul, CEO and founder of VenueNext, said in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with Saint Luke’s to deliver an integrated and easy to use mobile app experience for the more than three hundred thousand individuals who visit their locations each year.”
As well as integrating Saint Luke's existing patient portal, telehealth, and appointment scheduling systems, the new app will add informational and educational content from the health system's website. But where VenueNext's nonhealthcare experience shines is in additive services like wayfinding, proximity notifications, and food and beverage ordering. For the first two, VenueNext works with Aruba to provide step-by-step navigation and also let patients and visitors know about events or opportunities when they enter certain areas.
Gash says the biggest challenge with the app was integrating VenueNext and Epic's offerings, but that both companies were game to make it work.
"We certainly had to work through the relationship with those two vendors, but I’m pleased that Epic was able to do what we wanted to do," she said. "It’s always a concern when you’re trying to get vendors to work together, but we’re very pleased with the willingness to cooperate and help us to make this happen. That was the key. We’re working on building the integration right now, and I think once that’s done we’ll be launching this with our patient population."
Saint Luke's hopes that by making the available services easier to navigate they will increase adoption of those services and ultimately save on costs. Additionally, the improved patient experience should help them attract and retain patients.
"In my experience, adoption of technology really succeeds when you can bring value to the end-user," Gash said. "And I think the more value we can bring to the consumer the more adoption we’ll have. My expectation is that with this more consolidated cohesive presence, we will see more people using the other features, like MyChart, ZocDoc, and even the teleheatlth services."