A Digital Roadmap to Improved Patient Access – An Interview with Richard McNeight

We recently interviewed Richard McNeight, Executive Vice President & Chief Digital Officer at Health First, to learn about there efforts to implement new patient access and provider data management solutiuons from Kyruus.
In this interview, Richard McNeight offers some great insights into patients’ expectations and ways his organization is trying to meet these expectations.

What led you to the decision to invest in more patient access technologies?

“Dramatically improved consumerism” is one of our key Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) digital strategic goals. The first and most important consumer priority is to “Find a Provider.” Not just any provider, but the right provider that can best treat the exact condition, has significant experience treating it with high-quality outcomes and has performance ratings for success.

What kind of buy-in did you need to go in this direction?

As Chief Digital Officer, my first responsibility was to develop an IDN digital strategic plan, which identified provider search as the most demanded customer request. The digital strategy was first approved by our Strategic Planning Council. Once adopted by our Executive Team, the initial collaboration was with our Marketing Department, which confirmed the most important consumer initiative was to “Find a Doctor.” A requirements specification was then developed for a provider portal, with input from all major IDN stakeholders, and a request for approval (RFP) process solicited bids for the provider portal solution, ultimately resulting in the selection of Kyruus.

What benefits do you expect to achieve from the implementation of ProviderMatch?

The key benefit we will achieve using the Kyruus ProviderMatch tool is meeting our customer’s goal to find the “right provider.” This is achieved by allowing the patient to complete a robust search by entering their “clinical condition” in simple, easy-to-understand textual language. ProviderMatch leverages a taxonomy of more than 18,000 clinical terms, which helps match the patient’s condition to a provider who specializes in treating that condition. This is in addition to the normal search criteria and qualifiers such as geolocation, insurance network, provider gender and more.

Which challenges do you still face when it comes to patient access?

The biggest challenge we see in implementing Kyruus is appropriately defining the “Scope of Practice” for each provider, narrowing it to only the top conditions that provider specializes in treating. Related to that is the discussion we will be having with our providers as to acceptable and accurate provider quality rating, frequency of procedures performed and outcome results that will be displayed in the search results profile for the provider.

How have your providers reacted to the idea of allowing online appointment booking to patients?  What did you do to get them on board?

Over the last year, we have methodically been preparing for online scheduling by standardizing and minimizing the number of appointment templates for our employed providers, initially for primary care providers, and by the end of this year, for most specialists.

Where are you looking next when it comes to improving the patient’s experience?

As defined in our IDN digital strategy for consumerism, after “Find a Doctor,” the next three online features our customers want most are:

  • Make an Appointment – Online scheduling, providers (Kyruus DirectBook), diagnostic procedures, urgent care and more than 20 additional online scheduling activities
  • Price Transparency – Cost estimation, ease of payment and bill simplification
  • View my Medical Record – Easy, single mobile-enabled access to their unified health record

Once our customer finds the “right provider,” they will have the option to either immediately schedule an appointment online using ProviderMatch DirectBook or be shown a phone number to call to schedule the appointment. Our digital roadmap addresses technology solutions and implementation timelines for all of the other consumer experience features listed above.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.