Case Study: Gundersen Health SystemSelf-Care Planners Improve Patient Satisfaction and Access
Gundersen Health System needed a way to educate and care for patients, while simultaneously improving access to providers for the consumers who needed care. Because many patients with joint pain, spine pain, even urinary incontinence can often improve symptoms without medical or surgical intervention, the quest was on to find a way to keep unnecessary appointments to a minimum, so patients with the greatest need could be seen in a timely manner. Providers understand that patients don’t like to wait for months or spend money to be seen when they are uncertain about whether their symptoms even warrant an appointment. A form of a pre-appointment screening solution became the logical solution.
As Gundersen’s Health Risk Assessments became more and more successful, and they saw consumers becoming more digitally savvy, they seized on an opportunity to partner with Medicom Health to create Self-Care Planners (SCPs).
By design, Self-Care Planners:
- Are self-directed programs designed by board-certified physician specialists and physical therapists using evidence-based treatment guidelines.
- Create ongoing engagement through a 6-week program, that can be extended if the consumer would like to continue receiving the education provided.
- Allow patients to track and record progress on smartphone, tablet, or desktop.
- Identify who should be seen by a physician or specialist.
- Will require patients with certain conditions to see a provider before starting the Self-Care Planner. And, if symptoms change, and users should see a provider, the tool will notify them to do so.
- Are used as part of care continuum from self-care to care by the health system, as needed.
The SCPs allow for the system to build a lasting relationship, create more opportunities for interaction, improve access to education, and care for personal health concerns all through an engaging digital platform. In short, the SCPs provide a cost-free option for patients to try before scheduling an office visit..
Further, the SCPs provide data back to the health system about patient wants, needs and behaviors.
The data is also fed to the client’s CRM for more effective future segmentation, outreach, messaging, and of course, ROI tracking.
Promotion of SCP was targeted to consumers via email and e-newsletter campaigns, sponsored Facebook ads, SEM, banner ads, landing pages, print ads, even mall displays.
Overall, Gundersen Health System wholeheartedly believes digital tools can make a more meaningful impact on the lives of consumers.
Typical Self-Care Planner User
Meet Mike, a 52-year-old long haul truck driver.
Mike has severe pain in his right knee from a football injury 30 years ago. He can barely walk after getting out of his truck.
His high-deductible health plan makes it difficult to afford out-of-pocket healthcare expenses and being on the road 5 days a week means doctor’s appointments are difficult. Further, Mike doesn’t have a primary care provider.
How Self-Care Planners Works
STEP 1 – Using his cell phone
Mike registered and completed setup by assessing current symptoms and impact on daily activities. He learned his joint symptoms were severe.
STEP 2 – Mike gets his symptom assessment and daily care plan
Mike’s Self-Care Plan
- Lose weight and track weight weekly
- Record joint symptoms weekly
- Do Level 1 cardio, mobility and flexibility exercises daily
STEP 3 – Daily Activities
Mike performed the exercises as described in the SCP video. After he finishes, he documents his completion and can see sample videos on the next page.
STEP 4 – Weekly Activities
Every week, Mike is alerted to assess his symptoms and record his weight. A checkmark shows the activity was recorded. A “happy face” appeared when a goal was met like losing weight or improving symptoms.
STEP 5 – Change Exercise Level
At the end of the second week, Mike earned an alert to consider changing to the Level 2 exercise plan.
STEP 6 – Six-Week Assessment
Mike’s knee pain was better after 6-weeks of self-care, but he still limped when he walked. He could have continued using the SCP, but he decided to make an appointment with a doctor by clicking the Find a Doctor link in the tool.
These tools and resulting data can provide broad benefits for patients, physicians, and health systems without much investment. Not to mention, SCP are easy-to-deploy, but create powerful connections to your facility and address modern healthcare challenges.
Chief Business Development and Marketing Officer
Gundersen Health System
Gundersen Health System is a physician-led, not-for profit healthcare system located throughout western Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota caring for patients in 19 counties. Included is a regional referral center with regional hospitals, a 325-bed teaching hospital, the designated Western Academic Campus for the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, and a Level II Trauma and Emergency Center. Gundersen is repeatedly named among the Top 50 hospitals in the nation, placing it in the top one percent.