The #1 Digital Health Term in 2023: Integration (Here’s Why)

January 10, 2023 |
January 10, 2023

If you’ve been a healthcare leader for some time, you’ve asked yourself—and your team—the “build vs. buy” question multiple times as you’ve encountered new point solutions. But in 2023, it may be time to finally rephrase the question. Instead of Build or Buy, let’s ask: Should I build, buy, or integrate?

The fact is, your hospital, health system, or group practice probably already has lots of point solutions. Several are probably best-in-class. Individually, they help patients complete key tasks—check lab results, schedule a visit, launch a telehealth encounter.

But layering each solution on top of one another doesn’t produce a cohesive patient journey. Instead, it creates the digital health version of a pileup on the freeway, with apps and information scattered everywhere. This creates detours and roadblocks for patients, which limits your ability to retain current patients and attract new ones.

It’s time to clear the digital health highway. That’s why integration is the #1 digital health term in 2023. Let’s see why it’s sorely needed and how it can help you form more meaningful connections among patients, physicians, and providers.


Why organizations should prioritize digital health integration in 2023

Clients I talk to tell me they’re beyond buying new point solutions. Instead, they want to leverage the existing investments they’ve made so they can activate patients, engage them, and encourage them to transact. The overarching goal is to create a holistic, mobile-first consumer journey, similar to what customers already experience in banking, hospitality, and retail.

That’s not happening right now in health care. Instead, here’s how it typically shakes out for consumers:

  • They access their medical records through their Epic, Cerner, Meditech, or another patient portal.
  • They read content about their health condition on your website’s blog
  • They complete a health risk assessment that they receive by email
  • And because they have no single point of entry, they use Google to find a provider or location, or get directions through Google Maps

That means they have to go five different places to do five different things, all of which interact directly with your health system. It can also mean multiple logins, with multiple usernames and passwords.

It’s fragmented at best, off-putting at worse. And the more solutions you roll out without integration, the worse it gets. The average top U.S. hospital has 3.8 patient-facing mobile apps. Consumers won’t download two different apps from banks, or multiple apps from their favorite fashion retailer. Why would they do it for your health system?


How integration creates a future-focused digital health ecosystem

Integration—the ability to link solutions and data across your healthcare organization—is the missing ingredient you need to create the type of unified, mobile-first experience your patients expect and deserve. By focusing on integration in 2023, hospitals, health systems, and physician groups can also get a head start on creating the healthcare ecosystem of the future.

In our view, these four tenants will be instrumental in creating a true, future-focused digital ecosystem.

1. Convenience

Convenience means putting patients first by making it easier for them to navigate your health system digitally and connect with your providers and physicians. Tactics may include implementing on-demand, asynchronous text and mobile messaging to meet consumer demand and personalizing patients’ healthcare journey at each touch point.

2. Automation

Consumers want a friction-free digital experience, and automation can make their interactions with you more efficient and effective. Consider leveraging AI and machine learning to facilitate routine conversations. Automated check-in processes, appointment reminders, and rescheduling capabilities are other smart investments.

3. Orchestration

This is where integration starts to take flight. Orchestration involves taking your best point solutions and releasing them from their individual silos. Where to begin? Start with the patient journey. Consider whether you can use app-less solutions like live chat, live agent, or an AI-powered virtual assistant to eliminate multiple logins and downloads for your patients and consumers. Or think about integrating multiple point solutions into an app-based mobile Digital Front Door capable of improving patient loyalty and driving customer lifetime value.

4. Progression

The digital health ecosystem of the future will help your organization increase its digital health agility and scale up its offerings. At the progression stage, you can begin mapping the appropriate pathway between digital self-service and patient-provider communications. You also might consider increasing the use of push notifications to help people with chronic conditions make healthier choices.


Where can I use integration to construct a cohesive patient journey?

Integration can help you create a more seamless, efficient and satisfying digital health journey across these four areas:

1. Service lines – Integration can help you use digital information, tools, and processes to strengthen and expand your service lines—cardiovascular, cancer, orthopedics, etc.

2. Front-office actions – Use integration to help patients transact in the moment. Automate appointment scheduling, appointment reminders, patient intake, and referral management.

3. Clinical applications – With integration, you can find new ways to identify social determinants of health and develop strategies to meet them, such as creating mobile-first language access services for people with limited English proficiency.

4. Back-office actions – Integrations within your EHR can help you accelerate the revenue cycle, automate the most common medical coding tasks, and reduce documentation time by 40%.


How to make digital health integration happen in 2023

If you’re suffering from point solution fatigue, then it’s time to take the first step toward integration. To help you get there, DeliverHealth has launched the DeliverHealth Solutions Integrator (DHSI™). It’s the first one of its kind in healthcare. It combines technology, people, and processes to help meet healthcare organizations where they are in their digital transformation.

DHSI is built on the best-in-class DeliverHealth Platform. It’s unique for two reasons:

It’s tech-agnostic. That means it’s capable of integrating nearly three dozen point solutions—EHR portals, content management, reputation management, wayfinding, valet and parking, and more—using APIs, software development kits (SDKs) and HL7 feeds. In many cases, APIs and SDKs are already a part of your existing point solutions; they just need to be connected and activated.

It bridges the mid-revenue cycle. The DeliverHealth Platform connects your front-office and back-office functions. It integrates into your EHR and CRM, giving you access to data you can use to drive revenue and improve care.

Our platform lives within a highly secure Microsoft Azure environment and leverages AI, machine learning, natural language processing, and identity management.

The DHSI approach is consultative. We follow a proven strategy by listening, planning, and executing toward success. Our team also includes adoption experts who can help improve engagement and usage of your top digital health solutions. We’ve found that having a documented adoption strategy creates an average 10% increase in overall patient adoption of digital health technologies within six months.


Where to start with digital health integration in 2023

You can start anywhere. Maybe you want to test an app-less approach by integrating an AI Virtual Assistant, LiveChat, or LiveAgent to improve customer service. Or maybe you’re ready to power up your mobile app game with a highly integrated and unified Digital Front Door. Once you get started with one integration and see the value you derive, it gets easier—and more rewarding—to do more.

Creating a future-focused digital health ecosystem through integration takes plenty of forethought and consideration. If you want to learn more about digital health integration in 2023, this presentation will walk you through you the ins and outs. And if you have any questions about how DHSI™ might work in your organization, let’s talk.