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By: Jamie Friscino on March 12th, 2020

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How to Expand Your Digital Presence, According to Two Leading Healthcare CIOs

Digital | Patient Experience | Patient Access


With patients acting more like consumers of healthcare and spending more time accessing information online, health systems are investing in their online presence to create experiences that attract consumers and connect them to the care they need. However, as they look to do so, many organizations are finding that executing a comprehensive, consumer-friendly, digital front door strategy is easier said than done. Successfully launching these projects requires cross-functional participation, technological evolution, and oftentimes, a significant cultural shift to become truly customer-centric.

In a recent webinar, Kyruus spoke with Cheryl Hertel, CIO at CoxHealth and Tamara Havenhill-Jacobs, CIO at Bozeman Health about this topic. During the session, we explored how these two health systems collaborated across IT and marketing, leveraging technology to meet consumer for easier access to care online. The takeaways for IT leaders and Marketers are summarized below.

For CIOs and IT Leadership:

  1. Look beyond the EHR and take a best-of-breed mentality. The EHR is valuable and represents a major investment, but isn’t designed to solve every problem–especially when it comes to being consumer focused. When a functional gap or need is identified, it’s important to look to other technologies or solutions to meet consumers where they are.
  2. Connect all of the consumer access points to create a consistent experience. Consumers have come to expect convenience, and it’s important to create multiple channels to access care to meet this demand. However, when investing in additional technologies to allow consumers to interact with your organization in a variety of ways, make sure to connect those channels so you enhance experience not detract from it.
  3. Work cross-functionally. Collaboration between information technology and marketing is key. Leverage each teams unique skills to meet your project goals. For example, marketing can bring consumers insights and recommend technology to improve experience, while IT can offer their technical expertise and know-how to make it happen. 


For Marketers: 

  1. Develop a holistic consumer journey strategy. Often, IT resources are aligned with the health system's broader three to five year strategic plan. Work with your leadership team to prioritize digital access initiatives, segmenting for those that can be accomplished today and those that will be accomplished in the future. 
  2. Be the voice of the consumer within your organization. Bring insights and share results. When investing in new technology, it’s important for stakeholders to understand what the consumer impact will be and how that impact will benefit the health system. Leverage both qualitative and quantitative metrics - for example, data may show that the new provider search and scheduling solution implemented in your access center is not only increasing the number of booked appointment, but also patients and providers are having a better experience.
  3. Be a marketer. Once the experiences are built, educate consumers about their options to generate awareness and create demand. Consumers might not know that new access options exist or which solutions are best for them, so use your market expertise and be proactive about conveying the value of these flexible solutions. This will help consumers find and utilize the access point(s) that make sense for them.


As markets become more competitive, expanding your digital presence will become more important, not only to expand patient access, but also to stand out online. The tips above will help health systems create a robust digital front door strategy and execute it effectively. For additional resources on improving patient access and meeting consumer demands, visit our Resource Center.