In the era of multi-million dollar EHR investments, hospital CIO’s face a challenging task of balancing reliance on a single IT system with seeking best in breed solutions to meet patient and staff needs. We sat down with Chad Brisendine, CIO of St Luke’s University Health Network, about the decision to implement Simplee’s patient financial care platform to augment the system’s core EHR system. St. Luke’s University Health Network is a non-profit, regional, fully integrated, nationally recognized network providing services at ten hospitals and more than 315 sites in Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey.
"Patients have loved the new experience as well. Our Net Promoter Score for the St. Luke’s patient financial experience is 38, over double the average of 18 for the healthcare industry and on par with major consumer brands. The comments from patients have been great!"
How long have you had Epic at your health system?
St. Luke’s has been on Epic since January 9, 2016 in our hospitals but have recently just implemented Epic Ambulatory in all of our outpatient sites in January 2018. Before our first implementation in 2016, we had 18 months of build, testing and validation of Epic with a dedicated team.
What unmet needs did you have in your patient financial experience that led you augment Epic with Simplee’s solution?
Our patients called out unmet needs in two important areas. First, patients wanted an experience that consolidated their bills across the different parts of the health system. They wanted visibility not just for Physician and Hospital bills, but for everything that St. Luke’s offers. They wanted to be able to buy and pay across many products and services. Second, patients asked for greater financial price transparency. They wanted a clearer way to understand before a visit what their estimated cost would be and have options for how to pay it. Simplee’s technology platform is allowing us to address these two areas with a very intuitive and helpful patient experience.
How difficult was the Simplee integration?
We were able to use a majority of the Epic foundation tools to support the integration between Simplee and Epic. The file transfer process between the hospital and Simplee is all automated. Simplee also returns payment files, payment plan information and statement images which are then imported into Epic. Overall, I would say the integration was pretty straightforward due to having the ability to use the Epic foundation tools or reporting workbench reports.
How have you measured the success of the Simplee platform?
Since implementing Simplee, we have seen over a 40% increase in patient self-service payments. Patients are using the experience across devices as well, with over 30% of our payments coming via mobile devices. The shift to self-service is great for our patients and great for lowering our cost to collect because we are not relying as heavily on staff or early out vendors.
Patients have loved the new experience as well. Our Net Promoter Score for the St. Luke’s patient financial experience is 38, over double the average of 18 for the healthcare industry and on par with major consumer brands. The comments from patients have been great!
“Easy, convenient, patient-centered. Thank you for offering installment plans, they help a lot!” – St Luke’s patient
“In the past I had issues trying to pay online. This is the first time I have since you changed and it was so much better.” – St Luke’s patient
What advice would you have for CIO’s with the Epic system looking to optimize their patient experience?
My advice to fellow CIO’s is to identity the true areas of need when it comes to your patient’s experiences. Have meaningful conversations with your Finance and business office leaders and aligning their goals with IT’s goals will give you and your organization the best implementation outcome.