Geisinger’s 25,000+ employees serve more than 3 million people across 10 hospital campuses and 133 primary and specialty clinic sites throughout Pennsylvania. Geisinger is a health system, and a payer with 600,000 health plan members. Geisinger also manages the KeyHIE regional health information exchange.
Today, Geisinger has a single digital front door.
No matter who comes through that door, it is Kim Chaundy’s mission to know that person. Their name. Their current address. Whether they need to fill a prescription or schedule a checkup. If they need transportation to their next appointment. Or if the person is a doctor — how do they prefer to receive communications?
As Chaundy, Geisinger’s Associate Vice President of Applications and Interoperability, said during a recent webinar, “As a person enters the digital environment at Geisinger, we need to support that person’s initiative. If I’m coming in as a provider, I want to have the best experience, getting the patient’s data as quickly and efficiently as I can. If I’m coming in as an insured person, I want to get my eligibility.
It’s a gargantuan task, and one that many health systems are trying to figure out. After all, in an increasingly competitive market, studies show that 28% of consumers have actually switched providers because of a poor digital health experience.
Geisinger is up to the task.
During that recent recent HDMKLASroom webinar, Chaundy shared how the One Geisinger initiative — their name for that digital front door — is coming to life. In the process, Geisinger is saving time, money, and resources while consolidating systems and building patient trust.
Going beyond silos to create a person-centric perspective
Before launching One Geisinger, the team knew they would have to think beyond the traditional data silos where identification occurred in several different places.
Chaundy explained that the Geisinger team realized that people don’t think in terms of patient, subscriber, or other silos. Rather, they think in terms of people. Plus, maintaining data in multiple places was expensive, requiring more remediation while increasing the risks of inaccuracies.
Chaundy said, “We really took that holistic approach and said, ‘Let’s think outside the box and put the person at the center. Let’s use one source as our record and let that penetrate through the system as our mechanism to identify our person for analytics, for our PACS system, for HIE, for everything.”
The team planned to use Salesforce as its customer relationship management (CRM) platform. For One Geisinger to succeed, Salesforce needed to seamlessly combine clinical data with billing, payer, and other details. Data needed to be actionable no matter where it came from. Above all, the data needed to be always accessible, connected, complete, and reliable.
Chaundy noted, “It really resonated with us when we introduced Salesforce into our digital front door, the importance of making sure we’re cleansing our data and keeping that data accurate and available everywhere. Ultimately the end goal is that one solution that can be the source of truth utilized throughout the organization.”
Having ‘really hard conversations’ around smart data governance
Geisinger wanted to move into full identity reconciliation, so the team extended their current investment in Rhapsody integration solutions, incorporating the Rhapsody EMPI to go beyond data exchange. Doing so creates a solid data foundation that ensures that the data being exchanged is actionable by whoever needs to use the data.
Rhapsody gives Geisinger the interoperability to ensure that any data associated with a person is available and trusted by the patient, the consumer, the payer, and the care team — while also being usable downstream for CRM, AI, machine learning, analytics, and other initiatives.
“It’s not just clinical data. It’s our campaigns, our social determinants, our physicians out in the community, our state reporting requirements,” Chaundy said. “Keeping the person at the center of all our activity and making sure we’re offering them the best experience, that comes down to making sure we’re properly identifying the person.”
But the Geisinger team took the opportunity to go one step further. While Geisinger’s VP of Data sets and communicates the overall vision of how data should flow throughout the organization, setting and reaching the bigger goals took working together across silos and building executive buy-in. Through these conversations, Geisinger created and strengthened policies and procedures for smart data governance throughout the system. This process also helped disparate teams identify overlapping challenges so they could develop solutions together. Getting there took work — important work.
“There were some really hard conversations,” Chaundy said. “Don’t be afraid to have those candid conversations to get to the details. Be open-minded and allow yourself to be a little vulnerable. Express your concerns so that others can hear them. It’s not easy, but it’s very important to our patients’ experience and very important to what we want our patients to feel when they come to Geisinger — to feel like the most important person, to feel the quality.”
Several of those conversations centered on Geisinger’s staffing challenges. Chaundy explained, “We need to give our staff the tools so they can be effective and efficient, and only touch the account when it’s really complex. We need to let technology work for us, and Rhapsody EMPI has given us that solution.”
Saving time and money while gaining efficiency
Prior to implementing Referential Resolution as part of the Rhapsody EMPI solution, Geisinger staff were manually cleansing the small percentage of potential duplicate records that the EMPI was unable to address automatically. The initial pilot using Referential Resolution, which leverages third-party data to assist with the patient matching process, indicated that the Geisinger team will reduce costs by more than 90% to manually cleanse this data — while freeing up the time of five FTEs to work on more important matters.
“The Rhapsody EMPI referential solution allows us to do automatic matching, and it does a phenomenal job,” Chaundy said.
As the system is fully rolled out, those cost and time savings are expected to expand many times over.
And that’s just one part of the bigger picture. As Chaundy explained, “Efficiency is gained when you have one source compared to multiple sources that you need to manage and keep clean and cleanse daily. Plugging in all the other attributes and upstream or downstream systems, we’ll be able to capitalize even more of the cost savings by centralizing everything through one system. We’re all asked to cut costs and be more efficient, and we’re going from five or six different applications down to one.”
Rhapsody as the foundation for digital front door
Rhapsody also provides a solid data foundation for broader regional initiatives. As an integral part of the Keystone HIE, which serves 5.8 million patients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Geisinger must ensure that clinicians throughout the HIE can access and trust Geisinger data to make clinical decisions.
“It goes back to protecting the patient,” Chaundy said. After all, if the clinician is confident that they are viewing test data for the right patient, they can avoid a repeat test. That may protect the patient from additional radiation while allowing for a quicker, more efficient diagnosis — and reducing the costs of healthcare.
Next, Geisinger plans to further build on its data foundation to foster more patient trust.
Chaundy explained, “We’re adding capabilities to reach out to our patients in a trusted environment and say, ‘Look, we have two addresses on file. Can you help us understand which one’s accurate?’ And we can feed that into our algorithm to assure we are keeping the information clean.”
And as future initiatives emerge, the entire Geisinger team can feel confident that the underlying data is accessible, connected, complete, and reliable.
Watch the recent HDMKLASroom on-demand webinar to hear Kim Chaundy explain how Rhapsody is helping power the One Geisinger digital front-door initiative.