NEW YORK – Northwell Health has launched an automated chat service to help patients stay connected to their care providers as they recover from surgery or treatment.
The health system, which includes 22 hospitals and more than 550 outpatient facilities, uses Northwell Health Chats powered by Conversa Health for patient outreach and to coordinate care management, said Sabina Zak, vice president of community health at Northwell Health.
“The Conversa platform allows us to provide anytime access and shift the paradigm to outside the hospital walls,” she said. “It helps empower our patients to make informed decisions.”
Northwell Health has been using the chat service over the past year with about 1,000 oncology patients and has seen 97% patient satisfaction and a reduction in post-acute care expenses across several of its hospitals, Zak said. It plans to expand the personalized automated conversations to its patient populations in radiation, colonoscopy, emergency medicine for post-discharge, general surgery for pre- and post-surgery, dermatology and more over the coming months.
To use the chat service, patients receive a notification through an email or text message from their care navigator. The chat, which is based on their unique health conditions and concerns, begins when they click on the link. All of their responses are sent back to their navigator, who is able to monitor whether the patient needs a phone call or office visit.
Most patients get a chat notification every one to four days.
“We find that the patient level of understanding of their condition and treatment is much better,” said Zak. “It helps address patient fears and concerns they may not bring up in an office visit and it improves clinical outcomes.”
The conversational platform is helping to improve patient communication, which is lagging in health care, said Dr. Phil Marshall, co-founder of Conversa Health.
“That chat ability has become the norm in other areas of our lives,” he said. “This technology allows you to take limited resources and go from treating a couple of hundred patients to thousands, and it can preserve resources like home visits, office visits and more.”