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If the current healthcare landscape could be summed up in a question, it might be: do we have enough support staff right now? 

As labor costs and staffing challenges increase across every functional area of care delivery, Luma is committed to delivering holistic success for patients and the healthcare system at large, so that your organization can focus on what it does best: providing high-quality care.

Because over 8 million active users interact with Luma on a daily basis, our goal as a platform is to continually adapt, rising to any challenge our customers face. At the end of the day, we strive for holistic success for not only patients, but the healthcare system at large. Staff engagement, efficiency, and satisfaction are key components of that success. 

With this in mind, we are excited to announce that commencing on October 31st and continuing through the year’s end, we’ll be implementing automatic updates to introduce our customers to the new UI and features. Designed with staff efficiency in mind, these new products energize pre-existing workflows for the Luma power user.

Updated User Experience 

Enjoy a quicker, consistent, and more intuitive way to access our platform. The latest update brings staff a modern User Interface, a simplified navigation designed around key focus areas, and a customizable home page that significantly improves support for patient success. All of the following new products and user functionalities are available only in this new UI, completing the enhanced experience.

Scheduler Assist [early access] 

Easier scheduling workflows, now at your fingertips. Scheduler Assist is designed to make staff members’ jobs easier when actively working with patients. Smart workflows streamline the appointment management process, ultimately reducing call wait times, improving patient and staff satisfaction, and providing a direct financial impact on your organization. 

Interested in learning more? Sign up for our Early Access program

Insights Center 

Make the most of staff time and create more successful patient journeys with actionable data. With patient behavior insights, visibility into the “true time” providers spend with patients, and more, it’s easy for any role – no matter how reporting-savvy – to understand your organization’s opportunities to better utilize providers or facilitate improved patient outcomes. 

Workflow Builder and Workflow Gallery

Turnkey solutions to solve customer problems right off the shelf. Users can choose from a library of pre-built workflows from the Gallery to customize or create new workflows in Luma with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface. 

Message Template Translations 

Translate templates to any supported languages with just one click. With the launch of our new UI, we’ve added the ability to automatically translate messaging templates in Mission Control. Now you can leverage AI to translate any of your messaging templates into one or more of our 33 supported languages with just the click of a button. 

As we close 2023 and look to the healthcare landscape of 2024 and beyond, we want your team to feel more supported, excited, and energized than ever before. We’re here to help guide that journey. 

Originally published July 19, 2023 by HealthIT Answers.

Have you searched for something on a company’s website, then given up and called to speak to a customer service representative when you couldn’t find the answers you were looking for? This experience is all too common – especially in healthcare. Since 2020, digital front doors (DFDs) have become increasingly popular. And with the healthcare staff shortage projected to continue, and even worsen, until 2025, digital entry points into healthcare for patients are more important than ever.

But for too many patients, these “front doors” are broken and far too difficult to navigate – leaving them either without care or forced to navigate their own entrance into the health system. Technology can be a powerful way to improve healthcare equity and patient access, but a dysfunctional digital front door can create more hurdles for patients. Health systems and clinics must evaluate the true effectiveness of their digital strategy to care for as many patients as possible, more equitably, with fewer staff.

The Great Patient Disconnect

I’ve spoken to many health systems who struggle with having provided patients with digital options to connect, but coming up short when these channels and digital front doors don’t seem to be making a difference. This is the “Great Patient Disconnect,” where both patients and providers are engaged in the healthcare journey and have digital tools available, but still struggle to connect.

For many organizations, the primary digital front door available to the organization remains the patient portal. According to the United States Government Accountability Office, however, while 90% of organizations reported that despite offering a patient portal, only about a third of patients use them. It’s clear that this “front door” is insufficient for patients who expect and need more accessible digital touch points across the healthcare journey.

Barriers to patient adoption or effective use can include:

These barriers contribute to this “front door” being accessible to only a subset of patients. For healthcare organizations who provide care to diverse patient populations, not only do these disparities make healthcare access less equitable, but they increase the number of patients who need to request care via phone calls with already overburdened staff.

Despite the relatively low adoption of patient portals, patients of varied backgrounds are motivated to use technology to engage with their care. Data from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation’s National Poll on Healthy Aging highlights that 75% of surveyed adults aged 50-80 reported having a patient portal, and 85% of those patients reported using it in the last six months.

Meanwhile, patients indicate that the technology offerings available, like patient portals and digital front doors, are not always meeting their needs. A recent meta-analysis shows, for example, that although patients want self-scheduling and self-scheduling has significant benefits, healthcare organizations’ adoption of it remains low – with one of the primary barriers to adoption being the perception that patients would be hesitant to self-schedule.

Modern consumers have access to great digital experiences nearly everywhere they turn. These broken, underused digital front doors are no longer a viable option to serve patients – who need and expect to easily connect with their care in the channel of their choice.

We need to deliver an omnichannel digital continuum

The Great Patient Disconnect shows that a digital front door is no longer the right framework to meet patients where they are. A front door alone isn’t enough – patients need an omnichannel digital continuum that orchestrates all the points of their journey, not just bits and pieces of it.

According to Stacy Porter, VP of Digital at University Hospitals, “We need to move away from ‘random acts of digital’ to truly empower our patients to be successful.” At University Hospitals, every aspect of the patient journey, from digital to in-person, has been designed to avoid gaps, frustrations, and barriers and instead provide an orchestrated experience.

If you’re concerned that your digital strategy could fall prey to “random acts of digital” and contribute to the Great Patient Disconnect, how can you solve potential issues in the continuum to meet patients – your customers – where they are? Look for points of disconnection like:

If you’re seeing more than one of these pain points, it’s time to reevaluate your digital front door and move to an omnichannel digital continuum.

Attributes of an effective, equitable omnichannel digital continuum

An omnichannel digital continuum considers each interaction a patient has with your organization and creates an orchestrated journey across those interactions.

According to Jeff Johnson, VP Innovation and Digital Business at Banner Health, “We can’t just be a healthcare company that does some digital interactions. We must be a digital company.” Banner Health designs every consumer interaction with ‘Patient Sofia,’ their patient archetype, in mind – from finding care to the experience in the hospital and beyond.

What does a digital strategy look like when corrected from “random acts of digital” to an omnichannel digital continuum? Key attributes include:

One key factor in an effective omnichannel digital continuum is making it truly omnichannel – accounting for the communication preferences of a wide variety of patients. Most patients love the option for text or web interactions, but some don’t. Plan ahead for these preferences and ensure that patients have the flexibility to successfully get to the next step in their journeys, whether they use all or only some of your digital tools. For example, offer an automated option for a callback or a switch to SMS to patients who might have called despite preferring SMS or web. Doing so can free up your staff to address calls from patients who prefer them.

Finally, digital front doors can be improved by proactively asking for, then acting on, patient feedback regarding the digital options they want and need. The Great Patient Disconnect is exacerbated when patients can’t reach you, then quietly resort to another method or even go elsewhere for their care. By recognizing that simply having a digital front door doesn’t necessarily solve patient access challenges, and a more comprehensive digital continuum is a must, you’re already on your way to creating a better experience for both patients and staff.

Originally published July 13, 2023 on Physicians Practice.

Staffing shortages. For the last few years, this dreaded phrase has become an all-too-familiar reality. The health care staff shortage is projected to continue, and even worsen, until 2025. Meanwhile, a recent Guidehouse Center for Health Insights report states that 95% of health system executives are expecting outpatient volumes to increase this year.

To weather these contrasting trends, establishing omnichannel digital entry points for patients is more crucial than ever to save your team time, resources and energy — as well as to create a coordinated continuum across the patient journey.

But difficult-to-navigate digital tools and the lack of capabilities that patients really need can create a conundrum where both patients and providers want to connect but struggle to do so despite existing patient engagement tools.

The Great Patient Disconnect

It’s more important than ever for practices to be able to effectively leverage their digital patient engagement and communication tools to lessen the burden on staff. Many are still recovering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic on top of current budget constraints and expiring pandemic-era funding, and are struggling to staff enough people to reach patients by phone.

Meanwhile, with limited staff, practices are following up on care missed during the pandemic, competing in a crowded health care market, caring for large numbers of attributed patients and more.

I’ve spoken to representatives of many health systems who are dissatisfied with their digital strategy. They’ve invested in platforms or solutions to make engagement easier for patients but still deal with high call rates, no-shows and low portal adoption. This is the “great patient disconnect,” where both patients and providers are engaged in the health care journey and have digital tools available, but still struggle to connect.

Despite 71% of providers reporting that patient engagement is a high priority at their practice, data from CDW Healthcare notes that just 29% of patients said they would give their providers an A in patient engagement. And while 90% of organizations offer a patient portal, overall the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that only about a third of patients use them.

This disconnect can impact both patients’ care journeys and the effectiveness of the practice. For example, if pre-visit instructions or other important information are primarily accessible in the patient portal, patients without the portal may not be prepared for their appointments or recognize that it’s time for a follow-up visit. Meanwhile, if patients struggle to access the digital tools you provide, more pressure is placed on overburdened staff to reach them via outbound phone calls.

Addressing the disconnect and improving patient-provider communication

The good news is that patients want to engage with their providers using digital tools. The ubiquity of consumer-focused apps for delivery, transportation, shopping and much more shows that consumers will consistently use a simple and intuitive digital experience. In health care, many of the hurdles that create a patient-provider disconnect are caused not by a lack of engaged patients, but by patients not having access to the tools they need.

Recent KLAS Research data, for example, show that patients often want different tools to connect with their providers, such as self-scheduling and online bill pay, from what their providers are currently offering. Even if a patient accesses your website or patient portal, if they can’t get to an actionable next step, they are likely to call in instead, contributing to the burden on staff. But these patients should not be considered disengaged from their care; in fact, they are very much engaged.

Medical Group Management Association data show that about half of surveyed providers reported an increase in no-show rates between 2021 and 2022, attributed in part to long wait times for an appointment and the cost of appointments. But the 12% of providers who reported their no-show rates were going down cited digital reminders and digital check-in options as some of the reasons for the decline. These responses indicate that accessible digital options can help patients get to your organization and get the care they need.

I believe three factors are key to helping patients better connect with you using digital tools:

Considering these factors can help you identify inefficiencies or pain points that might be quietly contributing to the great patient disconnect and increasing the burden on your staff to bridge that gap manually.

Examples of effective digital strategies that bridge the disconnect

With a focus on solving potential points of disconnection, it’s possible to create patient journeys that are smoother and more streamlined and help you and your patients get more out of digital tools, creating a digital continuum of care.

In a challenging health care environment, it’s critical that we go beyond simply staffing more people to call centers or lamenting low engagement rates or high no-shows. Digital solutions can mitigate these challenges, address barriers to care and streamline staff capacity. To do so effectively, they must be driven by a patient-centered approach that identifies digital dead ends and points of disconnection and creates a unified digital continuum so patients and providers can get to the moment of care more quickly and easily.

We’re thrilled to announce that Luma is now fully integrated into one of the healthcare industry’s top electronic health record providers to deliver powerful new capabilities to the thousands of healthcare providers that use the MEDITECH Expanse EHR. This integration will provide new and powerful features for the thousands of healthcare providers that use the Expanse platform.

As an initial member of the MEDITECH Alliance program, and currently the only patient-facing solution included in the program, Luma collaborated with MEDITECH to validate integration of its Patient Success Platform™ and MEDITECH-enabled workflows for integration with MEDITECH Expanse, including patient scheduling, conversational messages, operational and clinical forms, staff scheduling, and more.

Today’s announcement exemplifies how both healthcare providers and patients benefit when a major health system’s EHR provider opens API technologies. This is especially true when the health system goes the extra mile by providing a mechanism for third-party developers, such as Luma, to validate and perfect their own innovative solutions within a real MEDITECH EHR installation.

Five years in the making

Back in 2018, MEDITECH launched MEDITECH Greenfield, an application development environment to fuel the building and adoption of third-party applications. We paid particular attention to this announcement because it emphasized interoperability and offered support for useful technical connections like RESTful APIs, including FHIR. Better still, the program is backed by the MEDITECH technical teams to help developers (and, by extension, MEDITECH customers) maximize the value of the Expanse EHR.

When MEDITECH invited Luma to join the initial roster of third-party developers for the MEDITECH Alliance program, we jumped at the opportunity. MEDITECH Alliance provides greater transparency for organizations interacting with MEDITECH, and simplifies the discovery and purchasing process for customers who want to broaden the capabilities of their current systems. Over several months, we collaborated closely with MEDITECH’s technical and commercial teams to tightly integrate Luma with Expanse, ensuring a friction-free experience for our mutual customers. 

Beta testing in a live customer environment

After thoroughly validating Luma’s functionality within Expanse, MEDITECH invited a healthcare provider, Phelps Memorial Health Center of Holdrege, Nebraska, to pilot Luma within the MEDITECH Greenfield Workspace program. Phelps Memorial Health Center partnered with MEDITECH and Luma Health to leverage MEDITECH’s implementation of the Argonaut FHIR scheduling APIs, creating powerful workflows for staff to more successfully connect with patients. 

This FHIR API-based approach to integration is benefitting patients by allowing them to intuitively schedule and manage their own appointments using apps developed within MEDITECH’s Greenfield Workspace environment. The result of this collaboration and integration is a “single pane of glass” into the patient experience and Luma-enabled touchpoints—all fully integrated into the MEDITECH Expanse experience.

“We are an organization committed to providing a quality patient experience. Collaborating with MEDITECH and Luma Health has empowered us to be adaptable in serving our community’s needs,” said Kurt Schmidt, Phelps Memorial’s director of electronic health records. “Using APIs has resulted in more efficient workflows and a better digital experience for patients who want immediate access to their care.”

Benefits for providers and patients alike

Phelps Memorial has experienced efficiency gains and improved patient experience by working directly with MEDITECH and Luma Health.  For example, 81% of patients now complete digital intake instead of in-office paper forms. 

Phelps Memorial is just one of the many healthcare systems now taking advantage of this deep integration, which uses MEDITECH Expanse APIs to connect appointment, demographic, and schedule data directly with Luma. Then, Luma sends rules-based text, email, and voice reminders to patients based on Luma Bedrock™ data-driven best practices.

When an appointment is confirmed through a Luma communication, the information is instantly sent back into MEDITECH, changing the appointment status to confirmed or canceled. This gives MEDITECH customers an up-to-the-second view of their day. Patients can also schedule their own appointments through Luma, and these appointments are immediately synced to MEDITECH’s scheduling module via MEDITECH Expanse APIs.

[RESOURCE] How Luma integrates with MEDITECH

Want to learn more? Book a quick call with a Luma + MEDITECH expert.

Today, we announced Luma Bedrock™. Here, we share more about the background of Bedrock and why it’s already making a difference for our customers. 

When we talk to our customers – big, small, rural, urban, and everything in between – no matter how different their business or patient population, they have one particular goal in common.

“We want to meet patients where they are.” 

We asked ourselves, “Beyond creating the best possible product and focusing on customer support, what can we do to support these organizations to serve their patients and meet them where they are?” With 8 years’ experience serving more than 650 healthcare organizations, we had a hunch that data could be used to better understand what patients want from their digital healthcare journey, how they most like to be engaged, and what makes them more successful in their care

And when healthcare organizations across the country are short-staffed and doing more than ever before with limited resources, we believed that sharing this data could make a real difference in how our customers reach their patients.

The Luma Bedrock project began with the scientific method. Our data scientists started by analyzing more than 717,000,000 data points over nearly 81,000,000 patient interactions. They created hypotheses for the best use of every single Luma product, working deep in Python notebooks and machine learning models to understand all the various nuances that could affect how patients connect with their care.

With hypotheses in place, they went beyond the data to gather human insights. Luma’s experts in implementation, product development, solution design, and technical support came together to ask questions and understand how the hypotheses matched up with proven customer workflows and operational processes. 

When those things matched up, it was magical.

Our documentation team translated all of these inputs into easy-to-use recommendations and best practices in our Help Center. Any Luma customer can access the articles at any time, free of charge. The articles include actionable recommendations like:

The Luma customer community has already begun implementing these recommendations and seeing results. Every expert-led implementation starts with Bedrock recommendations, giving our new customers a starting point to get immediate results based on insights from the entire community. As they continue to use Luma and work with our implementation and customer success experts, they fine-tune to exactly the right approach for their unique demographics, location, and more — and we welcome their insights to create even more Bedrock resources in the future. 

“Bedrock has been a treasure trove of information about how we can better connect with our patients. We are already evaluating how we can implement the findings.”

Christine Beneke, Quality & Process Improvement Supervisor at Specialists in General Surgery

Bedrock is the best of what Luma Health does: bringing together the power of our community, a market-defining Patient Success Platform, and data-driven expertise to create great outcomes and ultimately, patient success. 

Today, we announced the Patient Success Platform.™  Here, we share why we believe patient success is healthcare’s top priority.

Patient success has always been our mission. 

When we launched Luma back in 2015, we had conviction healthcare should understand a patient as more than just a patient sitting in front of a doctor, and play a more active role in delivering patient success at every step of a patient’s healthcare journey:

Though we’ve used different words over the years, we’ve always focused on making it easier for people to find, access, and get their needed healthcare. As we celebrate the milestone of connecting more than 35 million people in the United States to healthcare, choosing the right words and naming our mission as the core of our company and our product was a natural fit.

‘Patient engagement’ has always been an insufficient way to truly capture our efforts here at Luma. After all, no patient wants to be “engaged” – at the end of the day, patients want to be helped

Our own stories as patients and caregivers remind us how personal healthcare is, and how hard it can be to need a doctor’s care or advocate for yourself or your loved ones. Needing healthcare in itself is hard, getting the care you need should be easy. 

Today, too many patients and their loved ones have to be their own champions – advocating for the care they need, waiting on hold, preparing for visits, collecting medical records, verifying insurance, finding the funds to pay, and more. Then, it starts all over again the next time.

Providers across the U.S. have told us about The Great Patient Disconnect, and how much they want to solve it. But their existing tools haven’t been enough.

With the Patient Success Platform, we’re proud to help address the Great Patient Disconnect and support our customers, who truly deliver patient success every day. The more than 650 integrated delivery networks, specialty clinics, FQHCs, and health systems in the Luma community provide care for more than 35 million Americans, and their impact continues to grow. 

We’re also proud to partner with innovators across the healthcare space to amplify our collective impact and make patients more successful. These companies include:

Every offer to see a doctor a week sooner, and every appointment slot filled, creates a tangible difference in a person’s health journey.

It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to bend the arc of healthcare, even by a percent or two – directly impacting and benefiting millions of people.

Making patients successful as individuals, and ultimately changing the hard parts of healthcare in a meaningful way, is our North Star. We couldn’t be more excited to announce the Patient Success Platform!

Today, we announced our $130M Series C funding led by FTV Capital. You can read the full announcement in our press release, but here, we want to talk about why we at Luma Health are obsessed with unifying and automating every journey that you have as a patient.

In 2015, we set out to build a company with a singular purpose – to make it easy for patients to get access to healthcare. We’d all been patients, and we’d all experienced the frustrations that are all too common – struggling to get an appointment and figure out how much it’ll cost; finding it impossible to ask follow-up questions; spending long wait times in busy waiting rooms; and more. But we’d all also experienced that one moment we need most when we’re sick: time with the doctor to hear our issue and get the help we need to be healthy again. Getting patients to that moment was the founding principle that brought the three of us together to launch Luma Health. 

Early on, our ideas were simple and small, even if our vision was big – our very first set of products included a Smart Waitlist and our Actionable Reminders. Simply put, we wanted to match patients who were waiting for care with patients who needed to cancel an existing appointment. To make that work, we had to build some of the deepest hooks and most sophisticated integrations into the system of record in healthcare – the electronic health record. Over the years, we continued to evolve from two initial products to now more than 25 unique products that form a complete end-to-end platform, enabling health systems to automate and orchestrate nearly every part of a patient’s journey. 

As we continued to work with clinic managers, practice administrators, physicians, nurses, and health system executives, it became clear that we needed to continue to evolve, and not just automate the simple parts of connecting patients to healthcare, but also to help simplify all the hard, complex, and gnarly stuff, too. We needed to make it easier for patients to connect all three key elements of their journey from patient to person – their clinical journey, their financial journey, and their appointment journey. That’s why we’ve built an engine to put all these pieces together: the Healthcare Engagement Engine™.

Today, we’re excited to announce a $130M Series C investment from FTV Capital, ensuring that we can scale and grow a world-class platform, helping more patients in every care scenario in the United States (and across the world) get access to the care they need. With FTV, we’ve brought on board a new partner who shares our vision of the Healthcare Engagement Engine™, and is committed to scaling this platform to connect patients with their doctors and care team when they need it most.

Since we founded the company in 2015, we’ve been fortunate that we’ve never had to pivot, never had to change our focus, never had to deviate from our founding vision. The need for seamless and simple access to healthcare at enterprise scale has never been more clear as it is now. Suffering through a pandemic has made it crystal clear that the old way of doing things in healthcare not only has to change, but is actively changing. We’re excited to help catalyze that change with our new partners at FTV Capital, our teammates at Luma Health, and most of all, our customers who tirelessly deliver care to patients and to their communities every single day.