Meeting patients where they are

In 2022, a group of OSF Innovation and OSF OnCall leaders successfully launched a new focused strategy to increase mammogram rates among disadvantaged populations. Leveraging technology that gives OSF HealthCare the opportunity to connect with patients through texting, educational microsites, phone calls and two-way messaging, the effort reversed a disparity gap in breast cancer screenings for those on Medicaid.

“The effectiveness of the outreach technology led the Ministry to expand efforts for other routine screenings and vaccinations, like annual wellness checks and flu shots,” said Roopa Foulger, vice president of Digital Innovation Development, which helped source the platform. “The idea is to help people stay on top of their health care needs and live healthier lives.”

This type of interaction has proven effective. Primary care offices are now able to engage people who have not connected with OSF for up to five years with reminder notifications to schedule care. OSF OnCall is looking to target additional disease screenings as the strategy matures.

How it works

With a commitment to supporting the health and wellness of patients, OSF uses outreach technology to text people reminders about the need for screenings, vaccinations and wellness checks to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“After receiving a message, people can directly link to a microsite that gives them easy-to-read education about whatever test, vaccination or wellness check they need to get,” said Melissa Shipp, vice president of Digital Experience in OSF OnCall. “Individuals can then seamlessly schedule an appointment from anywhere they are, using the microsite, their OSF MyChart app or by calling.”

If patients don’t engage with the first text, they receive a reminder within 10 days. After that, they may receive a call from a digitally-enabled community health worker to help answer questions, solve challenges and schedule appointments.

“It’s about meeting patients where they are and letting them know we’re here for them,” said Steven Phillips, program manager of Digital Experience for OSF OnCall. “People’s lives get hectic. This serves as a reminder for something they should be attuned to.”

By the numbers

In the fourth quarter of 2021 and all of 2022, OSF reached out to more than 58,000 people to schedule wellness visits via text. Out of that group, over 7,000 individuals engaged with the educational microsite. And nearly 14,000 people scheduled an appointment, amounting to a 24% conversion rate with more than 80% of patients completing their appointments.

In addition, OSF texted more than 699,000 people to schedule their flu shots in the fourth quarter of 2021 and all of 2022. About 42,700 engaged with the educational microsite. And over 291,300 scheduled an appointment, equaling a 42% conversion rate. More than 76% of patients completed their appointments.

Plans are in the works to begin targeted outreach for colonoscopies, childhood immunizations and back-to-school physicals in 2023.

Last Updated: March 18, 2023

Follow Us on Social Media

About Author: Denise Molina-Weiger

Denise Molina-Weiger is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since March 2015. She initially came to OSF to write about the work taking place at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, one of the world’s largest simulation and innovation centers and went on to become the Media Relations Coordinator for OSF Innovation which was developed to help the hospital system lead the way in transforming care.

Before joining the OSF HealthCare team, Denise was a reporter for Peoria Public Radio for ten years, writing on everything from politics, housing and transportation issues to hospital care in the region. She earned her bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting from Western Illinois University in 2003 and received her master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2004.

Denise lives in West Peoria with her husband, son and two crazy dogs. In her spare time, she likes to snuggle on the couch with her family and watch cooking shows on Netflix. She loves taking road trips with her family and then complaining about it when they are over.

View all posts by

Tags: ,

Categories: Innovation