Overlake Medical Center & Clinics Sees Early Investments in Digital Health Pay Off During Pandemic with Increased Opportunities for Education and Engagement
Health System Reports 30-Percent Surge in New Users for O-Baby Pregnancy and Parenting App During COVID-19 Crisis
COVID-19 has spurred a multitude of changes and challenges for patient care, specifically when it comes to patients who are embarking on the very personal, life-changing journey of pregnancy. Healthcare systems are facing an array of questions from patients, including, “Is it safe to come to the hospital? Will my delivery go as planned if there is another outbreak? What services are now essential to the health of my baby and my recovery? Should I be coming in for routine check-ups and vaccinations?” For Overlake Medical Center & Clinics, a commitment to high-quality patient care and early investments in digital health have delivered positive results amid the pandemic.
Overlake is an independent, nonprofit regional health system serving the greater Puget Sound area. The system includes 349 beds, a network of 17 primary, urgent and specialty care clinics, as well as a dedicated cancer center, level III trauma center, childbirth center and level III NICU.
Even before COVID, Overlake was actively focused on improving digital pathways to the hospital through web and mobile. Originally, Overlake’s digital efforts were intended to augment and supplement personal encounters, but with the pandemic preventing in-person childbirth classes and dramatically reducing patient visits, the system’s digital efforts have taken center stage.
“Integrating virtual visits and other digital support into our care delivery during COVID-19 allowed patients, many of whom were otherwise not seeking care, to continue seeing their regular primary care and specialty care providers much faster than in person,” said Felicia Garrett, director of marketing and public relations for Overlake “We don’t want patients to delay their medical needs or ignore symptoms. Early detection improves our ability to provide the most comprehensive and effective care. Chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure don’t take a break during a pandemic. Accidents and injuries still happen. Heart attacks and strokes still strike. And pregnancies continue to progress towards birth.”
One example of digital tools offered by Overlake is O-Baby, a mobile app that offers expecting mothers a personalized pregnancy experience from pre-natal planning through the critical first 1,000 days postpartum, providing a seamless transition into parenthood. O-Baby is powered by Wildflower’s digital platform, which simplifies healthcare and connects families to the right clinical and local support at the right times, driving interventions with high-risk pregnancies. This ensures that every individual receives the most appropriate level of care, decision support for a variety of scenarios, and adherence and compliance with care plans, appointments, vaccinations and prevention.
Overlake launched O-Baby in 2019 and has consistently grown its app userbase since launch. Then in April, the health system saw new users surge by an increase of 30 percent, in part because of the system’s quick adjustment to the pandemic.
“Our digital team is really agile, and we have been able to implement virtual improvements and COVID-19 assessment tools very quickly,” Garrett said. “For most health systems, it’s challenging to rapidly create new, original content that is thoughtful, digestible and useful for consumers. It’s a heavy lift, and we are fortunate to have talented in-house communications professionals as well as access to health content experts from Wildflower.”
Garrett continued, “Delivering OB-specific COVID-19 content through the O-Baby app has been a great support for families welcoming a baby during COVID-19. Research shows that consumers are looking to their healthcare providers for information, not other sources, i.e. the news media. I think our engagement metrics prove that patients want access to resources from brands they trust.”
In addition to successfully supporting patients, Overlake’s O-Baby app also recently won a prestigious Aster Award, which recognizes outstanding excellence in healthcare marketing and communications. The external validation has been an additional proof point for Overlake that it is making strong strides in the digital space.
Spreading Information, Education and Connections
Overlake was one of the first of Wildflower’s clients to integrate COVID-19 content into their app. In the early days of the pandemic, Overlake was able to digitize their communication efforts and deliver relevant and credible updates and education, and make connections to available Overlake resources during a time when many patients were being overwhelmed with reliable news, social media conspiracies and conflicting media reports.
Looking at the top five most popular articles in April, coronavirus and pregnancy was the most frequently accessed piece of content by Overlake patients.
Top 5 Articles: O-Baby App – April 2020
- Coronavirus and Pregnancy
- When to go to the Hospital
- Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Rooming In
- Labor and Childbirth: Active Labor
Managing Clinical Risk
The Overlake team has a continuing focus on engaging expectant moms in the first trimester, which is critical for identifying risk factors earlier in pregnancy. They leverage the O-Baby app to highlight early pregnancy and childbirth classes as one way to create those digital connections sooner. With the current environment, it’s more critical than ever to forge a relationship with moms early in their pregnancies. In April, more than 30 percent of new app users were in their first trimester. The O-Baby app consistently encourages adherence to and compliance with provider advice for expectant moms. The latest month’s data shows the most used product features are all focused on ongoing management for a healthy pregnancy.
Top 3 Product Features by Use: O-Baby App – April 2020
- Notifications/Reminders Set
- To Do List Completed
- Care Plan To Do Completed
Building Longitudinal Loyalty Postpartum
Another recent win for Overlake has been sustaining engagement with new parents. Maintaining patient loyalty postpartum is a priority for many health systems as they try to establish long-term relationships and support evolving needs of families at every age and stage.
In April, the most active group of users were non-pregnant with a child profile. This group averaged more than 10 engagements with the app and 11 page views per visit. This is a 36 percent increase from March. Of the new child profiles created in April, the vast majority were for children under the age of two (82%). Based on this metric, Overlake is having success digitally extending relationships with families during the pandemic.
“We are acutely aware that consumers expect hospitals and health systems to create new models to access healthcare that are more convenient and efficient,” said Garrett. “We are proud of our ability to answer that call, especially in such a critical time for our patients.”