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2 Tips for Health Systems Looking to Widen Their Digital Front Door

Analysis  |  By Jasmyne Ray  
   April 12, 2024

Ochsner Health has seen improvements in patient experience since expanding its digital presence.

Since expanding the health system’s digital presence, Ochsner Health has seen improvements in patient communications and collections.

“There’s so much patients can utilize, from scheduling visits, to interfacing and coordinating with their healthcare team,” Eduardo Benitez, Ochsner director of physician payments, told HealthLeaders. “Being able to request their prescription refills, pay their bill, and even being able to do a telehealth visit.”

For other organizations looking to expand their digital offerings, Benitez identified two essential elements: desire for innovation and listening to patients.

“It takes patience, time, expertise—and really with that, keeping security at the forefront of the project,” he explained. “Assuring that security is [prioritized], I think, is most essential a lot of the time.”

He added ensuring security concerns are addressed from the initial stages of exploring digital expansion and protections are put in place is important to the security of the organization as a whole going forward.

Benitez stated that listening to patients and meeting them where they are can help guide a systems approach to digital expansion.

Currently, the system estimates its patient portal utilization to be between 35-45%, with some variation according to location. For example, New Orleans has the highest utilization for the patient portal of all the regions the system serves, while patients in areas like Lafayette prefer to manage their care by phone.

According to Benitez, the system’s new pay by phone option has captured several thousand calls since launching in January.

“Us putting mechanisms into the platforms that our patients are choosing yields [higher] utilization and a better experience for our patients,” he said.

Jasmyne Ray is the revenue cycle editor at HealthLeaders. 


A comprehensive patient portal can increase efficiency when providing services and satisfaction from patients.

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