Well Health enables conversations between patients and health care organizations through secure, multilingual messaging in the patient’s preferred communications channel: texting, email, telephone or live chat. In this image, the health care provider view is on the laptop, and the patient view is on the smartphone. (Contributed graphic)
Sansum Clinic incorporates Santa Barbara startup Well Health Inc.’s technology to unify and automate patient interactions electronically, a move that has proven critical in the age of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Well delivers what patients expect today — the ability to engage with their health care provider as easily as they’d text a friend,” Well Health CEO Guillaume de Zwirek said. “Although the pandemic fueled the adoption of digital health by many health care providers, patients today expect real-time, personalized communication that will never fade.”
De Zwirek founded Well Health in 2015 after falling victim to the frustrations of navigating, managing and coordinating his own health care for the first time.
“I remember how frustrating it was to manage my own care; it was a very vulnerable time for me, and I found myself on the phone constantly,” de Zwirek said. “The fundamental component of coordination and communication was just archaic.”
Well Health’s intelligent communications hub is the only two-way digital health solution that engages patients throughout their entire health care experience, according to de Zwirek. Through its technology, patients can have conversations with their health care organizations through secure, multilingual messaging in the patient’s preferred communications channel.
Guillaume de Zwirek, CEO and founder of Well Health Inc. (Contributed photo)
Whether it be via email, text, call or webchat, patients can contact their health care provider regarding items such as directives before and after a doctor’s appointment, refill reminders, appointment rescheduling and “everything in between,” de Zwirek said.
“Well streamlines all of the communication that takes place in the doctor’s office,” de Zwirek said. “My greatest joy in this company, and what I think success should be measured by, is the experiences that we improve through this technology, those little magic moments when you’re saving someone a really painful phone call.”
De Zwirek said he has experienced the benefits of Well Health from the patient’s perspective. Six months ago, his wife was on her way to the hospital to give birth, and she was able to text Sansum Clinic asking if it had a surgical mask she could wear during her visit, as hers was too thick to comfortably give birth in, de Zwirek said.
“Someone literally responded on our way to the hospital,” de Zwirek said. “It was beautiful.”
Sansum Clinic, the largest independent nonprofit health care organization between the Los Angeles Basin and the San Francisco Bay Area, adopted Well Health’s technology in August 2018 to better serve its patients, according to Dr. Kurt Ransohoff, CEO and an internist at Sansum.
“From the practicing physician’s standpoint, most physicians are unaware about what is happening with this new technology, which is good because it means that patients are happy with these experiences and aren’t coming in and complaining,” Ransohoff said.
Since Sansum Clinic’s adoption of the technology, it has seen a drop in no-show rates of about 50%, Ransohoff said, which has made a significant impact on its customer care. Well Health also has helped minimize the number of phone calls made to the clinic, according to Ransohoff.
Dr. Kurt Ransohoff, CEO of Sansum Clinic. (Contributed photo)
Partially because of the coronavirus pandemic and fears of going into the doctor’s office, 23% of Sansum’s visits are now conducted via telehealth.
“In the early days of the pandemic, we saw a lot of patients canceling their appointments,” said Lindsay Cortina, Sansum’s director of organizational initiatives. “Well allowed us to offer those patients a telehealth appointment when they canceled. We were able to help a lot of patients transition appointments from in-person to telehealth seamlessly.”
While Sansum Clinic first adopted Well Health’s technology in 2018, it has proved critical in managing the uncharted demands of this year’s pandemic.
“During the pandemic, when we really had a need to communicate to patients, suddenly we had this technology that allowed us to navigate that,” Ransohoff said. “It helped get basic information out during those really chaotic days back in March.”
Sansum Clinic and Well Health have a great working relationship, according to Cortina, that helps both companies better serve patients.
Lindsay Cortina, Sansum Clinic’s director of organizational initiatives. (Contributed photo)
“We at Sansum are so thankful that Well is right here in our backyard, because that means we get to work so closely with them to develop new features and functionalities,” she said.
Recently, Sansum Clinic worked with Well Health to develop a feature called Chat Assist, a chatbot that has made a big impact at Sansum.
“Something that we’ve been really mulling over is how to make sure our patients are prepared for an efficient and successful meeting with their physician so that the first 10 minutes of the appointment aren’t spent just going through troubleshooting questions,” Cortina said. “With the partnership of Well, we have been able to implement this chatbot that helps walk patients through some of the most common troubleshooting items. It’s done in a way that feels very personable and helps patients be prepared for their visit.”
“Sansum in many ways really is a lab for us,” de Zwirek added. “It’s really important for us to take the time to understand the biggest needs at Sansum and figure out if there are any applications of our technology that can improve workloads and make life easier.”