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Unqork + Maimonides Medical Center: Creating a Digital Front Door for Patients

Doctor wearing a mask

At Becker’s Hospital Review’s 11th annual meeting, Unqork joined Maimonides Medical Center to discuss how they are working together to create a digital front door for patients.

Rob Cimino, VP of Digital Health Strategy & Implementation at Maimonides Medical Center, and Unqork’s Head of Healthcare Kara Dennis and Client Director Olya Ossipova attended the virtual Becker’s Hospital Review to discuss Maimonides’ journey towards creating a digital front door for their patients.

Click here to watch the full webinar.

The problem with application silos

Located in Brooklyn, New York, Maimonides is the borough’s largest hospital and one of the top clinical performers in the U.S. according to CMS comparative outcome data. An early pioneer in electronic health records, Maimonides pursued a best-of-breed technology strategy to address the needs of their providers and patients.

“What happens over time is that our vendors began to introduce web and mobile entry points into their applications for our patients,” said Cimino. “And while that would facilitate access for our patients, it comes with a number of issues. Those application silos make it difficult for us to understand how our patients are engaging across multiple platforms. If we're going to deploy a separate application for scheduling, a separate application for bill paying, a separate application for health record, all those require user accounts, passwords, and all the administration that goes with that. And although that's being supported by our vendors, in large part the burden falls to our patients.”

Rob went on to explain other challenges:

  • No centralized control over cadence and prioritization of communications

  • Limited customization of user interfaces, resulting in inconsistent branding and user experience

  • Varying channels for user support, making full visibility difficult

  • Insufficient capacity for reporting and analytics to drive process improvement 

Maimonides’ goal was “to build a centralized structure where we control user interfaces”—as opposed to all the different vendors. “We want our patients to have a single Maimonides user ID, password, and come through one entry point to access any of the features and functions that they need. We want to control the frequency, the cadence, and the priority of communication.”

To deliver on this vision, Maimonides is partnering with Unqork to build its first ever “digital front door”: one application for web and mobile that integrates to all the back-end systems required to deliver the features and functions that patients need.

The digital front door

Maimonides has identified a core set of features that they provide to their patients: finding a provider, scheduling an appointment, paying a bill, engaging in a virtual visit, accessing their personal health record, and completing pre-visit forms.

“Almost all of those are with separate vendors. And if we're going to develop this application in some reasonable timeframe, it kind of forces us to meet our current vendors where they are in terms of their integration capabilities,” Mr. Cimino explained. “And what we found is that it really runs the gamut. We have vendors with a full SDK and advanced API capabilities, others who are just building their first API for users, and others that just aren't there yet.” 

And so began Maimonides Medical Center’s partnership with Unqork, where we are currently working together to build the digital front door. Unqork enables enterprises to rapidly build custom solutions while integrating with existing (internal and third-party) systems.

Dennis explained that Unqork’s no-code application building platform enables quicker builds, enhanced quality, and ultimately helps organizations save on costs due to how intuitive the development and ongoing maintenance is. “Our focus in terms of the digital front door has been to create a single cohesive experience for patients, enable a highly modern web and mobile experience, and to support extensive integrations that meet the vendors where they are,” Kara emphasized. 

“Unqork really enables you to have a combination of existing solutions and best in class vendors that you can plug in—be it for telehealth, for billing, as well as EHR portals and access to them—in addition to some of those native capabilities such as the search and scheduling and the communication,” Ossipova added.

“Unqork really enables you to have a combination of existing solutions and best in class vendors that you can plug in—be it for telehealth, for billing, as well as EHR portals and access to them—in addition to some of those native capabilities such as the search and scheduling and the communication,” Ossipova added. “Whether that's email, text message, in-app notifications and reminders, access to the forms and verifications, or check-ins, that's all enabled through the APIs.”

The future of the digital front door

Even before it launches, Mr. Cimino already has very clear goals for Maimonides’ patient-centric portal.

“We want the digital front door to be the entry point for all of our patients, for all of their digital applications. And we want them to find behind that front door a really personalized experience tailored to the applications that are necessary for them to engage in their own care." 

Of course, privacy and security is a main concern, and Mr. Cimino went on to address that. “In a lot of ways, we've taken that complexity off of our vendors and have taken it on ourselves.” In regards to patient records, there are three big buckets that get addressed: (1) how Maimonides handles user access and access management, (2) identity matching, and (3) identity proofing. 

“We've implemented an industry-leading solution for enterprise master patient records. The digital front door will be one application that plugs into the solution through API, and that will allow us to understand if a user of the digital front door is a patient or if they later become a patient... And because [user access management, identity matching, and identity proofing] are API integrations, to our users it will feel like they're interacting with ‘an app’, but as many of you who have built systems like this know, it's a complex infrastructure that delivers what we hope will be a seamless experience.”

Unqork is excited to be building this innovative solution with Maimonides to help them create seamless digital care pathways for their patients. To learn more about how Unqork can help your hospital or care center, schedule a personalized demo with one of our solutions experts.