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UnityPoint Health pins hopes on interoperable digital health platform for patients

Photo: UnityPoint Health

It comes as a surprise to no one that healthcare’s digital landscape is fragmented and siloed with numerous point solutions. UnityPoint Health, a health system based in Des Moines, Iowa, is well aware of this.


“Patients want digital health tools, but they do not want 100 of them,” said Matthew Warrens, managing director of innovation at UnityPoint Health. “Providers and payers face a tidal wave of point solutions that can help meet consumer demand, but also lack a comprehensive view of a patient’s data accumulated through digital sources.

“This makes it difficult to personalize and push meaningful interactions,” he said. “Embracing digital transformation is key in order to align with patient demands and maintain market share. Digital transformation also is essential in making an impact on quality improvement and cost containment goals associated with value-based care initiatives.”


UnityPoint Health hooked up with health IT vendor b.well Connected Health. The vendor enables digital transformation through a platform that provides patients a new entry point to healthcare. Patients can manage every aspect of their health in one centralized location. 

By identifying personalized health insights that help patients and providers close gaps in care, the platform supports population health and value-based care initiatives.

“The vendor provides a level of interoperability that is hard for health systems to create on their own,” Warrens explained. “The ability to integrate with existing solutions and pull data into a comprehensive view enables real-time actionable insights, and consumer-centric engagement between health systems, providers and patients.

“The vendor makes it possible for patients to share their pertinent health information with providers in real time and allow anyone within their trusted circle of care to be informed as well,” he added. 

“With the platform, UnityPoint Health will create powerful and proactive insights that drive engagement, valuable navigation and meaningful outcomes.”

Matthew Warrens, UnityPoint Health

“It also gives patients access to all point digital solutions in one place – a preferred and manageable method compared to otherwise having to access things like virtual care, asynchronous visits and digital behavioral health through individual apps.”

In addition to housing multiple digital solutions in one place, b.well recommends solutions to the patient based on what is known about them, leading to a better care experience, he said.


The patient digital health platform integrates with UnityPoint Health’s electronic health record, patient portal and other existing digital solutions.

“Outside of this being an incredibly useful tool for patients, it will help our entire care team make patient health journeys more proactive, personal and comprehensive,” Warrens noted.


UnityPoint Health still is in the early stages of deployment, so it’s too early for hard results. But the health system hopes to deliver even more personalized and convenient care to patients, leading to improved patient experience and retention.

“Through the convenience of the all-in-one platform, UnityPoint Health expects an increase in virtual visit utilization, reduced call center volumes and a higher percentage of closed care gaps,” Warrens said.

UnityPoint Health will leverage b.well to improve the efficiency of value-based care initiatives, he added.

“Our goal is to improve the quality of care while finding ways to maintain or lower costs, and work in ways that lead to better outcomes, value and healthier communities,” he said. “With the platform, UnityPoint Health will create powerful and proactive insights that drive engagement, valuable navigation and meaningful outcomes.”


Building a digital front end to help patients navigate a healthcare organization is not difficult if resources can be dedicated to it, Warrens advised.

“The heavy lift comes in creating the back end – the part that drives value for patients and the healthcare organization,” he observed. “As interoperability regulations continue to change, the back end requires constant attention and development. Digital tools need stickiness to succeed – and that’s achieved by providing value to patients that keeps bringing them back to the technology.

“When looking at implementing a similar technology, the most important thing is for organizations to stay focused on the part that is providing value – and not only the front-end step of getting patients in the door,” he concluded. 

“Equally important is finding a partner with expertise in interoperability that can integrate seamlessly with the electronic health record, other digital solutions and the organization’s infrastructure to create meaningful insights for patients and the healthcare organization.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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