The Digital Front Door

The real first step of the patient journey is a change in health status: a symptom.

If we’re honest, people don’t think about healthcare most days. There is no FOMO associated with your healthcare organization’s latest service, new surgeon or patient portal… until there is a pending need. Only then do people’s thoughts turn to action: How bad is this? What should I do? What’s open nearby and when it’s convenient for my schedule?

But you can be there—at their fingertips. Yours can be the one healthcare app they can access online or from their phone for just those moments.

The average household will reach for the app 5 to 30 times per year. Add push notification and you can influence their thoughts about health another 12 to 15 times per year. So, you have the health decision-maker’s personal attention 40+ times per year.  Multiply this by how many households in your catchment area?
How will you design their experience to be useful, convenient and (selfishly) loyalty-building?

Your engagement app will drive connections to your organization’s points of entry.  Start with a symptom check and connect your audience to fulfill their healthcare needs with one-tap: Find a Doctor, Online Scheduling, Locate a Convenient Care or engage in a Video Visit. Drive more activity with Save my Spot, Wait Times and Same Day Appointments; assure your customers that you are respectful of their time. If their health is in crisis, position your Emergency Services as a safety net .

Recognize that the first step in the journey begins with decision support, followed by guidance to fulfillment options and then streamlined access  to your resources. Bring all your first-step services to their fingertips, 24/7.


In 2019, we launched our first symptom checker integration with MyChart. The web app can be embedded within both MyChart Web and MyChart Mobile to offer just-in-time users’ decision support. Positioning the symptom checker conveniently near Appointments, Messaging and/or Quick Links is convenient for patients who are seeking the appropriate level of care for their symptoms.

By leveraging Epic’s Patient.Read API, the user’s name is incorporated into the process, personalizing the experience. Their age and gender are also pre-populated, streamlining steps along the way.


The utilization graph shows a soft-launch in June 2020, with promotion to patients in July. There have been:

  • 9,948 sessions
  • Average session duration of 2 minutes and 28 seconds


  • Having the symptom checker available within MyChart means patients can connect directly to self-service functions: Appointment Scheduling, eVisits and Video Visits
  • Other fulfillment options are still accessible from the public-website, such as Find an Urgent Care, Find an ER and Find a Labor & Delivery Department
  • Placing decision-support tools conveniently within MyChart helps patients and parents select the RIght Care at the Right Time

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