CIO Spotlight: Saint Luke’s Debe Gash reveals how the right mobile presence builds loyalty and drives engagement

Saint Luke’s Health System has a lot of mobile apps. A few too many, as it turned out.

There’s a telehealth app called Saint Luke’s 24/7 that allows patients to connect with a physician from their smartphone anytime, anywhere. Then there’s the patient portal, operated through Epic’s MyChart, where users can access test results, manage appointments and message their physician. Plus there's the mobile-friendly website that provides information about each of the system's 10 campuses.

MySaintLuke's apIn October, the Kansas City, Missouri-based health system rolled all those apps into one mobile offering called mySaintLuke’s, which integrates each of its mobile services onto a single user-friendly platform available through the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Since its launch in October, the app has been downloaded 1,600 times, and mobile adoption among patients is up more than 46%. Patient portal usage saw an initial 30% bump in the week after publishing the app, and that's continued to increase in each subsequent month. For Debe Gash, the system’s vice president and chief information officer, the new app aligns with the organization’s broader effort to build loyalty by putting mobile resources into the hands of its patients, extend the system’s reach beyond its existing population and engage users on a device that rarely leaves their side.

“More people have cell phones than computers,” she says. “A cell phone is a pretty powerful tool. Why not leverage that since it’s with the individual wherever they go?”

In a conversation with FierceHealthcare, Gash explained how the new app aligns with the organization’s overall strategy and how the app will provide operational efficiencies across the health system.