How CHLA Addresses Health Equity Through Digital Innovation

Joe Sedlak
Joe SedlakApril 9th, 20244 min read

If you missed The Beryl Institute's ELEVATE PX conference in Denver, we have good news. The presentation I delivered with Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) is available as a recorded session. This recording, featuring CHLA Vice President and Chief Transformation & Digital Officer Omkar Kulkarni, tells the story of our collaborative journey and highlights several successes realized in the first five weeks since launching ERAdvisor at CHLA.

About CHLA

Ranked 7th in the nation in the U.S. News: Best Children's Hospitals Honor Roll, CHLA stands out not just for its clinical excellence but also for its commitment to health equity. As one of the busiest pediatric emergency facilities in the nation, CHLA serves over 100,000 patients annually, many of whom are from underserved communities. A significant portion of CHLA's patients are Spanish-speaking families, making communication and accessibility vital components of effective care.

Addressing Health Equity with Tech

In our talk, Omkar emphasized the importance of finding solutions that minimize friction for patients and families, especially in environments serving diverse and often underserved populations.

 “Almost 3 out of every 4 patients are insured by Medicaid, and we're proud to be able to serve them,” Omkar said. “In our digital strategy and overall mission, health equity is key, especially in emergency care where we have one of the most diverse patient populations in any part of our health system.”

I’m so proud that ERAdvisor has proven to be an effective patient experience solution and a key way to address the broader issues of health equity within CHLA.

Alignment with CHLA’s Goals 

ERAdvisor, with its multilingual support and intuitive design, aligns well with CHLA's goals. Regardless of the patient’s or family members’ language proficiency or social determinants of health, it offers a seamless way to update patients and their loved ones on wait times and care steps, translates diagnoses, test results, and discharge instructions in plain language, facilitates scheduling follow-up care, and much more.

This alignment was not by chance but is a product of a shared vision with our partner hospitals to enhance patient care through digital means, ensuring that technology serves as a bridge rather than a barrier. That alignment is why people actually use ERAdvisor: because there is no app to download or user names to set up, Vital clients see average patient adoption rates of 57%. And it’s even higher at children’s hospitals.

“When Joe first shared with me the ERAdvisor tool, he said that children's hospitals were seeing 70% engagement,” Omkar shared. “In my head, I don't think I imagined that we would ever achieve that. We have such a complex patient population. I felt it would be hard to achieve that. We haven't achieved that in a lot of our other digital projects. But we're achieving it. We're achieving it just like others are. And, in fact, I think we're performing even higher than we expected.” 

Early Successes

During the presentation, CHLA shared noteworthy achievements in the first five weeks since implementing ERAdvisor. These include:

  • High Engagement: 78% of reachable patients used ERAdvisor.

  • Increased Connectivity: 39% of users shared their visit status with loved ones.

  • Enhanced Portal Usage: Integration with CHLA's patient portal drove 1,500 patients to engage further with their health information online.

  • Significant Interaction Time: Patients spent an average of 18 minutes on the app.

  • High Satisfaction: An average 4.6 out of 5-star rating.

Looking Forward

As we reflect on the journey and successes of CHLA's implementation of ERAdvisor, the focus remains firmly on the future. The integration of digital tools in healthcare, particularly in settings serving diverse populations, holds immense promise for enhancing patient experiences and outcomes.

CHLA's story is a compelling example of how hospitals can leverage technology to not only meet clinical needs but also address broader challenges like health equity. As we continue to collaborate and innovate, the lessons learned and successes achieved at CHLA serve as valuable benchmarks for the future of digital health solutions in emergency care and beyond.

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