After joining HonorHealth in January 2019 to fill the new position of chief transformation officer, Dr. James Whitfill had one guiding principle: “Find ways to engage our customers better with digital technologies.”
About a year later, the arrival of COVID-19 would jump-start that goal.
“Pretty much overnight, our nurse call lines were completely overwhelmed with incoming calls, and they literally couldn’t bring enough people in,” recalls Whitfill, whose team presented the Phoenix-area organization with a solution: the digital workflow platform known as ServiceNow.
“My team said, ‘We know exactly what we need.’”
In the months before the pandemic hit, Whitfill and his colleagues collaborated with leaders across HonorHealth’s six hospitals to explore how technologies like chatbots and asynchronous symptom checkers might digitally transform the care experience.
The organization had relied for years on ServiceNow — a cloud-based Platform as a Service tool designed to automate internal services — primarily within the IT department.
What about using the platform to fight COVID-19? “We saw it as a perfect fit; the kind of scenario where it might really make a difference,” Whitfill says.
His team got the go-ahead, and within four days it had programmed a simple chatbot to handle the bulk of COVID-19-related queries.