Case Study

Transformed the experiences for Virtua’s patients and employees

Virtua is a successful hospital chain in New Jersey, operating urgent care centers, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, health and wellness centers, fitness centers, home health services, long-term care and rehabilitation centers, and paramedic program.


Case study - Virtua
Sutherland Labs
Digital Engineering Services
Business Process Services

The Problem

Think about walking into a hospital, feeling ill and perhaps worried about how much a visit will cost, how do you want those first few minutes to be handled?

Our client was great at delivering health care, but wanted to validate solutions to handle financial aspects of the patient journey more efficiently and with sensitivity. More broadly they wanted to understand how to improve customer and employee journeys, while working within the context of their medical, business, an d regulatory obligations.

The Sutherland Transformation

In 2014, Sutherland’s team of ethnographers, researchers and film makers observed and spoke to over 100 patients and employees, considering the impact of environment, people, process and artifacts (letters, bills, signage, etc.) on the patient experience, and capturing the voice of the patient and the employees. We evaluated what was working well, and where there was room for improvement – with a focus on billing, registration, online activity, signage and numerous other non-clinical issues.

Our research enabled us to identify pain points and opportunities in the customer and staff journeys and to develop inspired solutions such as a patient portal for self-service registration and clinical information, and cost estimator tools to improve transparency.

Healthcare consumerism advocates a patient/customer involvement in their own healthcare decisions. Higher engagement leads to better outcomes.

The Results

A more compassionate and efficient hospital experience:

  • Improved ease of patient communication – through the development of a patient portal providing self-service registration and access to clinical information; text message reminders and late running notifications; a mobile app updating family members on patient status.
  • Increased transparency around healthcare options - to help patients make informed decisions about healthcare, the development of cost estimator tools to make costs more transparent and strategies to increase awareness and uptake of health insurance exchanges.
  • Improved physical space design - led by understanding of customer needs and behaviors, and observations on how design affects interactions between patients and employees.
Improved ease of patient communication
Increased transparency around healthcare options
Improved physical space design

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