The 127-year-old health system is in the throes of rolling out a multi-tier update to its digital and mobile health program.

OhioHealth, a Columbus-based health system consisting of 17 hospitals, 20 health and surgery centers and related facilities, isn’t taking digital healthcare just one step at a time.

Instead, the 127-year-old health system is in the throes of rolling out a multi-tier update to its digital and mobile health program. OhioHealth is one of 13 hospitals testing Apple Health Records, a new feature on Apple’s health app that lets consumers access and share electronic health information with their providers.

OhioHealth, which in recent years has spent about $200 million moving all its facilities and affiliated network of 21,000 physicians and employees onto one electronic health records platform from Epic Systems Corp. It now can offer clinicians the integrated digital records system patients access to electronic health records via the Apple app.

We realized early that voice plays an increasing role in how our customers want interact with us.

OhioHealth is expecting patients will begin using Apple Health Record later this spring, the system says. To use Apple Health record, patients must first register to use MyChart, the health system’s Epic patient portal, and download the iOS 11.3 software update.

At the same time OhioHealth also is introducing a new “skill” or app using Alexa, an intelligent personal assistant developed by Amazon.com Inc. and made popular by the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo Dot voice-activated devices.

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With an Alexa-enabled device, OhioHealth patients can ask for the location of the nearest urgent care center, get current wait times at each facility, find hours of operation and receive contact information for a specific walk-in clinic.

“For now, this skill will provide another way for patients to obtain information to help them find an OhioHealth Urgent Care or to hear current wait times,” says OhioHealth system vice president of digital experience and customer engagement Salil Verma, “We realized early that voice plays an increasing role in how our customers want interact with us.”

The Alexa feature will give patients and users information on 11 OhioHealth walk-in clinics. For patients that don’t have an Alexa-enabled device, the same information is available on OhioHealth’s recently updated app, which also lets patients find a doctor, schedule appointments, look up facilities and wait times for urgent care and reserve an Uber ride if needed.

Patients can also use the app to view test results, message their doctor, make payments, schedule or cancel appointments and request prescription refills. “We realized early that voice plays an increasing role in how our customers want interact with us,” Verma says. “This is a first step of many that OhioHealth is working on to provide really great digital experiences in healthcare.”

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