Rush University Medical Center: Transforming healthcare experiences

About Rush University Medical Center

Rush is an academic health system whose mission is to improve the health of the people and the diverse communities it serves through the integration of outstanding patient care, education, research, and community partnerships. The Rush system comprises Rush University and Copley Medical Centers, Rush University, and Rush Oak Park Hospital, as well as numerous outpatient care facilities.

Industries: Healthcare
Location: United States

Rush University Medical Center improves customer experience and patient outcomes with the MyRush app that connects patients, providers, and information using the Apigee API management platform.

Google Cloud Results

  • Encourages adoption of newly launched MyRush Mobile app with API-enabled services
  • Uses 250 analytics variables for enhanced customer experiences
  • Frees IT to focus more time on delivering apps that improve care versus API management

20K API calls per month in 8 months since launch

Rush University Medical Center is a premier U.S. teaching institution in Chicago, Illinois. The system includes four colleges and a health system comprised of Rush Medical Center and three other hospitals. Rush is the only five-star-quality-rated medical center in Chicago.

Patients and providers as customers

Rush wanted to enhance the experience of patients and caregivers through digital enablement. Dr. Shafiq Rab, the system's Chief Information Officer and a physician, has a decidedly customer-centric outlook on healthcare delivery. He knew that to drive improved customer experience he needed to take a "provide care where you are" approach.

"Innovation is part of the medical business today. Healthcare products, education, care, and experience – they're all becoming API-based now. That's why it's critical to get into the API game."

Dr. Shafiq Rab, Senior Vice President & CIO, Rush System for Health and Rush University Medical Center

For Dr. Rab, that means providing patients access to care at home, at work, at clinics, on the road, and in the hospital. He knew that his vision could only become possible by rolling out a variety of mobile and online tools based on APIs.

"Innovation is part of the medical business today," Dr. Rab says. "Healthcare products, education, care, and experience – they're all becoming API-based now. That's why it's critical to get into the API game."

Historically, the healthcare industry has been slower than some other industries to embrace the customer experience approach. With healthcare becoming a commodity and cost pressures rising, medical centers like Rush seek innovative solutions to help address these issues.

Improving customer experience through digitalization

Improving customer experience with apps and online tools not only helps institutions like Rush to stand out from the crowd, but also significantly impacts the organization's bottom line.

"I love APIs because they put power in the hands of people who need information, so they can act upon it anytime, anywhere, in any way. Patients, families, providers, and students are getting and giving better care thanks to APIs."

Dr. Shafiq Rab, Senior Vice President & CIO, Rush System for Health and Rush University Medical Center

"Hospitals are expensive to operate, while receiving care at home or in outpatient facilities can be less expensive," Dr. Rab says. "Consequently, there is definite pressure to decrease costs and do as much care as possible at home, to coordinate care, to remind people to take care of their chronic conditions, and focus on prevention. So how do you reach outside of hospital buildings and connect with people everywhere and help them change their behaviors? We do it with apps and APIs."

The IT team at Rush divided the customer journey into critical touchpoints, and developed API-based microservices to facilitate customer interactions including the Clinical Out of Box and Custom APIs. Apigee is also acting as the access gateway, adding OAuth, validation policies, and traffic management capabilities. The resulting MyRush app gives people on-demand access to their providers, their medical records, test results, prescriptions, and a variety of tools and content including symptom checkers, drug information, and even a ride-hailing feature.

"For me, if a product is good, if a product is easy, and if a vendor keeps on innovating, I will stick with it. Google has been continuously innovating and making API management easier, so the decision was very easy."

Dr. Shafiq Rab, Senior Vice President & CIO, Rush System for Health and Rush University Medical Center

Now patients can check their symptoms in a quality-controlled environment, make appointments with their providers, check test results, request medication refills, report their blood pressure, consult medical records, organize meal delivery, and even arrange a ride home after day surgery – all from inside the MyRush app.

Dr. Rab emphasizes the possibility the app creates for patients, caregivers, and families to take control of their own and their loved ones' healthcare and the democratization that it enables.

"Everybody wants to see a doctor. Everybody wants to know about their symptoms, their medication, their refills. Things that you, I – every human being – would like to know about our health, is possible by using the MyRush app," Dr. Rab adds. "I love APIs because they put power in the hands of people who need information, so they can act upon it anytime, anywhere, in any way. Patients, families, providers, and students are getting and giving better care thanks to APIs."

Easy to choose, easy to use

Having had previous experience with the Apigee API management platform, the decision to deploy it at Rush was an easy one for the team.

"Apigee excites people because they do not have to worry about API management; instead they can focus on the delivery of care and the applications that enable it. The art of the possible – of managing multiple APIs in a cohesive ecosystem – is what Apigee gives us."

Dr. Shafiq Rab, Senior Vice President & CIO, Rush System for Health and Rush University Medical Center

"I used Apigee in my last job, and I had great success with it," Dr. Rab explains. "For me, if a product is good, if a product is easy, and if a vendor keeps on innovating, I will stick with it. Google has been continuously innovating and making API management easier, so the decision was very easy."

For Rush, the Apigee platform has the advantage of being easy to use and easy to train, helping ensure a seamless integration into the workflow.

"Apigee excites people because they do not have to worry about API management; instead they can focus on the delivery of care and the applications that enable it. The art of the possible – of managing multiple APIs in a cohesive ecosystem – is what Apigee gives us," Dr. Rab says.

Security is critical in healthcare, with patient data subject to stringent HIPAA regulations. Apigee security features enable Dr. Rab and his team to feel confident about protecting patients' private information as communication flows seamlessly and easily between the MyRush app and multiple back-end systems and data sources.

Digital transformation democratized

Dr. Rab has become a passionate advocate for digital transformation in healthcare and for the Apigee platform. He points out the usefulness of the Apigee Compass tool that helps organizations to evaluate the status of their digital transformation. He also recommends connecting with other Apigee customers and attending Apigee events to broaden understanding of what can be done with APIs in healthcare and across industries.

About Rush University Medical Center

Rush is an academic health system whose mission is to improve the health of the people and the diverse communities it serves through the integration of outstanding patient care, education, research, and community partnerships. The Rush system comprises Rush University and Copley Medical Centers, Rush University, and Rush Oak Park Hospital, as well as numerous outpatient care facilities.

Industries: Healthcare
Location: United States
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