UC Davis Health uses Twilio for omnipresent patient communications

Call forwarding


messages daily through branded number



reduction in patient no-shows

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weeks to implement

The UC Davis Digital CoLab (Digital Collaborative for Innovation and Validation), part of UC Davis Health, innovates in the largest, most diverse patient populations covering the majority of California. A group passionate about supporting patients and physicians in making their creative ideas come to life, they understand how to navigate the challenges and barriers when it comes to developing and launching new products. 

With a large, underserved population that has a more difficult time accessing care, success for the UC Davis Digital CoLab means that no patient or provider gets left behind. This is particularly poignant in a sizable area like California. The team there is actively focused on closing the digital divide in order to improve digital connectivity and accessibility. 

“Success means that every single patient that needs to receive care, information, or resources are able to do so through at least one, if not multiple, digital channels.”

Keisuke (K) Nakagawa Director of Innovation

Pioneering personalized patient experiences

UC Davis Digital CoLab faced the challenge of delivering personalized attention and experiences to patients, aiming to improve patient outcomes. They cover 60% of California, where 33 out of 58 counties recognized them as the sole level one trauma center. In addition, they serve a diverse patient population that includes rural and migrant communities. This broad audience drove them to view their responsibility beyond just caring for the patient and into the complete patient experience. Under Dr. Yauheni Solad's leadership, the team aimed to innovate care and create a digital front door model to enable national scalability. Their collective objective was to develop programs that could be implemented on a larger scale, either through technical advancements or thought leadership.

Before their Twilio era, they relied on vendor-based solutions, limiting control over the software stack. As they transitioned from static, out-of-the-box options to a more flexible technology stack, their wish list was long. As a starting place, they focused on making appointment reminders as accessible as possible. SMS messages were the best choice to ensure that reminders were delivered safely into the hands of their patients.

Ultimately, the vision included adopting an omni-channel messaging approach that was fundamental to equitable design. To that end, the team focused on how to ensure that every text messaging experience, whether initiated through text messages, patient portal, or the website, would be equally able to gather critical information from as well as provide valuable interactions with the patients. Their team at UC Davis Health were well-positioned to lead this charge, benefiting numerous other health systems lacking the same resources and vision.

“Having control over all the data allows us to automate workflows and improve patient outcomes. By integrating into our Digital Davis platform, we can create a flexible and customized experience, avoiding the need to rely on multiple point and click solutions or startup products. Our goal is to offer a seamless experience, through the “UCNOW” text brand, like a perfectly fitted Armani suit, tailored specifically to UC Davis Health.”

Ashish Atreja CIO and Chief Digital Health Officer

Twilio Messaging revolutionizes UC Davis CoLab's patient experience

UC Davis Digital CoLab successfully tackled their challenge of delivering personalized patient experiences by leveraging Twilio Messaging, a robust SMS messaging API. By integrating Twilio Messaging into their custom-built digital platform, the CoLab seamlessly implemented patient appointment reminders, ensuring a smooth transition without disrupting the patient experience. The phased rollout across multiple clinics allowed them to effectively deploy the solution and gather valuable feedback for continuous improvement.

With Twilio Messaging's developer-friendly toolkit, the CoLab effortlessly created engaging experiences for patients and providers alike. In just a few weeks they were able to stand up the implementation and were able to leverage Twilio’s Messaging Insights dashboard built into the Twilio Console to closely monitor patient responses, track message delivery, and promptly address any issues that arose. This data-driven approach enabled them to optimize the patient experience and respond in real-time to patient feedback. For example, using generative AI to talk about the symptoms of their concerns, or suggest if there is a better type of appointment for the patient. This type of real-time triage can not only save time for the clinic, but provide a better patient experience as well. 

Notably, Twilio Messaging not only delivered impressive cost savings compared to previous vendors but also surpassed expectations in terms of patient engagement resulting in a 40% reduction in patient no-shows! The user-friendly nature of the API seamlessly integrated into their existing workflow, facilitating efficient implementation and usage.

“Twilio's capabilities have resulted in major cost savings compared to previous vendors. We've seen higher engagement than expected, and we look forward to introducing new real-time streams to better respond to patient feedback, creating more personalized and exceptional experiences.”

Eugene Kang Full stack engineer; Sr. Developer of Digital Colab

Twilio Messaging's capabilities unlocked new possibilities for UC Davis Digital CoLab, allowing them to generate informative dashboards for executives and clinical team leaders. The depth and speed of data insights significantly improved operational decision-making and enhanced patient interactions. As they continue to explore the potential of Twilio Messaging, the CoLab looks forward to further elevating their personalized patient experiences and achieving even greater outcomes in the future.

A vision for personalized and unified patient experiences nationwide

The UC Davis Digital CoLab envisions a transformation from a transactional experience to a more personalized and contextualized one, facilitated by a close collaboration with the chief experience officer and her team. To realize this vision, the CoLab acknowledges the need to advance data maturity levels, empowering them to provide a seamless and personalized experience. For example, they hope to help patients by providing tips on how to stay healthy at home, get more advanced health questions answered, and getting access to their medical records at home. By incorporating Twilio and leveraging tools like CRMs, the CoLab aims to create a cutting-edge and efficient platform that meets the diverse needs of patients and providers alike. This forward-looking approach reflects their commitment to delivering an exceptional and unified experience for their diverse patient population and setting new standards for healthcare delivery nationwide.

As they evolve, the team strives to create a three part plan that leverages a variety of Twilio tools to better serve their patients. Step one, measure every interaction to know who is engaged on which channel. Step two, get a sense for the full patient engagement journey to ensure they have visibility into each step in the patient’s experience. And finally, step three, to track positive outcomes so that the team can ensure issues are resolved and humans are being served. As part of that plan, Twilio Segment is being tested and Twilio Flex is currently being implemented as the next solution to accomplish their goals: 

“Twilio Flex is a transformative tool that has allowed us to build “UCNOW” and have complete control in how we want to shape our omnipresent patient experience that goes beyond patient portal apps. It also gives us flexibility to shape tomorrow’s healthcare by integrating with generative AI through the VALID AI collective, as we build a digital bridge to ensure all patients have access to quality healthcare.”

Ashish Atreja CIO and Chief Digital Health Officer

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