Case Study

Advocate Health Care efficiently extends care management

How one health system and ACO saves costs and improves outcomes through patient engagement



Extend care management beyond high-acuity patients without adding incremental staff. As a large integrated health care system, and one of the country’s largest accountable care organizations (ACOs), Advocate Health Care is well on its way to becoming a value-based care organization. To eliminate unnecessary costs while improving the overall quality of care, Advocate created the STAAR Program. It’s version of enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS)—a multimodal, perioperative care pathway to
achieve early recovery for patients undergoing major surgery.

Advocate turned to GetWell Loop to support patients across all surgical episodes, delivering daily touch points with the right information at the right time. “Our efforts are focused on delivering the same science to every patient having surgery, and to set expectations for the hospital stay and discharge arrangements on the front-end with the patient, family members and/or caregivers. Involving patients at a deeper level regarding their care with a goal of enabling shared decision-making is key to successful outcomes,” says Dr. Debra O’Connor, VP of Clinical Effectiveness, Advocate Health Care

Approach & Solution

Assessing the impact

Advocate piloted GetWell Loop across eight orthopedic and spine practices in their physician network. The organization hoped the solution would actively engage patients in a meaningful way throughout their episode of care to facilitate shared decision-making and deliver better outcomes at lower costs by reducing avoidable complications and readmissions. “It was a fairly rigorous 18-month analysis,” says Esposito. “At the conclusion, we saw a statistically significant reduction in complications, readmissions and total episode cost while also receiving positive feedback from participating physicians and staff.”

Satisfied physicians, staff and patients

The orthopedic and spine physicians and staff appreciated that the implementation process considered their clinical preferences and workflows, and required a very light lift on their part. Physicians and their care teams simply reviewed and customized the GetWell Loop pre-developed care plans to ensure alignment with care instructions.

By having a real-time window into patients’ recovery and being able to monitor patients’ progress daily, care teams are able to focus their attention on patients who need their support to optimize their outcome or experience. Because the solution’s educational content proactively addresses many common questions and concerns from patients, call volume to the clinics has decreased. The two-way messaging feature has also dramatically decreased phone tag with patients. By providing patients with the information they need, Advocate is able to improve the quality of care their patients receive and achieve cost savings.

Scaling across the organization

Building on the success of the orthopedic and spine pilot, Advocate plans to deploy GetWell Loop to colorectal, hepatobiliary and gynecologic surgeries next, which will occur in conjunction with Advocate’s STAAR program.

“We are very excited about what this means for patients,” says Esposito. “GetWell Loop reinforces the surgeon’s messaging, augments the shared decision-making process and enhances the exchange of important information. It has also delivered higher levels of patient and staff satisfaction,” says O’Connor.

Advocate plans to pilot GetWell Loop to augment phone-based programs to reach to more patients. Educational content, reminders about appointments and medications and convenient access to care managers will help prevent minor problems from escalating into more serious ones.


The orthopedic and spine practices charted the following improvements. Significant decreases in disability from baseline to follow-up for spine, hip and knee surgery patients, and a 44.8 percent relative reduction in post-acute spending at 365 days post discharge versus patients not using GetWell Loop™.


Patient activation


Of patients reported being able to avoid an office visit or phone call by using GetWell Loop


Of patients "extremely likely" to recommend their physician



Advocate Health Care: 12 hospitals / 1,500 employed physicians / 5,000 Advocate physician partners / 6,300 medical staff / 35,000 associates / $5.5B total revenue / 17.9 percent market share / 858,000 attributable lives

With a million attributed lives, we needed to closely manage all of those patients, not just the sickest of the sick. GetWell Loop enables us to extend our human capital and resources in support of better outcomes and outreach to more than just the top one percent of patients in terms of spend.”

 Tina Esposito, Vice President, Information and Technology Innovation, Advocate Health Care