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Case Study

How Virtua Health expanded their navigation services to improve patient retention

20 Minute Read


The challenge

Health system services aren’t intuitive to navigate. Patients are often unaware of their next care steps or how to complete them because they lack appropriate guidance. By not providing consumer-friendly navigation services, health systems fail to meet the health needs of their community and risk losing patients to competitors whose services are easier and more convenient to use.

The organization

Virtua Health, the largest non-profit health care provider in Southern New Jersey, consists of more than 200 locations, including five hospitals with 1,481 beds, 8 urgent care centers, and 20 surgery centers.

The approach

To provide a more coordinated care experience for patients, Virtua expanded their navigation services to include in-person and digital communication channels in addition to telephonic support. These navigators can schedule appointments, clarify next care steps, and answer clinical and billing questions—making it easy for patients to access information and stay connected to Virtua through their preferred communication channel.

The result

By supplementing their traditional telephonic navigation program, Virtua Health was able to improve the patient experience, drive utilization of specialists, and keep patients within their system. In just 18 months, Virtua’s two onsite navigators drove $1.4 million in contribution margin and converted 88% of interactions into specialist visits.



How Virtua Health developed a multi-modal patient navigation program

Virtua Health expanded their traditional call center services to include onsite navigators and a live digital chat to better support patients as they transition from one care step to the next. Expanding their navigation channels also enabled them to better meet patients’ diverse communication preferences.

The remainder of this publication details the expanded portfolio of navigation services Virtua implemented to better meet their patients’ needs and improve retention.


The three elements

Leaders at Virtua Health implemented an omni-channel navigation strategy by:

  • Element

    Creating a new in-person navigator function

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  • Element

    Staffing a digital team to manage their live chat function

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  • Element

    Bridging care gaps with telephonic navigators

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Multi-modal communication channels improve patient retention

Implementing in-person, digital, and telephonic navigation services helped Virtua improve patient usage of downstream services, enhance the patient experience, and optimize staff contribution margin. All of these navigation channels ensure patients are never truly discharged, but rather are seamlessly transitioned from one care episode to the next.


Contribution margin generated by two onsite navigators at
one primary care practice over 18 months


Conversion of in-person navigation interactions into
specialist visits


Service level across the live online chat


Inbound call center requests per year

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