39 Chief operating officer for clinical program services Providence St. Joseph Health
FOR KIM NICHOLSON, the focus of her career has been the patient experience—not at the bedside but on the consumer side.
While she doesn’t have a clinical background— Nicholson holds a master’s degree in health administration with a focus in healthcare informatics—her work and that of her teams has always been patient-centric. Before joining Providence, Nicholson was vice president of service lines and patient access at Swedish Health Services, a Providence affiliate based in Seattle where she led business strategies for the system’s Heart and Vascular Institute.
In her current role, which she has held for just over a year, a primary responsibility has been the continuing development and implementation of a high-tech Consumer Engagement Center, designed to match patients with the clinical services they need.
“The center is Phase 1 of our goal of providing a comprehensive patient concierge model for patients looking for services within our organization,” Nicholson said. “The aim is to provide a service where we walk a patient through every step of their journey for a specific procedure or service.”
Technology—which Nicholson says is “near and dear to me” given her informatics background—plays a fundamental role at the center, which includes a network of call centers and telehealth services, among other systems. Nicholson notes that her first job after graduate school was with Visicu, maker of one of the first tele-ICU products.
“We have more people insured now than ever before, and the challenge is that these people often don’t know where to go to access services,” Nicholson said. “So this is our opportunity to educate consumers on their options.”