The Situation

Like every company in April 2020, Episource had to re-evaluate its operations due to the public health emergency. Episource traditionally conducted annual health risk assessments (HRAs) in-person by visiting members in their homes; in many cases, this was no longer possible due to the pandemic. In response, Episource designed and introduced a telehealth service, but found that many of the Medicare Advantage members lacked broadband at home or they only had flip phones, which were inadequate for telehealth visits. Episource considered purchasing devices and using couriers to send them to patients, but decided they needed a more comprehensive, turnkey solution. They turned to Sano health.


The Solution

Sano Health worked closely with Episource to design a solution that best met its needs. “We met a lot, trying to figure out the mechanics, how to exchange information”, said Dakisha Allen, Product Director and Sales Support at Episource. In the beginning, there were a few kinks to work out. The Episource tech team was brought on board. The two teams engaged in a thorough process of identifying various use cases for the Sano device, focused especially on how to make the experience as easy as possible for the member. A large component of the member population that Episource serves has limited digital literacy, so the solution had to be as simple and intuitive as possible.

Sano designed a very innovative solution for Episource’s members. In order to access a telehealth session, the member is required to do nothing more than turn on the device. The member does not even have to tap the screen to start the telehealth session! As soon as the device powers up, the patient enters the telehealth session, or sees a screen which informs the member of the date and time of an upcoming session. Sano also provides a pamphlet inside the shipping box which explains how to turn-on the device and keep it charged. This solution has proven to be very accessible and friendly for Episource’s members.


In addition to the member experience design, Sano worked closely with Episource to implement a fulfillment process aligned with existing capabilities and processes, which enabled speed to market, which was important to Episource given the urgency of getting the visits scheduled.


Sano also provided Episource access to a management system which displays information about device use and facilitates corrective actions if any issues arise. To give one real-world example, Episource was able to determine that difficulty powering up a device was due to a member pressing the wrong button rather than a problem with the device. Sano provided training on the management system to the Episource IT staff and also provides back-up support as needed.


The Outcome

Because of the care the team took in designing the overall experience, Episource was able to quickly scale to hundreds of visits in a short period of time. The member-friendly solution has been a success because it enables Episource to conduct visits they otherwise could not have completed.


Sano continues to work with Episource to explore how to maximize the success of this endeavor to further increase member engagement. Having an always-connected healthcare device in the hands of a member creates interesting opportunities for continued engagement, customized and persistent care delivery, with a potential for improving health outcomes.


Like its industry peers, Episource is exploring how to make telehealth an integral component of its care delivery solutions. Sano will continue to work with Episource throughout this journey.

“From a customer service perspective, we could not have asked for more. Sano was very responsive, very helpful and very reactive. A great experience”. Dakisha Allen, Product Director and Sales Support at Episource