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How Upfront cut emergency visits in half and reduced hospital readmission rates

Allina Health needed a proactive, digital solution that could engage patients scheduled for total joint replacement and guide them along the care journey. Discover how Upfront applied its technology and expertise to help the Midwest-based system reduce hospital readmissions and bolster post-surgical success.

Partner since



Minneapolis, MN



Patient base

8.5M Clinic Visits/Year

Upfront Solutions

Retain, Attract

The Challenge

Hospital capacity and administrative strain

Post-surgical hospital readmissions pose numerous challenges to health organizations, contributing to massive hospital capacity, financial and administrative strains. At Allina Health, the enterprise was under pressure to reduce the number of emergency department visits and hospital readmissions for its total joint replacement (TJR) patients. In need of a fresh approach to patient engagement to drive maximum impact, Allina Health enlisted Upfront to design and implement a digital program that could proactively communicate with patients through every step of their surgical journey.

The Solution

Advanced personalization to empower joint surgery candidates

Upfront designed a patient engagement solution to equip TJR patients with the knowledge to successfully manage pre- and post-surgical visits, as well as perform self-care during their recovery. Leveraging advanced personalization in the Upfront platform, Allina Health was able to connect with patients to offer relevant navigation through surgical events and proactively gather patient feedback via patient-reported outcomes surveys. All patient data is integrated back to the EMR so clinical workflow is not disrupted by having to look in different systems. This feedback enabled Allina Health to assess patients’ access to resources and offer additional supports for successful recovery.

The Results

50% fewer emergency visits

During the 18-month study period, Upfront significantly increased TJR patient engagement rates, helping Allina Health cut its emergency department visits by more than 50% within the first 14 days of discharge — and saving the system roughly $564,000 in preventable readmissions. In addition to providing personalized digital outreach, the Upfront platform eliminated the flux of manual phone calls inside Allina Health’s call center, allowing the system to repurpose staff elsewhere and relieve administrative burdens among clinical team members. Following the TJR journeys program’s success, Allina Health expanded its partnership with Upfront to effectively close care gaps across the health system.

By the numbers

Fewer ED visits within the first 14 days of discharge
Saved by avoiding preventable readmissions
Increase in patient-reported outcome survey completion needed to achieve certification from the The Joint Commission
Of patients activated throughout their surgical care journey

Upfront helps us with our core measure of how to get patients to engage digitally – to get them to take an action without a human touch. That's where healthcare equity and inclusion can really come into play and allow us to focus our human resources where they're most needed so patients get the care they need.

Chris DuFresne
Vice President, Experience & Marketing Technology at Allina

Allina Health Dark
Chris Dufresne (1)

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