Digital Front Door in Healthcare: Download Free Guide

What Is a Digital Front Door in Healthcare?

The digital front door is a layer of technology that helps healthcare providers manage a patient’s healthcare journey to drive better access, engagement, and experiences across the service continuum. More than just an entryway, the digital front door helps improve the patient experience from beginning to end, encompassing all the touchpoints where providers can digitally interact with patients. This includes, but is not limited to, technology like patient portals, mobile healthcare apps, digital home exercise programs and patient education, telehealth platforms, and patient adherence tracking tools.

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Why Does the Digital Front Door Matter in Healthcare?

For better or for worse, patients are no longer walking in through a physical door three times a week for rehab sessions. Instead, they want greater flexibility in how they access care. To meet patients where they are—while minimizing costs and optimizing quality of care—organizations need to supplement existing in-person programs with digital care pathways that segment patients by acuity to keep therapy at the forefront of MSK care. And the best way to provide the experience that patients want is to have a digital front door.

How Has the Digital Front Door Evolved over the Years?

The concept of a ‘digital front door’ rose to prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the necessary pivot to telehealth virtual visits and other digital tools during the public health emergency, but its roots go much further back than that. Step counters and digital fitness bands—which evolved into today’s wellness apps and smart watches—are all examples of digital technologies layered into modern healthcare. Clinicians and patients can use these to exchange data, giving providers greater insight into the patient’s diagnosis and progress.

On top of that, modern consumers expect convenience in every aspect of their lives, and healthcare is no exception. The demand for convenient, accessible healthcare services has also fueled the shift towards digital solutions. The digital front door is not just a technological upgrade; it is a strategic necessity for healthcare organizations to keep up with the modern world.

Who Benefits from a Digital Front Door in Healthcare?

In short, everybody! From increased access to cost reduction, digital front doors benefit both sides of the patient-provider therapeutic alliance.

Patients benefit from:

Better access to care: Digital front door healthcare tools like telehealth and home exercise programs allow patients to access the care they need from wherever they are. This is especially critical for patients in rural or traditionally underserved areas, where wait lists for in-person care can be months long!

Expanded treatment options: From fully independent self-managed care pathways to hybrid models that blend in-person care with digital touchpoints, the digital front door provides flexible options that work for patients of all needs.

Patient education and HEP: An effective HEP platform helps keep patients engaged, providing important care continuity, and boosts patient progress between visits. Patient education not only provides the context patients need to understand their condition, but it also prepares them for each step in their journey. Then any in-person visits can be spent on providing treatment, discussing care plans, or answering patient questions.

Providers benefit from:

Streamlined workflows: Digital care automates routine tasks for clinicians at the point of care, making their jobs easier and allowing them to spend more valuable time with patients.

Improved patient engagement: Using a digital front door in healthcare fosters better patient engagement through tools like home exercise programs, remote monitoring, patient adherence tracking, and in-app messaging. Engaged patients are more likely to adhere to treatment plans, resulting in improved outcomes.

Data-driven insights: Having a digital front door generates vast amounts of data, offering valuable insights into treatment effectiveness. Organizations can leverage this data to make informed decisions, tailor services, and enhance overall patient care.

Reduced costs: By reducing unnecessary in-person visits for lower acuity patients, digital front doors help organizations provide more targeted care at a lower cost.

What Do You Need For an Effective Digital Front Door Healthcare Strategy?

To create a digital front door, you’ll need a digital care platform that acts as an extension of your staff, allowing providers to capture patients earlier, get a deeper understanding of their condition, and assign evidence-based clinical programs that support their recovery.

Important components of a digital front door healthcare strategy include:

MedBridge Pathways
Our digital MSK care solution makes conservative care the easiest choice to increase access and better manage MSK care costs.
Home Exercise Program (HEP)
Engage patients with an easily accessible and customizable library with thousands of video exercises developed by industry professionals.
Patient Adherence Tracking
Identify behavioral patterns and barriers to adherence to help boost patient satisfaction and improve clinical outcomes.
Patient Insights
Capture patient insights like pain, difficulty, and perceived progress with surveys and monitoring tools to help build a patient-inspired culture.
Remote Therapeutic Monitoring
Our solution provides everything you need to start capturing new revenue and retaining more patients today.
Patient Education
Help patients understand their diagnosis and rehabilitation plan with engaging education to encourage and support them.
Replace or supplement in-person visits for low-risk patients with effective, user-friendly telehealth tools.
Mobile App
Engage patients by prescribing HEP and education and promote adherence with two-way messaging, gamification, and push notifications.
Provider Education
Provide evidence-based online education and training covering telehealth, patient engagement, soft skills, and more

Frequently Asked Questions

Are older patients going to use a digital front door in healthcare?

Yes! Older patients are willing to use the digital front door—we just need to give them the option.

In fact, 53 percent of U.S. adults age 55 and older currently use some type of assistive or health-related technology.1 Of the 47 percent surveyed who say they don’t currently use assistive or health-related technologies. 70 percent responded that they were willing to use health-related technology, they just didn’t need them yet. 2

Why do I need a ‘digital front door’ when I already have a patient portal?

A patient portal is a type of digital front door, but it doesn’t do enough to improve patient engagement all on its own. That’s why you need to incorporate it with digital engagement tools like HEP, two-way patient-provider messaging, and patient education to get the full benefits that a digital front door can offer.

What kind of ROI can I expect from a digital front door?

Healthcare providers partnering with MedBridge for their digital front door healthcare strategy have seen amazing benefits, including:

47 percent reduced costs per episode of care
1,100 percent increased patient engagement
Faster access to care by 2.5 days
12 percent increased FOTO effectiveness
World-class NPS ® ratings
15 percent fewer no-shows and cancellations
Higher patient satisfaction, adherence, and loyalty
More referrals 

We developed this guide that described the direct and indirect ROI of digital care. Additionally, you can learn more about how providers achieved these benefits in our customer stories.


As modern healthcare continues to evolve, providers will need a digital front door to keep up with the increased demands for flexibility, efficiency, and patient experiences.

MedBridge Pathways is your digital front door healthcare solution, making conservative care the easiest choice to increase access and better manage MSK care costs. Our standardized pathways are designed to take into account a patient’s pain, goals, and activity levels, guiding them through exercises by evidence-based progression criteria in multiple phases. For patients who need more hands-on care, hybrid-care pathways seamlessly blend these digital touchpoints with in-person care. No matter what level of care they need, patients can receive an efficient yet personalized experience that allows for the flexibility that patients need to receive MSK care while navigating modern life.