Learn how Carbon Health is continuously improving their care model with smart technology and thoughtful design.
April 7, 2024

How Oak Street Health Does CareOps

I had the pleasure of hosting Colton Ortolf (VP of Product) and Dr. Buchanan (Chief Clinical & Technology Officer) from Oak Street Health to discuss how they put CareOps into practice.Some takeaways:

(1) OSH ditched the old-school org chart and instead has a “4-in-the-box” model - tightly knit, cross-fx teams of clinical, ops, product and engineering focused on one area (e.g. patient engagement, provider experience, etc.) with shared accountability on specific goals. Interestingly, Virta Health shared they’ve adopted a similar approach (they call it pods).

(2) OSH leans heavily on existing medical literature when designing our improving care flows. As Dr. Buchanan put it, “We don’t have to necessarily be on the cutting edge. Sometimes it’s just something that has been proven for decades to work.” While this may seem like a no-brainer, our latest State of CareOps report revealed that only 16% of care orgs use research findings to drive improvements. This is your reminder - don’t reinvent the wheel. Leverage the wealth of medical literature out there.

(3) Their homegrown platform Canopy, which sits on top of the EHR, seems to be OSH’s secret sauce - it allows them to quickly implement and modify care flows based on user feedback and rapidly test changes at scale. As Colton noted, “A care flow that can’t be implemented into the provider workflow is like a chocolate teapot - great in theory but otherwise useless.” Having a flexible platform like Canopy informs the care flow to the providers, ensuring it can be operationalized effectively.

(4) OSH embraces a mindset of continuous experimentation. As Colton stated, “The default is that we are always experimenting. Our care model is changing every single day.” He described how they will often go through multi-failed iterations before landing on an approach that works, constantly incorporating feedback from clinicians who volunteer as beta testers.(5) In healthcare, MVPs do more harm than good. You only have one shot to make a positive impression with a new product. Before writing any code, sync up cross-functionally to pinpoint exactly what’s needed, then roll out small, impactful updates that truly make a difference. It’s about striking the right balance—ship little, but ship right. As Dr. Buchanan put it, “We try to find something that’s meaningfully useful to the teams, and try not to throw out something that’s half-baked.” Focus on delivering value quickly while ensuring the product meets a high bar for quality.

There’s much more insight packed into the full recording. I highly recommend watching the replay to learn from OSH’s approach to blending healthcare evidence with agile principles. Watch the replay here.


Quick intro: we’re Thomas and Rik, building Awell - a low-code platform allowing care teams to design, implement and optimize care flows in days, not months. CareOps grew out of our years spent improving CareOps at innovative providers.

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