Illustration of two people discussing a healthcare mobile app

How do you give digital health a human touch?

A digital strategy that empowers a beloved healthcare provider to engage with patients in a transparent, high-touch way.

Sharp was already known for its thoughtful, high-touch approach to healthcare. We helped craft a digital patient experience that lives up to that standard.

  • As healthcare becomes more of a consumer good, customer expectations are set by other, non-healthcare experiences, especially digital ones. So, when Sharp HealthCare wanted to define a vision for engaging their customers digitally, they came to Ziba to ensure it would be truly patient-centered. As a major regional healthcare provider, Sharp was in a sweet spot for digital transformation: big enough to develop their own digital CX, but nimble enough to scale up quickly. They also had a devoted base of consumers, built on decades of exceptional care and personal service. Ziba’s team was brought in to map out a plan to translate that level of experience onto a digital platform.

  • Through rigorous research and patient interviews our team identified the essential things that Sharp customers needed in a digital experience. It had to be convenient, of course, but also compassionate and reassuring, providing guidance through what are often stressful, confusing situations. Patients wanted more transparency and access, to both medical information and costs. With these customer needs in mind, we proposed a single, digital gateway, initially via smartphone app, where patients can make appointments, ask for advice, conduct virtual visits, and handle scheduling and payments. Beyond these functional features, our team designed the Sharp portal to be a guide, ushering patients through their healthcare journey, and taking care of every detail.

  • In addition to a multi-year roadmap for digital transformation, the Ziba team also conducted a first-round design sprint for Sharp’s digital engagement toolkit. The result was a set of prototypes that Sharp was able to build into digital tools for their customers, which have had a profound impact on both the patient experience and Sharp’s digital capabilities. Customers have embraced online bookings and virtual urgent care, making Sharp one of the highest rated healthcare systems in the region. The shift also prompted Sharp to move to a single EHR platform and adopt the EPIC digital records system, streamlining and simplifying their internal operations. While we started with a focus on the ideal digital experience for Sharp’s customers, the implementation of our strategies made waves felt throughout their business.

  • Illustration of a person sitting and using a mobile healthcare app, with three mockups of the app to the right

    Illustration of a person sitting and using a mobile healthcare app, with three mockups of the app to the right
Close up of a hand holding a mobile phone showing a physician smiling

Sharp is becoming the most consumer friendly health system in San Diego…The vision that you helped us put together has been compelling in helping people see what a consumer focused healthcare provider could look like.

In the first year of Sharp’s new digital customer experience strategy:

  • 1.3 million online searches for Sharp doctors — a 10% increase over previous year
  • Average rating on Google grew from 2.9 to 4.6
  • 13% of urgent care visits handled virtually
  • 16% of online appointment booked by new Sharp customers


Online appointment bookings within the first year

Sharp HealthCare is a not-for-profit regional health care group, and a leading provider of hospital-based and acute care, as well as medical insurance in the San Diego area.

  • CX Strategy

  • Design Strategy

  • Trend Insights

  • User Insights

  • Digital Design

  • Service Design

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