Helping patients navigate their care journey with AI

Sutter Health, California, US

As part of an ambitious, holistic patient navigation strategy, Sutter Health (‘Sutter’) integrated Ada’s AI-based symptom assessment and care navigation platform into their systems as their digital front door to services.

Designed to support patients and attract new users, Ada provides a reliable first step for seeking care across Sutter's network with more than 370,000 assessments already completed.


  • Support individuals to seek out care in the appropriate setting

  • Provide 24/7 access to care navigation

  • Reduce misdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment

  • Engage patients

  • Connect care experiences


  • 40%of patients navigated to less urgent care

  • 47%of users navigated away from same-day care

  • 52%of assessments are outside clinic hours

  • up to 90%assessment completion rate

Improving care navigation together

Providing 24/7 access

Sutter users can query their symptoms themselves and access information without needing to contact Sutter as the first point of call. They can then connect with the appropriate setting based on their location, including walk-in care, urgent care, emergency room, primary care, pharmacy, virtual visits, and specialty care. Indeed, 47% of patients are navigated away from same-day care services.1

Care navigation is particularly important during the night: 52% of assessments are outside clinic opening hours,2 highlighting the need for reliable advice beyond usual times.

Easing pressure on emergency care

Ada enables users to understand their care needs and urgency and either escalate to urgent care for high acuity or lower their care requirements if health complaints can be managed better in other settings. Around-the-clock access to care navigation helps eliminate the assumption that the ED is the first step in the patient journey for anyone who needs medical attention. This ensures emergency services can focus on patients who require that level of care.

With up to 90% completion, Ada has helped redirect over 40% of users to less urgent care1, potentially reducing unnecessary pressure on the ED.

Reducing misdiagnosis and
unnecessary treatment

Ada supports people getting to the right care service when they need it. That means they’re more likely to receive an early diagnosis and effective treatment. Ada also collects relevant health information during assessments, such as if a person has diabetes, is pregnant, or has high blood pressure. This can save time in the clinic and can help reduce the risk of unnecessary, possibly harmful treatments.

Recently, additional care navigation options have been made available, including Scout by Sutter™, a nationwide service offering mental health support to young people who meet the eligibility during an Ada assessment.

Engaging patients

Following an assessment, users were found to be 10 times more likely to book an appointment online to attend an appropriate service, including a significant number of new patients in Sutter’s system.1

There were initial concerns around the ‘digital divide’ and older users accessing the online tool; however, of the users who completed an assessment, 27% were over 50 years old.

  • "I think Ada made an already uncertain and daunting process much easier, and it helped me decide to go to urgent care for the start of my treatment and diagnosis."

    Sutter Health user

  • "Essentially, we added hundreds of assessments per day without adding a single doctor to our mix... with the majority rating Ada as highly useful and helpful as they navigated care."

    Dr. Albert Chan
    VP & Chief of Digital Patient Experience*

  • "Ada’s AI-powered technology provides patients with a self-guided assessment with a high degree of clinical accuracy. Patients can assess their care needs outside Sutter Health’s normal business hours and without directly contacting a physician’s office."

    Guy Tennyson
    Director of Digital Health

Supporting people throughout the pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sutter wanted to avoid unnecessary clinic attendance to reduce the risk of transmission through social contact. To help users navigate to appropriate services, Sutter swiftly deployed a dedicated Ada COVID-19 screener.

Sutter saw a 181% increase in the number of assessments per day, helping patients to quickly assess their COVID-related symptoms, informing them of the appropriate action, including isolation, testing, or directing users to virtual care services within Sutter’s network. COVID-19 is available in Ada’s knowledge base in the full assessment.

A clinically-led partnership

Recognizing the importance of collaboration and clinical buy-in when reviewing potential suppliers, Sutter, and their doctors:

  • Used clinical scenarios to test Ada’s performance against several other solutions.
  • Determined that Ada offered the most reliable clinical assessments and demonstrated the accuracy and safety that their clinicians would stand behind.
  • Underpinned success through early stakeholder engagement, executive sponsorship, defined KPIs, a dedicated Ada client success manager, and proactive marketing to Sutter patients.

Backed by peer-reviewed research

In the first peer-reviewed, real-world, published study into the triage advice of digital symptom checkers, Sutter - in partnership with Stanford University - analyzed over 26,000 individual Ada assessments.

They concluded that Ada’s care recommendations were comparable to those of human triage nurses, validating Ada’s advice safety and reassuring users of Ada’s medical quality.3

Sutter Health at a glance

Sutter Health is a leading integrated healthcare network based in Northern California that prioritizes the highest levels of quality, access and affordability. Sutter is committed to personalizing healthcare for users and moving toward value-based care and proactive population health.

  • 3.3m active patients

  • 23 hospitals

  • 50,000+ employees

  • 12,000+ physicians

  • 2,000 advanced care physicians

  • 16,000 nurses

Main photo credit: Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat
*Source: HCI Group: DGTL Voices: Albert Chan, MD, Sutter Health’,

  1. Data provided by Sutter Health

  2. Proportion of patient assessments at Sutter Health completed between 06.00pm - 08.59am

  3. Morse, K. et al (2020). Journal of Medical Internet Research,