Patient experience expectations are at an all-time high. Dubbed the Amazon Effect, it is the phenomenon where retail and ecommerce companies have made it super simple to conduct business – and now consumers expect that same simplicity and ease from every company they do business with, no matter the industry.
That expectation can be especially challenging for those in highly regulated industries like healthcare and health technology. Privacy expectations and regulations are expansive, and given the inherent and expansive regulatory requirements, it’s critical to get every aspect of it done right.
And while expectations about the patient experience are changing, there are also numerous challenges facing hospitals and healthcare providers, including confronting affordability, digitizing healthcare and solving clinical workforce shortages. Each challenge area is expansive in its own right, though now there are ways technology like AI and virtual services can help to move experiences forward.
Here are three ways healthcare organizations can leverage insights and automation for a better patient experience no matter where they are in the customer journey:
1. Supercharge your phone system
Whether you’re a healthcare payor or provider, phone calls remain a crucial part of patient communication. For many years, healthcare organizations have utilized Interactive Voice Response (IVR) applications that can offer general information (address and directions, business hours, etc.), as well as menus that help get the caller to the right department.
But by their nature, IVRs are fixed and limited in their offerings or ability to personalize. Enter Interactive Voice Assistants (IVA), more commonly referred to as voice bots. They bring together the power of Natural Language Understanding (NLU), AI and machine learning – and have the ability to dramatically expand automation offered by healthcare organizations. And surprisingly, they are often easier to build, deploy and administer with easy-to-use applications.
By implementing voice bots, your 24×7 voice self-service could expand to:
- Appointment scheduling and management
- Prescription refills and requests
- Access to health records
- Answers to inquiries beyond address and visiting hours
And when you’re looking to expand your automation into chat bots on your website, the same flows, reporting and validation are available – making it faster and easier to deploy self-service capabilities across your website or mobile app With the ability to automatically scale, these applications are available during peak hours, disease outbreaks or public health crises. Voice bots will both expand access to your organization across your customer base, but advanced analytics will offer clearer understanding of both your operations and patient experience.
2. Automate with confidence
No matter the industry, the rationale for automation is simple: human capital is almost without exception the most costly part of operations and anything you can offload in the form of customer self-service can provide significant cost savings. The problem, however, is determining what makes the most sense to automate given regulatory restrictions, consumer preferences, and any technology limits such as data & system availability. It starts with a holistic view of the full patient journey – one that includes data from multiple sources (IVR, ACD, CRM/electronic record) and across various channels, such as phone calls, text messages, email, web chat and in-person interactions.
The best way to approach it is by mapping out different journeys based on what your customers are trying to do. As you map more and more paths, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the complete customer journey. This holistic view can reveal where automation can reduce friction, increase accuracy, offer 24×7 access, speed the process, reduce costs – or all of the above.
Seek out repeatable interactions and tasks within the entire contact experience. This goes for both customers and agents. Can your agents be better served with real-time guidance and help? Providing the right in-the-moment prompts, assists, or automated call summaries can help agents to be more efficient in their job. Overall this increases efficiency and empowers agents to perform better.
When it comes to the patient experience, the goal is to take tasks and activities that are an important part of the healthcare experience and make them as straightforward, accessible and as beneficial as possible. You want to pinpoint bottlenecks and pain points in the customer journey to help them reach an ideal resolution. The potential results are powerful, and include a consistent experience across interactions, reduced human error and improved patient and business outcomes.
SuccessKPI can help you automate actions, analyze your patient interactions and turn them into a better overall experience. See how healthcare providers are transforming patient experience today.