Conversational AI is offering many conveniences across various industries, and the healthcare sector is one that is much gained from it.
Healthcare plays a vital role in the life of every individual. As individuals, we have the most significant stake in our care rather than others.
One-third of us feel much confident that we can master our health
But, the number of people who need healthcare support during and after hospitalization has considerably increased in the last ten years.
Regardless of the age group, every patient looks out for healthcare support even after they discharge from the hospital, it could be for medication adherence, medical, diet, and it can be for doctor’s appointment.
According to our research, 77% of patients carry out online research ahead of scheduling an appointment with a healthcare professional. And every year, 7% of patients switch between healthcare providers due to poor experience (Online convenience & speed).
Due to this, patient engagement became an integral part and became one of the buzzwords in the healthcare industry.
To be frank, most healthcare service providers are taking much care of patient engagement because better patient engagement builds reliance between patients & service providers.
And it acts as a key for continuing the attention with the same provider, which is useful for their business growth.
Along with trust, financial considerations also play a crucial role. The reason is, it motivates the organization to provide better care for each patient and make him satisfied with the service they are offering.
This is why most healthcare service providers are very much concerned about patient engagement, and along with it, they are striving to improve it.
Most of the service providers understood that integrating Conversational AI solutions into their system can enhance patient engagement and customer experience.
Because of its ideal core competencies to provide accurate, faster responses to patients, conversational AI solutions are poised to be extremely useful to improve the patient’s lifecycle.
If you have the curiosity to know-how exactly, conversational AI is going to improve patient engagement.
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Before we move on to the core point, let us look at some of the necessary information about patient engagement.
Understanding patient engagement?
Boosting patient engagement became a primary goal or concern for most of healthcare providers, what exactly is it?
Patient engagement in healthcare acts as a communication medium between the provider and the patient.
It enables patients to take care of their health, appointments, medical expenses medication, and procedures that help to enhance better health outcomes, coerce enhanced patient care and attain lower costs.
Patient engagement solutions offer patients the required tools to engage In their health management. Patient engagement Tools adoption and successful deployment in the organization have a direct effect on patient overall experience and satisfaction.
Why does patient engagement matter?
Traditionally every individual is spending more than 9000 hours in taking care of their health outside the hospital. And very less time we are under the supervision of physicians.
We can even decrease it under the supervision of doctors by merely empowering the patients to take more responsibility for their health, and that gives a wealth of benefits in the future for an individual, healthcare providers, and even for society.
Patient engagement has importance in two different cases, that is clinical & business.
It is proven that:
Better engaged patients = Positive health outcomes
In fact, patient engagement is considered the Next blockbuster drug of the 21st century. Based on various reports and studies, most engaged patients are more probable to:
- Very good at making decisions.
- Take responsibility for their health and visit the doctor’s office when it is necessary.
- Participate in prevention & monitoring activities.
- Feel pleased with the treatment & care.
The countries invested in patient engagement are seeing more exceptional results.
In Denmark, there is a 50% decrease in hospital days with greater patient engagement.
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The Business case
Along with patients, patient engagement is essential for health service providers too. Enhancing patient engagement can make real business sense, and it also helps to be ahead of your competitors.
Patient engagement strategies help to save administrative costs by involving patients more in the administrative process.
In this competitive healthcare market, patient satisfaction is a crucial criterion for healthcare service providers to judge upon. At present, most of public and private providers are taking this as a measure to payment method.
If you are still thinking of why patient engagement matters? Just have a look at the research done by David Veroff at Health Dialog1.
In this research, a group of 170,000 patients was divided into two subgroups. The first group got support from trained health coaches; the second group got enhanced decision-making support.
The group that received superior decision making support had:
- 20.9% fewer heart surgeries
- 5.4% lower overall medical costs.
- 12.5% fewer hospital admissions.
Patient engagement benefits:
Patient engagement is offering various benefits for both patients and service providers.
- Higher levels of satisfaction
- Reduced diagnostics testing & expenditures
- Higher levels of health literacy
- Fewer elective surgeries
- Increase adherence to prescribed medical treatments
- Increased functional status & faster recovery
- Organizational competitiveness
- Enhanced office efficiency
Important patient engagement statistics
Based on the research of Frost & Sullivan, Integrating conversational AI agents in hospitals will decrease the cost of treatment by 50% and increase outcomes by 30–40%.
66% of patients are willing to take on technology & mHealth into their treatment plan.
63% of healthcare providers are saying they are delivering great patient care, but only 43% of the patients agree with the statement.
Now, let us move on to our core point.
How is conversational AI going to change patient engagement?
In this, we look at the various scenarios in the patient engagement journey from the emergency ward to post-visit care and how to simulate each touchpoint in the patient’s life cycle with conversational AI.
Triage & Emergency room visits
Most of us, as patient or patient parent, experienced overcrowd situations in front of the emergency rooms & waiting hours to consult the doctor.
It creates problems for both patients & staff that creates protracted waiting times which will lead to ambulance diversion & greater chances of errors. That leads to an increase in risks & financial loss for healthcare service providers.
The reason for the above issue is most of the patients do not use ER’s for severe or catastrophic injuries, and they use them for small problems or injuries.
According to the report of the National Medical care survey, out of 145.6 million ER patients, only 6% are triaged and 32.4% are considered as urgent.
From the above stats, it is clear that the ER services are not being used appropriately. It is because there is no one to guide individuals about what is a real emergency & what is not?
So, how can we resolve it?
We need to outline what kind of care your patient needs depending on that; you need to optimize your patient journey.
It is where conversational AI technology can ease patient engagement. This solution knows precisely who should go for personal care, who can take virtual treatment, who should visit a doctor, and who requires emergency care.
Our conversational agents will connect the patients with the right medical services. The conversational solution combines symptom checkers along with the care location finder to provide a seamless experience for the patients.
Using a conversational AI solution for patient engagement will enhance admittance to medical data or information to the patients and decrease unwanted appointments with the doctors.
Follow up & Aftercare
Most of the organizations are no longer taking chances to send patients to their homes without proper tools to ensure observance of their discharge plan.
Now, organizations are following a proactive approach for patient care to improve safety and minimize risks for service providers & patients.
The time the patient discharges from the hospital, and the organization needs to take steps to get in touch with patients instantaneously. It gives you real-time opportunities to amplify patient engagement, thus decreases patient readmissions and understands patient prescriptions.
To know the answer, we need to look after the predicament.
Based on research, at least 20% of all patients admitted in the USA hospital are revisiting to the hospital within 30 days of pardon from the hospital. It’s happening because of the inefficient follow-up & aftercare solution.
To solve this problem, we have built conversational AI Chatbots that will connect organizations with the patients after they discharge. And they can be used by the patients on specific conditions or to get a piece of general information related to discharge.
This approach will boost the level of engagement between a healthcare organization and patients. With this increased level of patient engagement, the healthcare service provides things like:
- Providing healthcare information
- Reminding or alerting users
- Recording & tracking health info.
- It endows recommendations based on the information provided by the individual.
- It enables communication with caretakers, service providers, and family members.
Scheduling & Discovering
The next toughest challenge in patient engagement is identifying & scheduling services for healthcare. Along with patients, hospital management also suffers a lot from it.
The average patient squanders more than 30 minutes to get the right appointment with the right service. When they find the right services, they can not engage because of long waiting times & inconvenient calling hours.
On average, a nurse or staff member spends 1hr/day connecting to the right health professional. This problem can be resolved with the help of conversational AI.
The healthcare Chatbots built with conversational AI will have the information required by patients & service providing, and it helps to connect patients with a service provider within a minute in a single conversation.
Apart from appointment scheduling conversational AI solutions also help in:
- Visiting preparation instructions to individuals
- Informing about the different locations of healthcare service providers.
- It collects & saves patient history for future preferences & scheduling
- Provides potential diagnostic information
- It also prescribes medication
We hope most of you got to know how conversational AI is going to impact patient engagement & efficacy.
As we are progressing, the demand & need for AI virtual assistants or Chatbots in the healthcare landscape is increasing, and that too, inpatient engagement.
Is your healthcare organization leveraging conversational AI solutions to improve patient engagement?
If not, then it is the right time to think about it.
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Conversational AI in Healthcare Improves Patient Engagement and Efficacy was originally published in Chatbots Life on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.