Improving automation in healthcare CX: insights and examples
Almost every person has become accustomed to self-service in some form since Covid-19 hit, especially for accessing healthcare. But how good is this care when humans are taken out of the equation? When done right, AI and automation solutions can maintain – if not, improve – patient/member engagement by delivering a more proactive care approach, improving direct communication between them and their payer or provider, and much more. For healthcare organizations, the ability to create faster, smarter, and more connected communications processes and workflows often leads to cost savings and operational efficiencies.
Here are several examples of what this looks like:
- A healthcare payer creates a virtual agent that acts as an intelligent hotline, answering questions with advanced analytics to recognize and engage members, process inputs, monitor sentiment, and connect them to the information or people they need. Callers are satisfied, often without human intervention, and the payer can optimize its most expensive resource: people.
- Patients engage with their healthcare provider through a chatbot (either on a landing page or a social media messaging platform) or through a smart IVR (i.e., “In a sentence or two, tell me what you’re looking for help with.”). This interaction happens in a humanlike way across different touchpoints throughout the service journey, often providing better experiences, shorter wait times, and more nuanced support.
- A healthcare provider detects when calls are coming from a mobile device and automatically deflects them to the mobile Web for a mobile application or mobile browser-based service experience. Callers will be redirected to information relevant to their inquiry, like a Covid-19 FAQ on the provider’s website or nearby vaccine site locations based on the home geography of the device the call is coming from. Callers will get the help and information they need, while the provider can redirect skyrocketing call center volume.
- A clinic creates a virtual waiting system for handling upcoming appointments. Automatic notifications are sent to remind patients about their appointment, their expected service timeline, and when to enter the building to meet with a care provider.
- A patient reaches out to their provider through a dedicated mobile app or user portal via their mobile device to follow up on the results of lab tests they recently had done. Before they reach the contact center, they are automatically authenticated (their identity verified including what device they’re calling from and its home geography) to streamline communications and more quickly route them to the right contact with full security. The patient doesn’t have to go through the traditional authentication process, and the provider maintains security compliance, improves patient engagement, and drives a higher CSAT score.
The goal is to ensure patients and members are always active partners in their healthcare decisions with increased levels of engagement, using self-service to provide the answers and information they need. Remember, though, that you don’t have to completely remove the human touch. You can simply make it available for those who need it. There should always be the option to escalate a self-service interaction; however, the more things you can provide in self-service (well), the better experience for the patient/member and provider.
The Competition is On
Consumerism in healthcare is nothing new, but competition in healthcare is. We’re now seeing healthcare organizations actively competing to win customer loyalty, and the way to do that is through experiences. For this reason, it’s crucial that organizations continue prioritizing self-service even after the pandemic wanes. New studies show that more healthcare customers are scheduling appointments digitally and prioritize speed and convenience over quality of care. A strong focus on effective self-service will:
- Improve patient/member engagement
- Increase contact center agent efficiency
- Minimize patient leakage
- Influence revenue cycles
- Increase new patient/member acquisition
- Increase patient loyalty
- Promote specialties and service lines
All while maintaining – if not, improving – cost savings, security, compliance, scalability, and innovation.
There are a few things healthcare organizations need to do automated self-service well: a cloud-based communication platform built on composable infrastructure, reliable EHR data, and a way to segment this data to create experiences that matter. The good news is that you don’t have to abandon your entire communications infrastructure to move forward.
Photo: Andranik Hakobyan, Getty Images