Is Artificial Intelligence Right for the Physician Practice?

In the age of digital consumerism, customers are “always on.” On the web. On email. On social media. On mobile devices and tablets.

To compete effectively in an increasingly connected healthcare marketplace, providers should take advantage of new, patient-centered technologies that can connect us and help make the customer experience better.

As patients use the internet to look for information on quality, cost, and the intersection of the two, providers can use technology, specifically artificial intelligence, to help put the practice ahead of the change that’s coming.

Predicting the Future

Have you ever wondered how Netflix recommends movies and TV shows? How Facebook prompts friends to be tagged in photos? Or how Amazon suggests personalized products? That’s AI in action.

AI equips computers with self-learning capabilities without the need for explicit programming when exposed to new data. AI is transforming the customer experience across multiple channels, such as retail and banking.

The physician’s office is next.

Automate Repetitive Tasks

Typical provider office functions often include repetitive business procedures, requiring significant manual involvement. When automated, these tasks become manageable–freeing human resources to be human resources.

Several customer-service processes also can be automated, enabling providers and staff to spend more face-to-face time with patients. Human-assisted virtual agents like chatbots provide the ability to answer patient questions quickly and accurately, and can help ensure the patient talks to the right person at the practice if necessary. One of the biggest challenges healthcare faces today is maintaining consistent, high-quality customer service. By using AI, providers can bring customer service to the next level by computerizing routine tasks:
  • Automate routine tasks that usually require a staff time, such as addressing account issues and scheduling appointments.
  • Free office staff to focus on handling more complex and revenue-generating tasks, which helps to improve top and bottom-line performance.
  • Use natural-language processing to clearly understand what the patient is saying and route the call to the appropriate person in the office. This reduces call duration and increases the likelihood of a quick resolution.
Provider offices can put power into the hands of patients by offering a variety of self-service options, including:
  • Ensuring the most relevant content is made available to patient across different channels, enhancing self-service; and
  • Personalizing special offers, such as flu and allergy season treatments.
Anticipating Patient Needs

AI strategies help businesses retain customers and reshape the customer experience with informed, hyper-personalized information and services. This level of engagement with patients will require investing in technology platforms and applications that anticipate their needs and understand their behaviors.

The important part of using AI in a practice is understanding the technology’s limitations and, more specifically, how staff and patients will react. Explaining to each group how the technology eliminates mundane tasks to save time and increase satisfaction is key to adoption. Communication to both groups far in advance of rolling out the new process can help make it a success. Providers applying these advancements to the customer experience may achieve long-term customer-service goals and practice profitability.
 
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