Improving the Health Care Consumer Experience with Conversational AI
Among health care C-suite executives, 69% report that improving the health care consumer experience is their organization’s first or second top strategic priority in 2019, according to just-published research from Sage Growth Partners.
This means that common improvement initiatives, including staffing changes, technology and patient navigation have shot to the top of “must-have” lists.
A fragmented delivery system, rising cost pressures and increased consumer expectations are rapidly changing the health care industry.
Health care organizations — whether payer, provider, pharma or device manufacturers — need to engage with patients beyond brick and mortar walls in cost-effective ways that are seamless, multimodal and natural to the patient populations that they serve.
“Clearly, the use of conversational AI, voice applications and chatbots in retail, hospitality and other industries is on the rise,” says Orbita Inc. president Nathan Treloar. “Some see this technology as a true game-changer in health care, where the industry must find new ways to reduce costs while improving outcomes. To achieve results in this regard, organizations must offer better opportunities for patient engagement. Voice will contribute greatly.”
Treloar says that there is increasing interest in conversational AI among executives with titles such as chief consumer officer, head of enterprise and consumer digital experience, senior vice president of digital and omnichannel strategy and marketing, and vice president of customer innovation. These individuals are responsible for digital health solutions to improve satisfaction, engagement and outcomes whether globally through improved call center operations or for specific populations such as those involved in disease-specific health and wellness programs.
An important goal is to empower members with new self-service options that eliminate the challenges of web browsing or long wait times. Specific applications can include virtual assistants designed to help find a provider or location, answer health and wellness questions, or assist with open enrollment, or more clinically focused solutions such as those that guide members through symptom checking or triage or help a patient navigate a specific care protocol. Shared risk models among providers and payers will help drive new approaches with virtual care delivery — and voice will play an integral role.
Much of early market sizzle in the world of voice centered on devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. Among large organizations, entities like Boston Children’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic and Cigna are blazing new trails. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are also making headway as are smaller entities in home health and long-term care sectors. Many of the vendors who sell digital solutions to these organizations are also active in this space, including digital strategy consultants, system integrators, digital agencies and telemedicine solution providers.
“Beyond the popular view of ‘voice’ that is closely aligned with smart speakers, we’re seeing more and more interest in the role of voice for web and mobile chatbots as well as voice engagement with kiosks or even medical devices themselves,” Treloar states. “Research is showing that many people, including the elderly, like to engage with voice (rather than typing or swiping), and millennials will come to expect it.”
Orbita, provider of health care’s conversational AI platform, recently…