As anyone who works in healthcare knows, today’s patients want more than the basics of treatment. They expect their experience with your healthcare facility to be convenient for them, seamless, and completely transparent. Therefore, it’s crucial for healthcare providers to understand the stresses and frustrations patients experience through the various stages of their journey with your facility and to explore ways to address those issues using the best technology available. These requirements point to the voice channel, which not only provides the flexibility to consistently deliver great experiences, but also has the benefit of being a channel patients are used to and often prefer.
The operational side of your healthcare facility also has needs that can be addressed by automation. HIPAA compliance and data security are critically important, so automated IVR applications can generate HIPAA-compliant and secure communications that deliver the personalized experience patients expect. Automated customer service solutions can also reduce the number of administrative tasks your staff needs to do by hand, which frees them to focus more on patient outcomes.
Along those lines, let’s enumerate the cost savings. Automation within the voice channel has been shown to reduce costs from an average of $5-10 for a call placed by an employee to less than 15 cents for an automated call. In addition, automated and proactive reminders can help keep your facility out of statistics like
- Missed appointments cost the U.S. healthcare system hundreds of billions each year.
- A single missed appointment each workday can cost a healthcare provider anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 each year.
With all these benefits in mind, healthcare facilities are already using AI-based phone applications to automate such processes as the following:
Real-Time Test Results
Waiting to learn their test results can be frustrating at best for patients and truly stressful at worst. You can program your customer service automation tool to present patients with test results as soon as they’re available, often through the channel of their choice. In addition, you can easily include the option of connecting directly to a nurse or other healthcare provider if patients have questions about their results.
Similarly, you can automate the dissemination of prescription information. This may include things such as reminding patients of the name of their medication, their current dosage, the number of remaining refills, and the name(s) of generic alternatives. Integration with other healthcare systems can also enable patients to order prescription refills.
Real-Time Billing Information
Many patients find it challenging to carve time out of their busy days to dig through their various statements to understand, consolidate and take action on their healthcare bills. Your automation solution can provide your patients access to real-time billing information such as current balances, credits, upcoming charges or payment plans at their convenience; payment apps can be integrated to allow them to seamlessly transfer and make a payment while they’re on the phone.
Appointment Scheduling and Reminders
Surveys have shown that most patients would appreciate their healthcare providers proactively sending them appointment reminders. While this could be as simple as providing patients the date, time, location and name of the provider of the next appointment, customer service automation solutions can also be programmed to remind patients of any specific instructions or preparations for the appointment, such as bringing certain medical history information or fasting a certain number of hours. In addition, apps can seamlessly provide the opportunity to schedule new appointments, or to reschedule or cancel existing appointments. This is especially helpful to patients who need to call outside of regular business hours.
Here’s a benefit just for your operational efficiency: Your customer service automation tool can also be programmed to serve as an asset locator within your medical facility. Since medical equipment can be both specialized and expensive, many facilities can afford a only a certain number of specific pieces. Automation enables you to assign an ID to each piece of equipment and room in your facility; your providers can then call a number, input the device ID, and get the current location of any piece of equipment.
Quick Case Studies
Healthcare providers can and currently do use customer service automation in all these ways. Here are a couple quick summaries of how healthcare providers saw success with an IVR solution:
- A large public hospital system needed to follow up with discharged patients in order to reduce readmission rates, and they opted to adopt a voice-based customer service solution. By using an IVR platform, they automated calls inquiring into patients’ potential symptoms and could connect patients to a nurse, if necessary, all within the same call. Automating this process enabled the hospital to reach a larger number of patients in a shorter period of time, which helped to accelerate post-discharge symptom triage and reduce hospital readmit rates. The facility is now in the process of developing and launching additional voice applications to serve a wider range of patient needs.
- A major healthcare payment processing company needed a completely reliable but also an easy-to-manage automated payment solution. Using a development platform, their team got an application built, tested and pushed it into production in a matter of weeks. That ease of use, facilitated by the platform’s easy user interface, is “the number one thing you have going for you, by far,” their project manager told Plum.
Consider Plum Fuse
If you’re looking for a solution that could benefit your company in ways similar to these studies, we invite you to consider the omnichannel Fuse+ platform. Not only is it both HIPAA- and PCI-compliant, it also provides an intuitive call flow editor that lets you create IVR voice applications without coding. Just as importantly, Fuse can help you give patients more control over their healthcare, establish greater transparency, and eliminate any frustrations within their customer journey. And here’s what our clients have said about our success:
- 100% of surveyed healthcare organizations partnered with Plum Voice to combat challenges with supporting higher uptime SLAs
- 83% of surveyed organizations rated Plum’s reliability as best-in-class vs. competitors
- 75% of surveyed healthcare organizations rated Plum Voice’s account management team as 5 out of 5 stars
We know Plum Fuse can improve efficiencies at your healthcare facility – and enhance patient experiences. And we’re willing to prove it to you: Contact us today to begin your free trial.