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AI in Healthcare Contact Centers: Patient Care from Virtual Agents

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Expectations for individual patient care have increased. Patients want to feel seen and heard by their providers. They also want to trust that those providers work in unison based on their individual needs and ongoing care. These changes have forced healthcare contact centers to reevaluate the tools they use to interact with patients to improve experiences.

Healthcare providers plan to double down on their digital tool investments in 2022 to improve operations and patient experiences. However, this goal comes with the need to modernize healthcare call center solutions and patient care experiences.

Modernization can look different for organizations, but intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) are at the forefront of this evolution. IVAs meet patient preferences, support healthcare contact center agents, and lower costs for organizations.

Current State of the Healthcare Contact Center 

Healthcare contact centers handle both inbound and outbound calls for providers. These call centers are often a patient's first point of contact with their healthcare provider. They offer the first opportunity to learn a person's medical history and provide individual patient care.

The effects of the pandemic drastically impacted hospitals and healthcare workers, including healthcare contact center agents. In response to this crisis, the healthcare industry has increased the use of telehealth and other digital healthcare call center solutions to provide care.

In tandem with these events, "healthcare systems face a growing demand for services, rising costs, and a workforce that is struggling to meet patient needs." AI tools that automate tasks are leading solutions to healthcare call center challenges because of the benefits they provide to operations. 

Benefits of AI Healthcare Call Center Solutions

AI tools, particularly IVAs, have the "potential to transform how healthcare is delivered" by alleviating the current stressors healthcare contact centers face. Some of these stressors include staffing challenges, high call volumes, and more.

An IVA is an AI-enabled communication tool that generates personalized responses to users. IVAs use intelligent tools to understand human nuance and continuously gather information during interactions. This capability is beneficial in healthcare settings where callers have unique health concerns and call center agents strive to provide quality individual patient care. 

Research by McKinsey & Company, quoted above, shows that AI has a direct positive impact on the patient. Therefore, IVAs should be top of mind when evaluating healthcare call center solutions due to three key benefits:

  1. Improved population-health management through increased access to personalized care via self-service options. IVAs can also connect patients to live agents who can support more complex health needs or questions.
  2. Improved operations by helping human agents field calls. This results in cost savings related to IT resources and staffing. It also enables the healthcare contact center to support more patients.
  3. Strengthened innovation through the healthcare contact center's use of automation and intelligent tools to track and report data about the patient to the team of providers. 

How to Improve Patient Care with IVAs

Today, the stakes are high for a healthcare contact center to provide personalized care for every patient. Approaching how to improve patient care can be daunting when hospitals and contact centers are short-staffed. However, healthcare providers must plan for and anticipate the future needs of patients to be long-term partners in their care.

Before implementing an IVA to improve care, it is important to understand your patients and identify their needs. This includes their health needs, communication preferences, and even technology aptitude. These elements are just a cursory glance of what is required to design an effective IVA tool for your patients. Mosaicx helps organizations create detailed plans to ensure the IVA will best support operations and individual patient care.

IVAs have various use cases, so it is wise to determine the high return on investment areas. The Mosaicx team can lead this process and identify roadblocks that could hinder ROI. For example, one roadblock to providing personalized care is having the right resources to meet patients' expectations. If the healthcare contact center faces staffing challenges, the organization would want to design and deploy the IVA to automate tasks for callers and truly supplement its existing employees. This could include leveraging the IVAs to offer self-service options, 24/7 nurse call lines, and personalized automation.

A few self-service use cases for healthcare contact centers include scheduling and confirming appointments, managing prescription refills, providing clinic directions, and facilitating bill payment. Patients can navigate and resolve these needs in just a few clicks or spoken words. However, if the situation ever evolves in complexity, the IVA will route the caller to a live agent to ensure the best care. 

For the IVA to truly improve patient care, the healthcare contact center needs to understand the use cases the tool will support and then set rules for the technology. These rules might include when to direct calls to a live agent based on specific keywords or phrases or when to send communications to patients based on past interactions and experiences. The organization and provider can update the IVA's rules as patients' needs evolve.

Mosaicx Driving Improved Individual Patient Care

Healthcare contact centers can rest easy knowing that IVAs relieve agents of significant burdens and contribute to cost savings. IVAs offer a future-proof solution to the stressors healthcare contact centers face today and could confront down the road. 

Mosaicx expands automation capabilities for healthcare organizations and makes quality individual patient care a cost-effective reality. Mosaicx simplifies implementation and design to create a unique experience for the organization and, most importantly, the patient. 

Every organization in the healthcare sector might approach its modernization efforts differently. However, armed with a greater understanding of patients' needs and available technology, healthcare contact centers can use IVAs to improve individual patient care. 

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