Waste Not, Want Not: Automation's Impact on Patient Engagement

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A 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “Waste in the U.S. Health Care System,” found that administrative complexity is the leading cause of between $760 billion and $935 billion in total annual waste. To streamline operations and mitigate these escalating costs, healthcare organizations are quickly adopting Robotic Process Automation (RPA). 

The benefits of RPA are numerous. They include workforce rebalancing, increased throughput, improved claims administration and quality improvement. Unlike humans, who have their limits, RPA bots are tireless and able to process requests around the clock. They’re also impassive. 

As automation matures, innovation is being applied to address fluctuations in patient volume. The newest generation of chatbots and voice-based agents are easier to build, faster to deploy and more responsive to user inquiries. Operational savings can be significant for providers, even smaller practices, which might have been reluctant to incur the expense. But over and above, RPA can lead to a reduction in complaints and higher patient satisfaction levels, as well as more meaningful work for employees. 

Workplace automation has long been an integral component of contact center operations. Today, they’re often the first connection between potential patients and a healthcare system. On the front end, virtual agents are designed to process as many queries as possible before handing off to human agents. This reduces wait times for users and the burden on contact centers. For health systems, contact centers can generate an ROI of 3:1, driving system revenue and patient access concurrently. 

In natural-language processing, existing algorithms are still far from understanding the full context and nuance of conversation. But some contact center solutions can monitor tone and inflection and provide feedback in real-time. Such immediacy improves an agent’s softer skills -- the ability to connect and convey empathy. For hospitals, the payoff is an enhanced brand image attributable to sincerity in communication. 

This excerpt is a part of our healthcare trends brief, Beyond Words: Patient Engagement Makes Dollars and Sense 

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You can download the full brief here, or view other webinars, e-Books, white papers and more in our resource center, including: 


 

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