Beginning in March 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry had experienced a significant healthcare crisis that left global citizens yearning for an improved healthcare system and solutions. This new and modern need for modern healthcare solutions saw a golden opportunity for conversational AI to expand into the industry and make improvements.
The quick adoption of virtual assistants within the healthcare industry has been vastly impacted by factors such as limited healthcare resources, a rise in chronic diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges regarding cost optimization while simultaneously improving the overall patient experience, innovation in AI, NLP, speech recognition, and machine learning, mobile or cloud-first approaches, integration of chatbots specific to social media platforms, and many other initiatives by healthcare organizations.
While the future of healthcare is incredibly optimistic due to many technological advancements, there is still a pandemic happening worldwide. With this on top of everyday challenges within the healthcare industry, utilizing conversational AI to improve practices is needed now more than ever. Below, we will examine six of the most common challenges within the global healthcare sector and explain how conversational AI can help.
#1. Digital Transformation and Interoperable Data
COVID-19 has been a driving force for the adoption of digital healthcare. According to a study by Deloitte, almost 65% of EU healthcare providers said their practices had expanded their adoption of digital technologies to support providers’ ways of working safely. The study also found that 64% had broadened their use of technology to provide support and engagement with patients.
Both of these have a significant impact on the provider-patient relationship and are helping to manage the transition from traditional, standardized clinical procedures to a more personalized form of medicine. Utilizing AI allows practitioners to provide real-time care, interventions, and support to change patient behavior and patterns when necessary.
#2. Socioeconomic Shifts
Some research says that nearly 80% of health outcomes are affected by social, economic, and environmental factors. Social determinants regarding health include one’s physical environment, food and diet, infrastructure, economy, wealth, employment, education, social connections, and safety.
Conversational AI has increasingly recognized the global need to focus on underserved and underrepresented populations and advocate for them with local and national governments to change policies and create programs to assist them. These programs need to be publically available, with easy access for all you need. They must advocate for holistic well-being and equip citizens with the proper information and tools to excel.
For the past (nearly) two years, there has been an increased spotlight on the profound impact systematic racism can have on a person and community’s health and well-being.
#3. Work and Talent
Conversational AI is assisting in discovering and developing new staff (clinical and non-clinical). It is helping to source new team members, train new and existing staff, and allow for international staff due to remote-working capabilities. This introduction of modern business models, exponential technology, and agile ways of working the pandemic and conversational AI has become the catalyst to a future of work and talent in healthcare that otherwise may have taken years to attain.
This increased use of technology has trained healthcare professionals in a way never done before. Staff must learn to accommodate virtual, and telehealth patient needs in what many call a “webside manner.” Many companies hire team members who have blended knowledge of the healthcare and technology industries. Some require specific education requirements, training in genomics, AI/ML, and NLP, knowledge of data analysis, critical judgment skills, and proficiency in interpreting reports and risk scores have also been highly desired by many healthcare organizations looking to expand their teams.
#4. Consumers and the Human Experience
Consumers are helping to accelerate virtual healthcare visits and integrate conversational AI within their healthcare experiences. Especially over the past couple of years, consumers have had an uptake in ownership of their health and data. They deserve clear and concise information regarding their treatment, long-term care, and costs pertaining to their health. They have been more engaged than ever, vastly due to the convenience and simplicity of telehealth visits and conversational AI integrations that can streamline traditionally tedious processes that occur with in-person healthcare visits.
Many consumers will continue to utilize telehealth and telemedicine even when the pandemic seems to subside. Besides virtual checkups and check-ins, patients have been and will continue to use technology to monitor their health, measure fitness, reorder prescriptions, and much more.
Since March 2020, collaboration has been profound. Healthcare providers are likely to continue to struggle with supply chain issues into the new year as well, as cases continue to surge, recede, and rise again. Collaboration must be prioritized to meet patient needs. Types of collaborations needed include:
- Data platforms and analytics.
- Disruptive entrants.
- Public/private partnerships.
- Health systems as a platform.
Ecosystems that enable live data and analytics and serve as centers for education, prevention, and treatment are crucial to the industry. They must connect customers to virtual, home, in-office care providers. Increased collaboration creates improved trust between patients and healthcare professionals.
#6. Care Model Innovation
Getting exceptional healthcare to consumers even though the current landscape is changing drastically in terms of service and care transformation, ubiquitous adoption of virtual care, workforce reimagined, new partnerships and markets, emerging disruptors, and health equity. The focus is changing from acute care to prevention and managing and maintaining overall well-being. The transition from standardized clinical protocols to a more personalized way of practicing medicine is desired by modern consumers and patients.
Financially, value-based, outcome-focused tactics and universal coverage are highly valued and coveted by global citizens. Conversational AI is aiding in this and regularly makes financial operation and performance improvements.
Conversational AI is constantly changing the healthcare landscape and modernizing how healthcare is delivered. Costs are rising, and there must be a stronger emphasis on value-based care and prioritizing patient time, care, and expenses. As healthcare continues to shift to become more consumer-driven, providers must adapt their approaches to delivering care while simultaneously reducing costs and guaranteeing compliance. Conversational AI can assist in these challenges and make the transition smoother for everyone involved.
View this infographic and learn how conversational AI can improve customer experience, increase productivity, and reduce overhead in Healthcare.