Implementation of AI in solving problematic healthcare challenges at various touch points of patient experience is an upgrading and effective tool in healthcare management. Improving patient experience clinically and personally has always been a key goal for the healthcare team. Today, AI is widely used clinically in terms of diagnosis and in management of the treatment. In future, with AI enabled services, every decision maker in the Healthcare chain will be better-informed, reducing the loopholes and leading to better patient outcomes.
Lot has been written on how to work for improvement in patient experience, how to engage patients, how to improve patient satisfaction, or how to apply lean management in emergency situation.
Today’s COVID-19 pandemic situation has made us think and take all possible actions that would help us to save as much as lives we can. It was beyond our imagination to break the ceiling and think of various solutions available around the world and apply the best fit to save people. It is available with the help of Artificial intelligence technology.
The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted the entire healthcare industry. It has lead to a stressful, unprecedented healthcare crisis that no one thought of. As healthcare redefines itself, patient experience is what will guide the industry towards right direction in future.Imagining today’s situation without digitisation would be kind of black and white movie. Digitisation is no more optional, it is the requirement of a bright future.
With increase in health awareness, the competitive business in healthcare sector has boomed. Experienced health providers and executives are aware of the fact that retaining the existing patients and attracting new patients via referrals, advertising or other ways of marketing is a challenging process.
Over-advertising also leads to reducing brand value, so an optimum way has to be carved out to have a good going. And one of the ways to carve out a positive way ahead is by providing valuable service leading to positive patient experience.
Managing the processes at hospital is challenging; to have a better control, we should focus on optimising patient experience touch points.Touch points are the interaction or contact spots between a healthcare provider and patient.
So it starts with a basic step of marketing whereby your patient gets to know about your service, with intermittent steps of treatment till the follow-ups of the patient recovery process. So it’s a short or long process depending on the illness, with many loopholes in management.
These loopholes are sometimes invisible to a healthcare provider, but can be easily traced by a patient. Thus, optimising the patient experience parameters by means of touch points eases out the process.
Let’s look at few AI-enabled services that are applied by some of the hospitals.
1. Real-time health monitoring: This is an innovative and highly alert system like the ones used by air traffic systems. This technology is used by some hospitals and is commonly observed in aerospace and aviation industry. It works as a centralised clinical command which is continuously monitored digitally.
Real-time monitoring helps patients and physicians to save their time by cutting down follow up checkups. All their vital health parameters such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, blood glucose, oxygen level, body temperature etc., can be digitally monitored through home sensors or smart watch sensors. This helps in getting real-time support whenever needed and thus helps in positive patient feedback.
Consider a wearable or microfluid sensor.They can be placed near the patients or at locations whereby risks of accidents are higher like near washrooms or staircase or in elevators. These sensors act as a real-time support tool to monitor the vital health parameters before any adverse consequences or it alerts healthcare service provider beforehand in case of emergencies.
For example, in 2014, the Cleveland Clinic launched an e-programme by enabling a clinical command centrenamed Bunker on the hospital’s main campus.
2. Support through health tips and knowledge: With Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, people are used to gettinginformation when and where they want. But in case of health, the data is so varied that coming to a conclusion is tedious. Nowadays, 80per cent of healthcare information is browsed on search engine. So getting health queries solved quickly using virtual assistant is a need.
Nextwe are going to look for a realtime access tool for medical knowledge. It will be an AI-powered, virtual care assistant that can answer or direct your queries directly to the most eligible person at the hospital. The questions related to diagnosis, treatment, recovery experiences, and medication schedules, can be answered by your virtual assistant tool. This helps in lowering the stress and frustration level thereby leading to better patient feedback.
This device can also act as a data repository, which stores patients’ medical history, lab results, consultation times;patients with similar case history can alsoshare their experience. This will not only help patients but also their families to manage their time.
For example,the Ohio State University’s (OSU) Wexner Medical Center, in collaboration with Epic Systems, created Epic’s MyChart and OSUMyChart, which are online applications for outpatients and inpatients, respectively. Figure 1
3. Managing documentation and patient flow: The most chaotic table at a hospital is a reception desk. It is observed that patients mainly get stressed out during documentation process because of various clinical questions. And thus most of the times, patients stumble during admission and discharge process leading to dissatisfaction.
Using machine learning, patient history and illness data can be configured withAI tools to create an online registration process. After registration, based on physician’s advice, thepatient will receive an AI-based customised welcome kit, that would help in directing patient experience.
This data can help in providing choices to patients on decisions such as type of hospital room, diagnostic choices, having non-medical support, stocking of medications or follow up plans after discharge, etc., based on socio-demographic profile of patientor family. One has to ensure that this is to simplify the choices and help in decision making.
For example, Ireland’s New Children’s Hospital (NCH), opening in 2021, is a hospital full of digital technologies.
4. On time delivery of medical needs: With COVID-19 we have realised that the supply of essential medicines around the globe is not that easy. Interoperability, data security, inefficient processes and delays in manual handling challenge the efficiency. This in turn also increases the cost, quality and data integrity issues.
AI-enabled blockchain technology is a revolutionary way to ease out operational management. The blockchain technology can be integrated in hospitals’ inventory management, whereby planning, purchasing, and tracking of inventory across supply chain can be taken care of. This way we can arrest counterfeit practices as well. This technology helps in tracking, tracing, monitoring the supply of inventory thereby reducing the operations of hospital inventory management and also ensuring on-time delivery of medical devices and medicines.
Post-pandemic, the healthcare services will redefine themselves and orient towards patient-centricity. Mapping patient experience manually would be a challenging and skilful job. But using integrated AItools to map patient experience will come in handy with other real-time access tools.
Incorporating artificial intelligence tools would be valued by hospital staff and patients as well. In future, we can look forward for healthcare services enabled with artificial intelligence to foresee available treatments to cure, length of hospital stays, manage patient flow and improve care delivery, and customise the post treatment follow-up calls.This type of healthcare service is efficient and more convenient for hospital management, doctors as well as patients and directly helps in improving patient experience across their patient journey.