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How generative AI can improve the patient experience

September 08, 2023
Business Affairs Health IT
Patty Hayward
By Patty Hayward

It seems that every week we’re reading about breakthroughs in generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4 and Google’s Bard. With the ability to create content like text, images, audio, and video, generative AI algorithms are being explored across multiple industries, including finance, education, online publishing, and healthcare.

Generative AI has the potential to transform healthcare and other industries. At this point, however, the existing limitations and flaws of this nascent technology introduce compliance and ethical problems that limit the use cases currently available to healthcare organizations.
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Not only does generative AI often produce inaccurate content, but it also can invent facts that don’t exist in the real world. This makes generative AI outputs suspect in clinical settings and thus poorly suited for use by physicians at the point of care.

Generative AI also raises concerns surrounding patient privacy and lack of governance. These concerns eventually should be overcome as generative AI technologies evolve and mature. For now, though, healthcare organizations probably shouldn’t apply generative AI to clinical use cases without firm guardrails and restrictions.

Nonetheless, there is one area of healthcare where generative AI can help provider organizations right now: the contact center. In a report on getting the most out of this technology in healthcare today, Bain & Company cites “call center and chatbot support” as viable areas where generative AI can benefit provider organizations and their patients.

The patient experience
The right contact center can deliver a superior patient experience that increases loyalty to healthcare providers. Patients can use a provider’s contact center to make and change appointments, get information, request prescription refills, pay invoices, and more.

It is not unusual for patients to interact more with the provider contact center than individual clinicians. The quality of a patient’s experience with a contact center may determine whether that individual stays with the provider group or seeks greener pastures.

But far too many healthcare organizations struggle with factors that compromise contact center effectiveness, to the detriment of both patients and agents. For starters, there are high levels of turnover among contact center workers across all industries. A survey of contact center professionals by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) shows that 57% of respondents reported higher turnover in 2022 than in the prior year.

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