Today’s healthcare consumers are busy. They expect healthcare to provide them with the convenient, frictionless and personalized experience businesses in other industries offer.   

Although healthcare has typically been a little slow to adopt consumer-centric technology solutions, it has become a priority for most hospitals, health systems and physician practices — even FQHCs. Ninety percent of surveyed healthcare provider executives and 100 percent of surveyed chief marketing officers identified healthcare consumerism as a top priority for their companies. 

Patient engagement is one of the biggest components of healthcare consumerism. Patients who are fully engaged in their care are more likely to maintain treatment plans, track their health and ask their providers questions.  

Boosting patient engagement means regularly communicating with patients with information relevant to them. Although 85 percent of consumers believe personalized care is important, many indicate they aren’t receiving it, and 76 percent of patients find that frustrating. 

Automated technology solutions enable healthcare providers to deliver relevant and valuable messages at scale — while maintaining a personal level of communication. They allow them to engage patients effectively, meeting them where they are throughout their entire healthcare journey. 

Effective engagement and outreach help providers — and payers — proactively keep in touch with their patients and members before and after encounters without overextending already constrained staff and budgets. And, they utilize interactive messages to ensure patients seek and manage care more consistently, leading to better outcomes in the short- and long-term. 

Along with HIPAA-compliant two-way text messaging, conversational AI is being used by an increasing number of providers and payers to promote engagement and meet patients’ communication preferences. In this blog, we are highlighting six ways automated outreach is generating better outcomes amidst today’s complex healthcare landscape. 

1. Increasing Appointment Attendance

One of the simplest ways automated outreach improves outcomes is through automatic appointment reminders. Many patients miss appointments because of basic forgetfulness during a hectic week. 

Patients who miss appointments are more likely to remain in poor health. Historically, office staff attempted to call patients before appointments. This approach was not scalable, nor practical, considering the number of calls that would go unanswered. 

Automated text, voice and conversational AI agents can be customized to remind patients of upcoming visits at regular intervals. And, patients can designate which communication channel works best for them. This provides multiple options for patients to confirm or reschedule appointments in case their schedule changes, without further straining office staff resources. 

2. Driving Preventative Care

Preventative care is foundational to keeping patients healthy. But, a lack of reminders often results in poor follow-through with recommended care . To combat this, automated platforms can outreach to patients who are due or past due for care.  based on their medical  history. Driven by robust analytics, healthcare providers can target personalized messages to defined populations using automated outreach. This ensures patients receive relevant education and notifications about their individual risks and the benefits of preventative care. 

For example, only 37 percent of colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage, even though screening with a colonoscopy is associated with as much as a 69 percent decrease in new cases and an 88 percent decrease in the risk of death from it. Leveraging conversational AI and HIPAA-compliant texting enables providers to proactively engage priority populations and increase rate of completed screenings.

Adelante Healthcare, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) offering primary and multi-specialty care in Maricopa County, Arizona, leveraged Providertech to send automatic voice and text messages to patients for multiple population health campaigns, including colorectal cancer screenings. Through their diligent population health outreach, Adelante Healthcare saw a 7.5 percent increase in colorectal cancer screenings

3. Enhancing Chronic Disease Management

Chronic disease is one of the leading causes of death, disability and inflating healthcare costs in the United States. That is why helping patients with chronic conditions effectively manage their disease is critical to improving outcomes. 

Effective population health management requires engagement with patients, before, during and after medical appointments. Patients with chronic diseases want individualized treatment and tools for managing their condition, and automated outreach makes this possible. 

Information communicated through conversational AI can be tailored for a variety of common conditions, including heart disease, asthma, diabetes and cancer. This personalized outreach allows patients to receive information when and how they need it and delivers resources at scale to help patients understand how to best manage their chronic conditions  beyond the clinical setting. 

4. Improving Medication Adherence

Medication adherence is essential to positive health outcomes, especially for patients with chronic conditions. Many barriers to adhering to medication are within the control of the patient, as often patients forget to take medication or are uninformed of what the consequences are for not taking their medication. By automating communication, clinical teams can deliver personalized outreach to remind patients to take their medication, provide information on side effects and underscore the impact of non-compliance. 

5. Reducing Hospital Readmissions

The average hospital readmission rate in the United States is 14.5 percent, although readmissions range from  11.2 to 22.3 percent.  Hospital readmissions are problematic because they lead to poor clinical outcomes, reduced patient satisfaction and an increased length of stay. 

Hospital administrators are already aware of the financial impact of a high rate of readmissions. Many, though, struggle to lower their numbers in this area, resulting in a payment cut for each Medicare payment. 

By reducing readmissions, hospitals have the opportunity to lower costs, improve quality and increase patient satisfaction. An essential component of reducing hospital readmissions is educating patients about their follow-up care through post-discharge instructions and ongoing communication to help them monitor their condition at home. 

Conversational AI enables healthcare providers to implement educational communication at scale, delivering customized messages to patients based on their unique conditions while supporting and navigating patients through their post discharge period. . In addition, reminding patients of post-discharge instructions at regular intervals can help patients stay on top of their recovery. 

6. Strengthening the Patient-Provider Relationship

Trust is key to a strong patient-provider relationship. Automated outreach is elevating patient outcomes through tailored communication between patients and their care teams. 

When healthcare providers invest in automated outreach to communicate with patients, these individuals are more likely to engage and respond in between appointments. With less time spent reminding patients of appointments or tests manually, providers can focus on quality care while minimizing administrative tasks. 

Automated message delivery ensures patients understand what they need to do to take good care of their health. Patients just need a simple nudge— reminders to attend appointments, seek out routine care and screenings and adhere to their care plan, including medication. 

At Providertech, our clinical team can help you create a customized outreach strategy to support your patients by navigating them along their healthcare continuum. We’ll also aid you in enhancing patient engagement goals by giving your patients improved access to their clinical support teams using secure, real-time HIPAA-compliant conversational AI and two-way texting. Check out the interactive demo of our conversational AI platform for patient engagement, and contact us to learn more about it.