How AI is reshaping the future of the patient-provider experience
The greater our understanding and familiarity with Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes in healthcare, the greater the magnitude of its impact on the patient and provider experience as a whole. The adoption of AI technology and applications has already shown its powerful transformative potential in how healthcare is delivered, received and trusted by both patients and practitioners.
AI intersects with the healthcare industry on every level from appointment scheduling and two-way automated correspondence to the testing, diagnosing and treatment processes.
AI can greatly impact the credibility and value that a practice possesses by streamlining patient touch-points, creating efficient communication patterns and the safe, proactive use of patient data. KLAS shows that 83% of patients describe poor communication as the worst part of the patient experience in 2020, emboldening the need and desire for effective and consistent patient-provider correspondence.
Covid-19 has ignited discourse surrounding the disconnection, loneliness and increased feelings of depression that have cascaded across the world as a result of reduced social interaction. A 2020 KFF Health Survey illustrated that 53% of US adults reported that their health has been negatively affected as a result of stress and isolation due to the pandemic.
As we continue to navigate AI and our shared experience of living through this pandemic, AI will continue to cultivate the patient/provider experience in the following ways:
- Collaborative communication
Automated patient communication and information collection can considerably free up time and energy spent on tedious, time-consuming tasks such as appointment booking, reminders, dealing with no-shows and payment remittances.
According to a study by the Annals of American Medicine, doctors spend only 27% of their time with patients and the remaining 49.2% dealing with paperwork.
This allocation of time considerably interferes with physicians’ ability to create a trusting, collaborative relationship with their patients — one where a patient’s needs, goals and lifestyle are perceived as valued.
When this type of relationship is established, patients tend to become more involved and proactive in their healthcare journey. They are more likely to value the credibility of their practitioner and adherence to their treatment regime.
- Increased accessibility to healthcare
Virtual and telehealthcare supported by AI enable patients to perform critical tasks from home without the time, expenses and inconvenience of transport. This is especially critical for patients who live in remote areas.
Intake forms, symptom-checks, Covid-19 pre-screening and submissions of updated health care information can all be performed immediately from home with the assistance of AI.
Virtual and telehealth appointments have increased value as a result of the pandemic and patients are on board. According to a survey by Deloitte, 57% of patients are willing to try remote health care and 77% of patients report a high level of satisfaction with it.
AI’s real-time transmission of information between patients and practices helps practitioners be more well-prepared and grant more time for patients they see online and virtually.
2. Streamlined and secure data collection
Trust in the protection of sensitive medical information is of significant importance to patients. In an Accenture survey, 38% of patients expressed concern about data security in digital healthcare platforms.
While this concern is entirely valid, AI can help spot and prevent damaging breaches of online privacy by:
- Analyzing network behavior in real-time
- Immediately flagging suspicious activity
- Monitoring data patterns and flow
- Maintaining an in-depth analysis of historical data
- Assisting in launch counter-attacks to breaches
According to a Gartner survey, more than 40% of privacy compliance technology will rely on AI by the end of 2023.
3. Accelerated patient treatment
The rapid speed that AI can process information has already proven valuable across different fields of medicine from family medicine, to diagnostic radiology, to complex surgical operations.
AI’s ability to extensively store both new and historical data enables it to interpret the needs of a patient with greater urgency. According to Forbes, AI technology has accelerated the diagnosis process with advanced image scanning — an MIT-developed AI algorithm can currently analyze 3D scans up to 1,000 times faster than existing review systems.
Mechanical medical instruments and tools programmed with AI can also help instruct physicians to achieve optimal results during treatments. The reduced time traditionally needed to analyze and assess this information can drastically enhance the volume of patients treated, therefore progressing their path to improved health.
4. More meaningful patient and practitioner engagement
AI’s power to simplify and speed up healthcare communications, diagnoses and applied treatments is inextricably linked with the quality of care patients receive and that practitioners can offer.
In a Deloitte survey, more than 50 percent of respondents expressed they would switch providers due to inadequate information-sharing and communication, and difficulty in accessing a health professional by phone or email. On the flip-side, a Medscape report revealed that 44% of physicians report experiencing burnout.
The demand for stronger physician engagement is high and clearly necessary to the needs of patients. With stronger automated tools in place, healthcare professionals can dismiss additional responsibilities that only burden them with greater pressure.
AI can assist with protecting the health of a healthcare team, which inevitably translates to offering more robust, engaged and impactful care to the patients that they interact with every day.
According to Greater Good Magazine published by the University of California Berkeley, human empathy and compassion are directly linked to building trust and improving recovery rates. Burnout prevents providers from having the capacity to offer this to patients. However, with AI streamlining, these feelings of overwhelm have the potential to transform into feelings of empowerment that positively impact the health of patients.
As a digital communications and information processing tool, AI and its continuous adoption in the healthcare industry will inherently have a growing impact on the patient and provider experience. We’re only just beginning to learn how to harness the power of AI in ways that cultivate stronger healthcare systems — and ensure that the value of connection akin to the human condition is not lost but rather nurtured in its use among healthcare providers.
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