The healthcare industry across the world has entered an era of vulnerability. We are facing staff shortages, a cost of living crisis, and general anxiety among workers and patients. Maintaining a high standard of service has become increasingly challenging. 

However, there is excitement regarding advanced technology integration in healthcare. Healthcare providers across the world now have a chance to integrate conversational AI solutions and level up the game when gathering and analysing patient feedback. 

This further means that legacy systems of applying surveys to identify frictions have to be substituted with the innovation technology. But how ready is the healthcare industry for this transition? Our team talked about it to Leslie Pagel, Chief Evangelist Officer at Authenticx.

We typically cover CX stories from the software, retail, and telecom industries. However, doing CX in healthcare has different parameters, rules, and people served. Do you mind telling us which factors contribute to a positive patient experience in contrast to alternative industries mentioned?

The main contrast separating the patient experience in healthcare versus other industries starts with an understanding and realisation that in healthcare, the stakes are dramatically different. In healthcare, human lives and human well-being exist at the core of all services.

So, what does this high stakes environment mean when it comes to factors contributing to a positive patient experience? The difference is the scale of industry intersection. The patient experience includes medical, mental, and financial aspects; just to name a few. Other industries have the luxury of being able to focus on a singular area of experience. Healthcare is not afforded that same luxury. 

Taking into consideration the complexity of data integration across different areas, how do we measure the success of service in healthcare? What are some of the descriptive metrics you would emphasise?

One of the most valuable ways of measuring the success of service in healthcare is to listen to patient and customer interactions throughout their care experience. When they interact with healthcare entities, patients share valuable insights about their experience – including what they love and what troubles them. They also offer insights about their doctors and interactions with other personnel; feedback about scheduling and website experiences; or encounters with the business-side of healthcare.  

Healthcare organisations seeking a more comprehensive understanding of the successes and shortcomings of their CX must leverage more contextual tools (such as conversational intelligence). Conversational data measures the success of service by identifying friction, monitoring agent performance, assessing customer sentiment and evaluating the success of other relevant business objectives (e.g., brand values, detractors, contact resolution, etc.).  

Gartner predicts that more than 75% of organisations will abandon NPS by 2025. What contributes to the downfall of the NPS surveys in the healthcare industry?

Several factors are contributing to leaders rethinking NPS surveys in healthcare. Lower response rates, a lack of depth and patients’ general dislike of surveys have raised business concerns about the data’s veracity. 

There’s a growing challenge — driven in large part by skepticism — in leveraging surveys to demonstrate the business impact. Other elements contributing to this challenge include:

  1. NPS data’s inability to identify issues’ root causes — a necessity for driving business improvements. 
  2. NPS scores’ lack of a strong correlation to financial outcomes (depending on industry).
  3. NPS is a lagging indicator, not a leading indicator.  
  4. Technology has been specifically designed to harness and pull insights from conversational data that’s been stored (and ignored) within the organisation.

Will survey-based metrics disappear entirely? It’s difficult to say. Leadership still relies on this data for feedback and developing strategies. Executive leadership still requires over half of customer service and support leaders to measure and use NPS for pulling talking points and leveraging competitive positioning with investors.   

I think we will see healthcare organisations begin reducing their reliance on surveys as a core measure of CX. Especially as other tools and solutions — better able to capture the nuances of feedback necessary for improving CX — come to the market. 

What are the alternatives that healthcare leaders should keep in mind?

The data gathered from conversations offer more profound insights into healthcare customer experiences. By using AI and ML, conversational intelligence captures unsolicited, bi-directional data and provides a holistic look at CX. More than NPS and CSATs, conversational intelligence gets very granular to more effectively examine the root causes of customer issues. 

Because it uses AI and ML, unstructured data captures 100% of customer conversations. This generates in-depth insights and grants healthcare leaders access to the entire continuum of CX and satisfaction. Unlike NPS and CSATs which can only capture sentiment ‘in the moment,’ conversational intelligence gives healthcare organisations the complete picture. It can provide useful context to conversations between agents and patients. 

What can we expect to see when it comes to conversational intelligence and healthcare?

In the past, healthcare organisations didn’t have the means to manage the vast quantities of unstructured, complex data generated daily. But with conversational intelligence and other tech innovations, that’s changing. This now leads to deeper insights and more strategic decision-making.

These insights provide the opportunity to combine quantitative and qualitative data to tell a compelling story. By bringing data to life, people connect to concepts valuable and personal to them, which ultimately can be a powerful driver of action and strategic impact.  

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