The Power of Words: AI Helps Healthcare Professionals Choose Their Words Wisely

Opinion
Article

Conversational artificial intelligence offers healthcare organizations a powerful tool to reconcile what their customers need with how the information is delivered.

Leslie Pagel is the chief evangelist at Authenticx.

Leslie Pagel is the chief evangelist at Authenticx.

Words hold power. They can escalate or ease a situation. They can bring joy or pain, clarity or confusion. Words affect customer perceptions.

Consider this scenario: A patient worried about an emergent health issue calls their provider. The call center agent says, “There’s nothing we can do, so we’ll have to refer you on.”

Wouldn’t it be so much better — and ease a patient’s worry — if the response instead was, “If your primary care can’t assist, we’ll connect you to a provider specializing in treating your area of concern.”

Granted, many factors contribute to the disparity in agent responses.

But one tool exists to help agents choose their words wisely: conversational AI (artificial intelligence)

Conversational AI allows healthcare organizations to listen at scale. Through artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML), healthcare organizations can analyze all of the hundreds, thousands and millions of conversations happening each day inside their organization. It has become the most valuable source of business intelligence a company has about its customers.

One of the outcomes it delivers is helping healthcare choose its words wisely.

The language of hearing and speaking

Healthcare’s language is already confusing, with medical jargon associated with the precise, technical language used to describe complex medical conditions, treatments and procedures. Although it is necessary for accuracy, medical jargon can confuse patients.

How much better would patients and their families feel if their questions were answered clearly, in detail — and with the patient’s emotional state acknowledged?

Patients and families are already anxious and fearful when facing medical unknowns. This state of mind affects their ability to absorb and understand complicated information.

About 25% of healthcare customers get stuck somewhere along their customer journey and must keep returning to a healthcare organization in search of help to overcome different obstacles. Top challenges they face include:

  • Confusion about billing or payment status.
  • Puzzlement about the explanation of benefits.
  • Communication breakdowns in status updates from their healthcare providers.

Conversational AI offers healthcare organizations a powerful tool to reconcile what their customers need with how the information is delivered. Understanding what customers are saying and how contact center teams respond enables these healthcare organizations to support their customers and the agents serving them. It’s a win-win.

Conversational AI speaks everyone’s language

Words hold incredible importance in healthcare. Conversational AI can analyze exponentially more conversations compared to humans, allowing leaders to gather patient feedback and help healthcare organizations improve safety and quality, resource allocation and, ultimately, the patient experience.

This technology aggregates data by listening to customer voices at scale and identifying, analyzing and diagnosing problems. It leverages a vast amount of data that often goes stored and ignoredto empower leaders to identify and implement actionable solutions. Conversational AI highlights customers' stories and where change must happen, delivering new insights to healthcare leaders. The tool evaluates hundreds of thousands of calls every month to:

  • Learn where customers get stuck.
  • Identify the root cause of issues.
  • Find trending topics.
  • Reveal what is working.

One of conversational AI’s most valuable contributions? Pinpointing areas of improvement and opportunities to enhance services, train agents and better equip them to help those calling for assistance.

Words matter

When healthcare professionals choose their words wisely, customers can move through their customer journey more seamlessly.

Callers are often anxious, worried, confused and coping with physical and emotional pain. An agent offering the right words — at the right moment — provides powerful support to customers and generates meaningful insights for healthcare organizations.

With AI, agents can grow their skills and deliver a better customer experience. AI-poweredtechnology can assess written and spoken communication, identifying areas for agent improvement in clarity, tone and effectiveness. It can help individuals recognize emotion in themselves and others, provide feedback on how effectively someone responds to emotional cues and offer strategies for improving emotional intelligence.

AI-powered platforms can track progress and recommend ongoing skill-building exercises to ensure continuous learning and foster cumulative improvement. AI provides access to listen and categorize conversations as additional data points to help agents grow skills at different stages, like onboarding or through coaching.

In a world driven by digital transformation, words still matter.

Conversational AI is one more tool to help humans understand humans. Listening to the voice of the customer empowers healthcare organizations to train their agents to deliver customer service with empathy and a problem-solving mindset.

Leslie Pagel is chief evangelist at Authenticx.

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