Healthcare industry is poised to raise patient engagement to the next level with Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) or Medical virtual assistants (MVAs). Patient engagement is one strategy to improve health outcomes and better patient care at lower costs. Research shows that providers, payers, and physician groups are expected to spend more than $69 billion on healthcare-related IT in the current year 2017.

Medical virtual assistants (MVAs) aids a healthcare organization to collect demographic information, insurance details, patient health history, finance/costing, procurement details, data mining and analysis of all the records.

Further MVAs facilitate healthcare organizations to reallocate their IT and human resources to overcome the rising health IT costs. This in turn assist the organizations to increase healthcare quality, patient satisfaction, and patient outcome with the same or fewer number of employees.

Patients, most importantly, need their health-related queries answered to help them stay on track. Employing patient-centered virtual health assistants designed by companies like Amazon, IBM Watson, Microsoft to respond to voice or text questions through mobile devices, gives patients 24/7 access to current information, specific to their age, financial ability, literacy, and more. It is observed that increasing patient engagement and improving self-management skills for chronic disease will greatly reduce healthcare inefficiencies.

Virtual assistants empower patients using web and mobile based interactivity and tools, to effectively accomplish online health goals. A wide range of organizations are integrating intelligent virtual assistants as their core technology to enhance the healthcare consumer experience, increase efficiencies, energize mobile engagement, and improve wellness participation rates.

MVAs and Real-Time, Real-World Data in Healthcare

Virtual assistants are the combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence that combine strong decision support systems and leverages big data, natural language processing and voice recognition. These features are part of the reason why virtual assistants have proven to engage consumers.

Virtual assistants are the combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence that combine strong decision support systems and leverages big data, natural language processing and voice recognition. These features are part of the reason why virtual assistants have proven to engage consumers.

Voice enabled VA will change delivery of healthcare to patient’s through

  • Navigate electronic health records
  • Navigate diagnosis & prescription options
  • Improve access to data health records
  • Improve patient discharge & follow up treatments
  • Improve communication between providers

The following are 5 ways VA technologies can enhance patient engagement within healthcare organizations:

1. Automated calling systems and interactive voice response systems (IVRs).

Virtual assistants are increasingly used for tracking patient’s pre- and post- treatments. By adopting text and voicemail confirmation to a prior appointment, VA’s can eliminate cancellations and reduce the outstanding bills. Using Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) implementation for clinical settings, healthcare organizations are using MVA due to the rising popularity of AI, Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing, and speech recognition applications in smartphones.

2. MHealth apps

Healthcare providers are encouraging patients to use their smart devices to track fitness progress, do their payments and schedule many of their day-to-day activities. Some of the mHealth apps on platforms like Amazon Echo, equipped with VA’s encourage patients to use their mobile devices to order refills, confirm appointments, track their health, and fill up any forms ahead of their appointments.

Fitness devices like Fitbit are enabling patients to track their health parameters like heart rate, BP etc. which is uploaded to the portals that can be accessed by the patients easily through the virtual assistants.

3. Patient portals and Health Kiosks

Adoption of patient health portals is still growing at a modest rate. Ideally, online portals with virtual assistants would be where all patients go to confirm appointments, fill out their medical and social history form, update health records, view lab results, and pay any outstanding balances using voice and text recognition technologies.

Kiosks have great potential for collecting patient information through an integrated VoIP system. Though its available in multiple forms (free-standing kiosks, tablets, and laptops), the health IT infrastructure still needs to provide data security and integrity of the collected data.

4. Discrete data

MVAs can interact with patients and digitally capture their information. The information can be repeated and verified in real time using cloud technologies and IoT connected devices. So when a patient interacts with the virtual assistant, a query to a medication hub is checked and compared against any information previously stored in the facility’s database. Once everything is confirmed, then all that information is processed and populated into the EHR system without any need for paper records.

5. Anytime access from anywhere

For many people in the aging population, it is far more effective to have verbal communication along with visual interaction, instead of a phone call or electronic communication. MVAs can be accessible via websites, smartphones, tablets and PCs. These systems can recognize returning patients and remember recent interactions.