How ChatGPT can help healthcare and other industries is consuming conversations far beyond patient and customer experience. As much as we are leading the charge about AI regulation, best practices, and guardrails, we are also seeing the opportunities to implement ChatGPT and other AI tools now that can positively impact patient experience and reduce physician burnout.
Today, we are looking at key ways artificial intelligence can help healthcare’s Quadruple Aim: to improve population health; reduce costs of care; improve provider satisfaction; and enhance patient experience. Think of these early-stage AI generated experience improvements as the low hanging fruit of what technology tools offer that resolve real painpoints for providers and patients.
Improving Population Health with ChatGPT
The aim of improving population health focuses on both the prevention and management of chronic diseases. Prevalent chronic diseases like diabetes and many others create significant costs for insurers, patients, and communities. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports ninety percent of the $4.1 trillion annual US healthcare expenditures are for individuals with chronic and mental health conditions. Artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT offer a variety of immediate, seamless opportunities to address this first component of the Healthcare Quadruple Aim.
Think of how an outpatient practice can use ChatGPT for care plans for patients with chronic conditions. Not only can it enable Healthcare Administrators to develop personalized health education pre and post-visit. It can help the physician create care plans at the patient level in real-time. Giving patients actionable, personalized plans that they can understand, works to create an environment in which the patient is not only more informed, but more motivated. And thus, better able to comply with medical advice and to demonstrate improve outcomes.
In fact, a study published in December 2022 on individualized care for older adults including those with diabetes, reveals a “significant relationship… between patients’ perceptions and support of individualized care.” It found that “effective communication was the main factor associated with support for individualizing care.”
As in our previous AI conversation about regulation and oversight, and understanding AI as a tool to leverage, we must remember that we are using AI to help build personalized experiences along the patient journey. That means these pre and post-visit correspondence are most effective when they are customized, interactive conversations.
We must make sure the patient experience strategy is baked into the communication. And to do so, we must ask tools like ChatGPT the right questions. And keep the Voice of the Patient central. This improves the quality of communication, which we know is key to building patient trust. It also improves the rate of engagement. And it lets the patient know we care. But AI only helps us do this if we help it deliver the responses our patients need.
Further, ChatGPT can enable greater personalization for patients by explaining how important it is to make lifestyle changes. And how to implement those changes in an easy-to-understand way. Consider how hard this is to achieve for your patients who do not speak English or a commonly translated language, like Spanish. Tools like the Whisper AI model offer an immediate, affordable way to translate instructions and recommendations at the end of visits.
In fact, these tools solve many of the translation problems encountered by the communities our clients serve. We can use them to translate all your communication into multiple languages in minutes! And, remember, you do not have to start with HIPPA-compliant documentation. Translate information about appointment times, visit prep, and basic follow-up instructions. All this eliminates painpoints on the patient experience end, frees up time and resources on the provider end, and contributes to increasing patient compliance, and ultimately improving patient outcomes. And overall population health.
Reducing Costs of Care
Getting patients to visit a PCP (Primary Care Provider), rather than taking a trip to the ER is vital to reducing the costs of care. As the Primary Care Collaborative states, “greater use of primary care is associated with lower costs,” in addition to “higher patient satisfaction, fewer hospitalizations and emergency department visits, and lower mortality.” But it’s not always easy to get patients in to see their primary care physicians. The more barriers we can remove from a patient experience perspective, the better able we are to keep patients away from unnecessary, costly emergency department visits.
This starts with easier scheduling, fast, seamless visit prep for patients, and a patient-centered preventive care experience that patients can navigate, understand, and participate in productively.
Visit Prep and Closeout
First off, leverage ChatGPT to make it easier to schedule appointments so patients do not give up and put off routine PCP visits. AI tools help operations administration close the loop on scheduling, confirmations, and no-shows. Automate personalized notifications to everyone on the schedule. These notifications should include what the patient needs to do for an upcoming visit. Think fasting blood test reminders and instructions on medical records or other information a patient needs to bring to the visit. AI tools enable the office to load these individualized messages with and automate delivery to the patient the day before the visit. Think of how many patients this helps in such a simple way. And how many frustrations it avoids.
Further, consider those instances (and they happen often) in which a patient forgets (or was never told) they need to prepare for a fasting blood test. That patient arrives at the office assuming they are prepped for the visit. Likely, this patient has taken time off work and made numerous schedule changes to make it to the appointment. But when they arrive, they learn the visit cannot go forward because they ate breakfast. Think about the ripple effect (and cost) of this miscommunication on provider, patient, and office staff. Now consider how easy it is to leverage technology tools to avoid it altogether.
Artificial intelligence tools can help solve painpoints at the end of the episode of care. Leverage tools to make sure the patient knows what happens next so they do not feel dropped at the close of the visit (whether in-office or telemedicine). Provide documentation and message alerts that recap the visit so the patient can understand and internalize what the doctor told them, and what they need to do after the visit.
Cost reduction opportunities are not limited to primary care practices. Hospital readmission is a significant driver of US healthcare costs, to the tune of $15 – 20 billion dollars annually. Here we see an ideal use case for a tool like ChatGPT or Whisper AI. When you discharge a patient from inpatient care, that patient is more likely to follow discharge instructions if they can read and understand those instructions.
Again, we see a case for real-time translation using ChatGPT. And we see the opportunity to use the ChatGPT tool to help us deliver more personalized, easy-to-understand language that is accessible to the unique patient at the time of discharge. With the right inputs, ChatGPT can almost instantly reproduce your instructions using a vocabulary and tone of voice that makes it easier for your patient to understand and follow the instructions that help protect their health and reduce the likelihood of readmission. You can also leverage AI tools to survey the patient’s readiness to leave and ascertain their Social Determinants of Health.
Improve Provider Satisfaction
Addressing provider burden and burnout by providing access to tools and resources is an important facet of the Quadruple Aim, and essential to overall employee and patient experience. As a tool that saves time and helps create value for healthcare, ChatGPT can ease the burdens that contribute to physician burnout.
Using ChatGPT and other AI tools like Google’s recently announced Med-PaLM2 as a digital scribe helps to streamline the medical transcription process and resolve a major painpoint for providers. Leveraging AI tools makes it possible to streamline information delivery to patients.
According to Google, “Med-PaLM 2 might be used to facilitate rich, informative discussions, answer complex medical questions.” And, as a language learning model, it helps to resolve the breakdown between complex medical jargon and easy-to-understand, actionable information for patients, while reducing the burden on providers. Med-PaLM, still in its testing and feedback stage, aims to “explore its utility to help draft short- and long-form responses and summarize documentation and insights from internal data sets and bodies of scientific knowledge.” This is right in line with what it takes to feed an effective, patient-centric experience. The future, it seems, is now. And the Quadruple Aim could be in our grasp now more than ever. Are you ready?
Enhance Patient Experience
As experience experts, this is, of course, a top priority for us. But also, as experience experts, we understand that each of the three preceding elements of the healthcare Quadruple Aim culminate in better patient experience.
That said, ChatGPT and other AI tools can have a direct, positive impact on individual and collective patient experiences both in outpatient and inpatient settings, and along the entire journey of an episode of care. To wrap up this conversation, let’s look at two common patient experience painpoint we can use ChatGPT to resolve.
Wait times are an easy-to-fix painpoint, with the help of technology tools. While wait time affects all aspects of the patient experience, let’s take a look at the televisit wait time specifically. Let’s say a provider is delayed in jumping into the visit. Use AI to engage directly with the patient during the wait, first to let the patient know the doctor is on the way. Then, leverage ChatGPT to use the time productively.
In this scenario, we are looking at ChatGPT as a patient companion, similar to the digital navigator we talk about in the travel experience context. With this technology, you can use the wait time to engage the patient in data verification, and to deliver updates and helpful information. Think of other ways to leverage artificial intelligence tools in this setting. What do your patients need in order to feel engaged and supported? How can your digital navigator serve them, and help you?
Confusion and Fear
A digital navigator shepherds the patient along the journey. Remember, clinicians hear and use medical terminology every day. Even though you passionately care about the wellbeing of your patients, you may deliver the daily language of your work in a dispassionate way. That’s human nature. But to a patient, even the language itself can be confusing. And the most routine visits can be charged with emotion. That means even though they are listening, patients do not always take in everything you are saying. And even though you gave them what they need to understand and act, they might need to hear it a few more times before they can take ownership of it.
In an ideal world, providers would sit with every patient for an hour, to get to this point. But we know the realities and the demands of the healthcare world are far from ideal. This technology helps bridge that gap. It lets you be in the room with the patient – or close to it – even after you have to leave to get to the next patient who is waiting.
Improving healthcare and achieving the Quadruple Aim is a long haul goal for the healthcare industry and those of us who help to support them in their mission. And the opportunities technology provides continue to inspire us to create the patient experiences of the future that providers and patients deserve.
As we continue to work towards our shared goals, reach out to us with all your healthcare AI questions. This is an exciting time, and we are eager to help you apply new ways of creating more human-centered experiences for your patients.