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Digital front door chatbot improves the patient experience at Aspire Indiana Health

Aspire Indiana Health, based in Noblesville, prioritizes the patient experience in all of its implemented workflows and systems.

THE PROBLEM

Before considering a chat solution, the health system had high call volumes, and staff was spending a considerable amount of time consistently answering the same questions. A patient’s journey can be complex and certainly varies, but staff believe it is their inherent duty to support each unique patient journey to the best of their ability. 

“We took the time to critically think about our current process for handling patient inquiries and found any single patient could be asking questions about programs – recovery services, housing options, primary care, behavioral health services – in a single conversation,” said Demetrius Dillard, director of information systems and technology at Aspire Indiana Health.

“Additionally, every patient has questions about scheduling an appointment and insurance coverage, or how to access their patient portal,” he continued. “We came to realize very quickly that there was no single source of truth for our patients navigating our system and we wanted to streamline all of these inquiries by providing a medium for patients to access general information quickly and easily.”

PROPOSAL

The Aspire Indiana Health team turned to Botco.ai, a digital front door chatbot technology vendor.

“The vendor offered a solution that had the potential to centralize our scheduling resources, provide dynamic answers based on specific insurance questions, and offer location-specific information like programs available and housing options,” Dillard explained.

“Our chatbot, named Ava, has handled more than 2,000 unique conversations and more than 6,000 incoming questions from potential patients and current patients alike, all with a greater than 97% confidence level.”

Demetrius Dillard, Aspire Indiana Health

“One of the most important features for us was that the chat experience could consistently handle these questions regardless of when a patient wanted to chat,” he added. “Being available to patients 24/7 is arguably the most crucial component of the healthcare journey a provider can provide their patients. It also was important to us that Botco.ai had the potential to connect with our current scheduling tools and electronic health record systems.”

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

The vendor’s chatbot solution enables meaningful conversations with every patient that comes to the health system’s website while decreasing the amount of time the scheduling and admissions team has to spend on the phone, Dillard said.

“We have a small team doing big work, so any routine tasks and questions that the chatbot is able to handle allows our admissions and scheduling team to focus on the most impactful work possible,” he added.

Botco.ai operates as an extension of many departments, answering questions including but not limited to: how to begin services, insurance coverage, appointment scheduling, telehealth, behavioral health, addiction services, employment and housing, recovery services, and residential and outpatient treatment services.

“The chat experience is able to provide answers to questions that every potential patient has surrounding services and insurance that, in the past, could only be answered over the phone,” Dillard said. “Chat allows us to provide a direct line to patients and the care they’re seeking, any day or hour they may need it.”

Two critical components of the chat capabilities for current Aspire Indiana Health patients include the ability to schedule and modify appointments and to access the patient portal. The patient journey is incredibly unique and questions can vary greatly. The chatbot provides the opportunity for staff to clearly direct patients to their portals when it’s the best course of action based on their current need.

“It always was important to us that the chat experience would be able to integrate with our current systems, and knowing that we can connect with practice management systems and EHRs seamlessly was an integral part of our criteria for selecting the Botco.ai chatbot,” Dillard noted.

RESULTS

Once the chatbot was implemented on the Aspire Indiana Health website, the health system found the admissions and scheduling teams were having more informed, productive phone conversations as a result of the in-depth answers the chat was able to provide beforehand.

“Our chatbot, named Ava, has handled more than 2,000 unique conversations and more than 6,000 incoming questions from potential patients and current patients alike, all with a greater than 97% confidence level,” Dillard reported. “Appointment inquiries, along with appointment costs and insurance coverage questions, were among the most asked questions. However, guidance on how to pay medical bills took up a considerable amount, as well.”

ADVICE FOR OTHERS

Healthcare provider organizations face a difficult and dynamic challenge to provide the best patient experience possible, Dillard said.

“Implementing a conversational chat experience has absolutely helped us streamline our internal processes with a small but highly effective admissions and scheduling team while also gaining a new way to engage with the public and potential clients,” he noted. “Any provider considering a similar technology should always consider the impact of using a system prior to implementation, and perform extensive due diligence since the implementation of a new system or technology directly affects the patient experience.

“Chat, as a technology resource, has provided an immeasurable impact on the team at Aspire Indiana Health,” he concluded. “Most important, it is an integral component of the diligent work we are doing to improve the patient experience.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bsiwicki@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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