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Introducing Alvaria Horizons: Our Innovation Lab

Better Patient Engagement on a Better Channel

May 01, 2021, By Legacy Post

Leveraging natural language understanding (NLU) and interactive text response (ITR) means medical providers can interact with patients through consumer-friendly channels such as SMS or Messenger, leading to better patient engagement.

It is no mystery that we view our mobile devices as a life and travel companion. The other day I left my house without my wallet, but to be honest, I didn’t need it the entire day. I was able to order an on-demand ride, pay for my Starbucks, manage my bank account, and order dinner on the ride home. Just think how powerful these capabilities could be when it comes to managing our health.

There are already a slew of different apps and solutions that enable healthcare providers to send patients appointment reminders and prescription refill reminders. While these applications have a positive impact on patients, patients want something more than just a reminder. They want to communicate with their provider using consumer-friendly channels such as SMS or Messenger.

Sending an appointment reminder via a push notification on an app or SMS is only part of the equation. What if the patient wants to follow up on that appointment reminder with a question about how to prep for their appointment? Most likely, patients will want live assistance and they will have to call in with a good chance of being put on hold. This is where integrating natural language understanding (NLU) and interactive text response (ITR) comes into play.

With ITR, patients aren’t limited to one channel (voice). They can interact with their provider over SMS, without being put on hold, resolving urgent issues quickly and having their questions answered without straining live resources and costs. NLU transforms text-based self-service into natural, two-way, powerful interactions. While simple automated interactions guide patients through a predefined set of options, NLU works with omni-channel self-service by actually understanding the patient’s intent and providing the ability to answer open-ended questions such as, “What are my medications side effects?” which is essential to improving Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) scores and overall well-being.

With NLU and ITR patients can reschedule their appointment, ask questions about their procedure, access information about medication and manage refills, and receive updates about their loved ones’ status using their own words rather than being confined to a self-service menu.

By leveraging NLU and ITR providers can interact with patients through SMS in ways they have not been able to before. 

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