Call centers are critical touch points between patients and healthcare providers. Operators analyze patients’ needs and link them to scarce resources—healthcare providers. On the one hand, operators are responsible for patient safety and satisfaction. On the other, they generate high costs.
At a glance
Operators working in call centers are often burdened with many simultaneous incoming calls while coping with stressed patients and various communication problems. In many cases, the patients are calling with basic issues, and operators are providing the same advice over and over again. These calls could be provided in other less-expensive and time-efficient ways to optimize the high operational costs of call centers.
The next level for voice assistance in healthcare
To solve this challenge, Infermedica and Talkie.ai partnered up and integrated their solutions. Together, the companies built a phone-based medical bot that provides initial health assessments to callers and then guides them, with case-adjusted recommendations, through the next steps.
The first piece of the integration is a voicebot that can be easily set up on a Talkie.ai platform. With over 1 million inquiries every year, Talkie.ai’s voicebot does what many similar solutions failed to do—it precisely mimics the human voice. The near-human sound of the bot is possible thanks to the voice cloning technology and Natural Language Understanding.
“The AI-powered accuracy of both solutions allows healthcare providers to significantly increase the capacity of their contact centers to triage callers with automation, freeing up time for human agent specialists to focus on complex case resolutions,” comments Wojciech Przechodzen, CTO at Talkie.ai. “Using APIs, Talkie.ai’s powerful call automation platform connects voicebots to Infermedica’s platform as well as to patient health record systems or CRMs for a business, speeding up processing times with a high level of accuracy, with results instantly available to human specialists for further assessment or follow-up.”
The second piece is the digital health technology provided by Infermedica. Generally known for its symptom checkers and other tools for preliminary symptom assessment and triage, Infermedica is now revealing its audio capabilities. Infermedica's medical knowledge base and inference engine were integrated into a voicebot that analyzes patient information and guides them to appropriate health services. Also, Infermedica's clinical NLP service plays an important role in understanding those user messages expected to contain descriptions of health complaints.
The voicebot could support various healthcare organizations on its own, but with Infermedica's technologies it turned out to be a trusted intelligent health advisor available by phone.
Patient calls on the phone line
So how does it all work? Imagine patients who are experiencing symptoms but are not sure if they should visit a doctor. They pick up the phone with the initial thought to schedule a consultation. The intelligent virtual assistant, managed by Talkie.ai, gives them a few options: book an appointment, change bookings, and check your symptoms. Since the patient was unsure about their symptoms from the start, they select the “check your symptoms” option. You can check exemplary symptom check with a Talkie.ai voicebot below:
At this point, Infermedica’s algorithms launch, and the voicebot starts to ask questions. The interview flows like a conversation where the bot asks questions and understands the patient’s answers. First, it collects basic demographic information (gender, age), then it asks about present symptoms. The user can list their symptoms in any way they choose—using medical terms or common names that they use on a daily basis. Infermedica's clinical NLP technology is employed to understand various wordings used to express possible symptoms. The voicebot takes care of natural conversation flow and asks for confirmation:
Bot: “Could you please describe your symptoms?”
Patient: “I can’t sleep at night, I have severe stomach pains, and I am very sad.”
With a list of initial symptoms, the inference engine begins to calculate probabilities of various diseases with an accuracy level of 93%. Through voicebot, it asks a series of complementary questions that help confirm or eliminate other symptoms. One by one, it narrows down possible conditions to the point where the fewest yet most probable ones are on the list. The triage level is calculated and the user receives information on the recommended next steps. For example:
Bot: “Have you lost motivation, initiative, or drive?”
Bot: “Based on this triage it seems you might have Major Depressive Disorder.” Please consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist. I will connect you to a specialist.
Apart from the triage recommendation, Talkie.ai’s bot can arrange an appointment or a follow-up call, connect the patient to a human agent or specialist, send a follow-up message (via SMS or email), or simply close the call.
The preliminary medical interview from Infermedica, conducted via voicebot, is available in English under the following phone numbers: +1 (332) 203-0132 (USA) and +48 12 312 17 93 (PL). The voicebot will follow the scenario described above. Users are free to ask the voicebot if they need anything clarified.
Who is this healthcare voicebot for?
The voicebot supports all patients who need to use it, day or night, to get guidance. The conversation is led by a bot, the waiting times are shorter, and users can feel at ease speaking in their native language (Infermedica technologies are currently supported in 20 language versions).
As patients appreciate the natural flow of conversation with a bot, the combination of Talkie.ai and Infermedica also supports health providers and insurance companies using call centers in their daily operations.
First, Talkie.ai can be used to support the basic operations of a call center, such as scheduling, confirming, modifying (changing the date or canceling), and reminding patients about upcoming appointments. This single feature can easily save the costs of missed appointments, which can reach billions of dollars. For example, the US healthcare system loses $150B every year due to patients that didn’t come to their scheduled visit. In addition, service through fluctuation in the number of users can be maintained with the use of the voicebot, without the need to suddenly adjust personnel or staffing levels.
Second, the voicebot uses intelligent technologies to collect information on patient health and then channels it to the right EHR. They can learn when a patient’s prescription is due to be filled and can inform the patient when it is ready to be picked up. Voicebots handle time-consuming, repetitive aspects of the contact center, freeing up human agents to focus on specialized cases or issue resolution.
Last, meeting industry-recognized data security standards, the secured transcripts of voicebot calls can be available on a case-by-case basis to enhance patient records or globally for quality assurance or analysis, all while protecting sensitive customer data and transactions and maintaining GDPR compliance.
Business benefits of Talkie.ai and Infermedica
The benefits for the whole organization are obvious. Health care providers that decide to equip their call center with an intelligent health voicebot can manage patient calls more effectively, improve user satisfaction, and seamlessly connect them with appropriate medical help in minutes.
The solution proposed by Infermedica and Talkie.ai presents a low entry-level cost to implement advanced voicebot solutions in various setups. It doesn’t require coding. Instead, operators can adjust settings in an easy-to-use admin panel.
Adopting a voicebot can also improve the motivation and engagement of call center operators, as well as employee satisfaction (and therefore retention), as they can focus on unusual patient cases. It can also scale up or down call center capacity without the need to significantly adjust personnel headcount to cope with fluctuations.
Supported by clinically validated medical content from Infermedica, the Talkie.ai voicebot improves patient navigation and satisfaction and opens possibilities to grow business, while ensuring the safety of patients and decision-making.