3 Benefits of Using Natural Language Processing in Patient Outreach

April 30, 2021 | Stericycle Communication Solutions

According to Mckinsey, natural language processing (NLP)is a specialized branch of artificial intelligence (AI) focused on interpreting and manipulating human-generated spoken or written words. NLP helps extract information and convert unstructured data into structured data. In the healthcare industry, AI enables a machine response in real-time to the most frequently asked questions to meet the growing needs of patient outreach and engagement. In addition, NLP learns over time to decipher ambiguities in human language to not only read and understand the text but also to discover the intent behind the message.

Learn more about our patient outreach solution—now AI-powered with natural  language processing.

Our latest update to our Communication & Reminders patient outreach solution brings NLP to your patient engagement solution. Here are three benefits to implementing natural language processing into your patient outreach strategy.


Serve Patients Faster

Natural language processing can help serve patients faster by enabling near real-time responses without staff intervention. When a patient responds to a text appointment reminder, our patient outreach solutions can digest the text and interpret the intent behind the question. In the image below, the patient receives a text reminder and immediately has a question about the appointment location since her doctor operates out of multiple facilities. 

example of natural language processing

The system recognizes she is asking for location data and responds with a confirmation of the facility. The patient then asks about wearing a mask at the appointment, to which the system responds with an answer and a link to the COVID-19 policies and safety procedures.

You might wonder how does the machine know what a patient is asking? An NLP solution is powered by data and is only as intelligent as the data it interprets; therefore, the solution becomes smarter over time by having a consistent data set. We've been in the patient engagement marketplace for years, which means our solution responds to inquiries by digesting years of patient communication data from billions of translated patient interactions.


Improve the Patient Experience

As patients continue to adopt digital technology for their healthcare needs, there is a growing demand for 24/7/365 interaction. Commercial businesses have adjusted to the demand for real-time, non-business-hours interactions by adding digital assistants and chatbots to power their customer service applications. With this virtual addition, customers can self-serve simple requests while escalating more complex situations to a live agent or support technician.

Patients and their caregivers are busier than ever, balancing their work and personal life. This means that your facility's hours may not always be the best time for patients to engage with you. Our Communication & Reminders patient outreach solution, allows your organization to meet patients in their moment of intent and respond at any given moment to a request. Even more, with NLP, you can respond to the patient outside of regular business hours without requiring any staff overtime or evening hours.

Get Personal with Patients

Creating a personalized experience is expected by today's patients. In fact, according to Gartner, "customers expect to be recognized and want their experiences personalized." Yet, only 12% of consumers say they get customized assistance from brands. One way that your organization can provide personalized experiences and increase brand sentiment is by implementing an NLP powered solution.

Besides automated message responses, a natural language processing powered solution can pick up on key terms from instructed written language, as well as patient sentiment. This empowers the solution to provide more personalized content in its response. As new data becomes available to the solution, the efficacy of responses will increase over time, providing even more personalization. Additionally, understanding patient sentiment can provide a more human-like, empathetic conversation.


Increase Staff Efficiency

Utilizing natural language processing can benefit more than just your patients; it can help increase staff efficiency. Your staff no longer has to personally respond to each patient inquiry, which means that your staff can spend more time with patients in the office. Even more, this solution can reduce the amount of time spent answering questions via phone, thereby continuing to increase staff efficiency and reduce costs.

AI-powered natural language processing used to automate patient outreach can understand sentiment, responses, and typos and will only continue to learn the many nuances of human language. Using NLP in patient engagement has many benefits to explore, but its use also expands beyond basic communication into digesting and understanding patient satisfaction, trends in frequently asked questions, and more. Learn more about our Communication & Reminders patient outreach solution, or take advantage of this new release.

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