With the healthcare industry moving toward a more patient-focused approach and online healthcare consumerism on the rise, more and more healthcare providers are realizing the impact of the patient’s voice online. Online feedback can influence a patient’s decision for which physician they select, as well as, help healthcare organizations understand where they can improve the patient experience. In fact, a recent survey shows that 84 percent of patients went online to research patient reviews or post comments about their perception of care. Today, there is a growing variety of sources where patients can provide feedback, including online ratings and reviews sites, social media, CG-CAHPS, HCAHPS and other surveys, to name a few. With the enormous amount of patient feedback available through these various channels, the challenge for healthcare providers is how to monitor, analyze and engage with patient feedback in a timely manner to help manage online reputation and improve patient experience.
So, where should they start? How do they begin to understand and act on the increasing amount of data? The answer – patient feedback management solutions with healthcare-specific natural language processing (NLP).
1. Making sense of patient experience comments
Star ratings for online reviews are common. But what made it a 5 star review or a 3 star review? NLP can help quickly analyze and evaluate human sentiment of unstructured comments, along with the context of how they are being used. To this end, healthcare-specific NLP uncovers meaningful insights and nuances from everyday language that is pulled from millions of online patient reviews, social media posts and surveys. Combined with patient feedback management solutions, NLP is proven to be a powerful tool for healthcare systems to better understand their patients and provide actionable insights.
2. Understand Multiple Layers of the Patient Experience
The latest patient feedback management platforms with NLP capabilities can offer a comprehensive evaluation process for managing patient feedback, enabling staff to make better informed decisions and address and respond to problems in real time. The platforms also offer an at-a-glance overview of patient perceptions with the ability to drill down and isolate the root cause of an issue. In doing this, the trends and concerns from comments not only becomes identifiable, but actionable. When patient experience personnel have a true understanding of a patient’s sentiment, they can conduct the appropriate outreach, perform service recovery and build a deeper relationship between the hospital and the patient.
3. Without Action, Insights Mean Nothing
When possible, hospitals and healthcare providers should engage patients, both online and offline, to build patient loyalty and improve patient experience. But analytics, reviews and ratings are useless if there isn’t a thoughtful and timely action taken by the provider for feedback received. To drive operational change, healthcare systems and providers need to leverage these insights to identify where they need to improve, ranging anywhere from physician communications to wait times in doctors’ offices. Now, with the ability to sort open-ended reviews and comments by sentiment (i.e. enthusiastic, sarcastic, angry) and tone (positive, negative, neutral), healthcare providers can improve both their reputation and the overall patient experience from one platform.
An industry report shows that the global healthcare NLP market is projected to increase exponentially in the next couple of years due to the growing implementation of machine translation and information extraction technology. With a wealth of patient feedback available, it is imperative for healthcare providers to begin investing and implementing NLP-powered patient feedback management solutions to secure and ensure patient loyalty. Understanding patient metrics and insights can help healthcare facilities better align themselves with the shift toward healthcare consumerism, giving those providers a competitive advantage over other organizations.