GMR Web Team: Technologies Driving Growth for Urgent Care Centers
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Medical technology is the backbone of a modern healthcare set up. Healthcare units of any form, including urgent care centers, depend on it now more than ever for their success. The application of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Machine Learning in disease diagnosis and treatment, medical record keeping, understanding patients' behaviors and sentiments, and in wearable devices and other healthcare gadgets, has changed the way urgent care providers care for their patients.

 

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Top tags: Artificial Intelligence for Urgent Care Centers  Online Reviews  patient engagement  Patient Engagement Technology  Patient Sentiment Analysis  Reputation Management 

How Technology Is Crucial to Improve Patient Engagement for Urgent Care Centers

Posted By GMR Web Team, Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

As healthcare providers shift to value-based care, one of the most significant challenges they encounter is patient engagement. A study conducted by Change Healthcare shows that many hospitals and insurance companies struggle with patient engagement despite investing heavily in healthcare IT.

 

Patient Engagement Challenges

Since 2014, the trend of implementing multiple strategies to create patient experiences that are more similar to consumer experiences has been on the rise. From the Change Healthcare report, it is clear that the goal to increase patient engagement in healthcare has not reached the levels that providers desire.


Most providers assign 25 to 30 percent of their healthcare IT investments to websites, software, and staffing changes. However, there is still a significant gap between what is offered and what patients want. In many cases, patient engagement tools are designed in a manner that, unintentionally, make them barriers to patients.


You may have telehealth or a patient portal, but if it is not designed and implemented in an understandable and useful way, patient engagement will remain low.


To make healthcare processes more useful and more engaging for patients, urgent care providers can utilize sentiment analysis to understand their patients' views and opinions at the level of their sentiment and emotions.

 

Sentiment Analysis Technology and Patient Engagement

 

In healthcare, sentiment analysis refers to systematically analyzing the issues and opinions of your patients to determine what they think about the quality of service provided at your institution.


Sentiment analysis involves identifying and categorizing what patients are saying about your service in their reviews and survey responses. The comments can be classified based on different priorities, meanings and topics, so you can understand the patients’ issues and solve them effectively through modern technology.


The access to authentic and quantifiable data regarding every touch point of patient experience at your clinic, including your staff, helps with implementing strategies that improve patient experience and engagement.


Healthcare players that traditionally invested heavily in local community events and mass advertising have to meet the needs of digitally savvy patients, where they are, and demonstrate ROI. The key to meeting this challenge is shifting to personalized patient engagement.


Some of the ways that urgent care providers can engage patients through technology include:

 

1. Telemedicine and Patient Healthcare Access

Through telemedicine, urgent care providers and patients can conduct appointments via video conferencing. Providers can also communicate with each other when they need specialty knowledge and, in effect, boost care quality.

 

A study published in 2015 by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology indicated that treatment of asthma patients through telemedicine was just as effective as in-person visits.

 

Telemedicine is convenient for both providers and patients and helpful in urgent care situations. For example, sometimes patients with the greatest need for an asthma specialist may live in underserved areas such as an inner-city or rural community where allergists are not always available. Patients in these areas can get adequate care from a specialist, even if they don’t happen to be in cities where an allergist practices.

 

Telemedicine enables patients that are in rural areas to connect and get help from physicians that they would ordinarily have to travel long distances to visit in person.

 

2. mHealth and Remote Patient Monitoring Devices

Remote patient monitoring refers to using digital technologies to collect health and medical data from subjects in one place and transmitting it securely for analysis and recommendations to health providers in another area.


Remote patient monitoring devices can play a critical role in the management of chronic diseases such as dementia, diabetes, and congestive heart failures. Chronic diseases are expensive to manage, decrease the quality of life of patients, drain into the healthcare system and often accelerate the transition of a patient into facility-based care.


Using remote patient monitoring devices can improve follow up care, cut hospitalizations by nearly 30 percent and save patients more than $8000 in bills – something which is highly expected of urgent care centers.  


However, due to limited interoperability, providers may find it challenging to integrate the patient-generated health data (PGHD) from remote monitoring devices into their own EHRs.

 

3. Patient-Facing Smartphone Apps

 Patient-facing mHealth apps are commonly used to track calories, fitness, and nutrition. Wearable devices such as Apple Watches and Fitbits monitor physical activity and help patients manage their overall health.


Apart from these common uses, the apps can also be used to manage other aspects of healthcare. For example, some apps can help chronically ill patients manage their unique mental and behavioral symptoms. Others can help patients adhere to medication by sending text reminders on treatment follow-ups.


Through mHealth apps, willing patients and providers can share patient-generated health data with one another through limited health IT interoperability. The information can be handy in addressing patient urgent care issues.


To make patient engagement technology work, healthcare providers should consult preference data when crafting a digital health strategy.

 

Conclusion

The demand for more consumer-like experiences is bound to grow as value-based patients take a more active role in managing their healthcare. Moreover, the emergence of new healthcare options (telemedicine, urgent care, etc.) and consolidation among providers are increasing competition. With the right technological support, urgent care providers can meet patient and popular wellness objectives as the shift to value-based care becomes more effective.

Tags:  patient engagement  Patient Engagement Technology 

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Why Urgent Care Centers Need to Manage Their Reputation – A Study

Posted By GMR Web Team, Thursday, March 22, 2018
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018

Researches conducted by different market leaders have already stated the importance of online reviews. According to Software Advice, 82% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians, and 48% of them say that they can choose an out-of-network doctor if their reviews are better than their in-network doctors. Very recently, Google also confirmed that out of 88% of patients using the search engine to find physicians and treatment centers, 30% search directly on a review website.


Thus, it's important for urgent care providers that their online reviews on such platforms are a true reflection of the service that they provide.


As we, at GMR Web Team (GMR), were interacting very closely with our urgent care clients for marketing purposes, we knew that they were providing exceptional care and experience to their patients. Most of their offline surveys also suggested high level of patient satisfaction. However, we noticed that our clients' positive performance wasn't reflecting in their review scores online. Their overall online score on major review websites were only about average.


Our little look into the matter made us feel that it was because of our clients' policy of not asking for reviews (same as what Yelp approves) from patients. To confirm our suspicion, we instituted a patient satisfaction measurement program.

 

The study confirmed our suspicion that there was a major disconnect between actual patient satisfaction and reviews posted online about these practices. We came to realize that though the number of unhappy patients for these practices were few, there were more vocal on review sites when compared to the happy patients. The reason behind this was that happy patients tend to be less mindful about writing reviews, whereas unhappy ones are more aggressive to vent their frustration.

 

The Study

We took a comparative approach to the study. At first, we manually compiled our urgent care clients' review data from different online review sites (Yelp, Google, Facebook, HealthGrades, RateMD, and Vitals) for a period of one year (Feb 2017 – Jan 2017). This was before these practices were asking their patients for reviews. After spending some time with it, we obtained the average figure of reviews on a monthly basis for these platforms.

 

After that, under GMR's patient satisfaction measurement program, patients were asked to write their honest reviews based on their experience with the practices. The time period of this program was also kept one year (Feb 2017 – Jan 2018) to ensure consistency with the two sets of data. After spending a year with the program, we compared the two sets (before and after asking) of data.


Here's what we found:

 

The data suggested a clear double-fold increase in the monthly average reviews for all urgent care practices, except for Practice 2 (for which it increased only marginally). This increase in the total number of reviews was an obvious result of the 'asking for reviews' program. What actually caught our attention here was the increase in the average review score of all practices.

 

 

As you can see in the above graph, the average score for Practice 1 went up from 3.68 to 4.45 which is a straight 22% increase, after the practice started asking for reviews. Similarly, the average review score for Practice 2, 3, and 4 also increased by 15%, 39%, and 31% respectively. This validated our suspicion about the previous set of reviews (before asking) being inconsistent with the actual patient satisfaction.

 

During our in-depth study of the data, we found that the increase in the average review score was the result of frequent positive reviews (which were previously infrequent) in the overall picture of the incoming reviews of all types.

 

Previously, in the 'before asking' set of data, the positive reviews were comparatively low that were causing a negative bias in the average review score of the practices.  


It was a delightful moment for us and our clients to see that happy patients had started to share their experience. Asking and facilitating for writing reviews helped us in getting reviews from our happy patients.

 

The Need of Online Reputation Management

The result of our patient satisfaction measurement program directly indicates the need of online reputation management for urgent care practices to keep their online average review score from the negative bias.


According to a study by the Northwestern University, dissatisfied customers are more self-motivated than the satisfied ones to write reviews about their experience. This phenomenon gives rise to a naturally occurring negative bias, thereby lowering your average review score.


In its conclusion, the study encourages businesses to solicit reviews for a larger, more representative, and more credible population of reviewers. This is done under online reputation management which is one of the important elements of physician marketing.

 

Here's how managing your online reputation will help your urgent care practice:

  • Help you counter the negative review bias on your page

  • Increase the number of positive reviews in the overall review picture online

  • Maintain a positive brand presence and authority online   

  • Improve search engine rankings for your practice

  • Increase revenue by improving patient acquisition and retention

 

How to Identify Review Inconsistency for Your Practice

You can also check review inconsistency for your urgent care practice with this RepuGen tool. All you have to do is fill in the required details and hit the submit button.


The tool takes into account the number of reviews written, your overall rating, and the frequency of the reviews to decide about the inconsistency between the average review score on the review sites and the actual patient satisfaction.  


The tool will give a reputation score for your practice on a scale of 0-100. Anything less than 50-60 means a serious chance of inconsistency with your online reviews and the actual patient satisfaction and indicates the need for online reputation management for your practice.


In a nutshell, online reputation management can help urgent care centers keep consistency in their online review score and the actual satisfaction they provide.   

Tags:  Online Reviews  Reputation Management 

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Artificial Intelligence Revitalizing Trust Among Urgent Care Patients

Posted By GMR Web Team, Thursday, March 8, 2018
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has propelled advancements in detection, diagnosis, management, and prevention of chronic and life-threatening diseases. However, that's a subject for medical researchers and higher-end medical service providers, or for specialists. For urgent care providers and other physicians, AI is working on a more ground-level approach to increase patient care and experience. One of those ground works is providers taking use of AI in conducting sentiment analysis of their patients.  


But what is sentiment analysis, and how is it helping urgent care providers in improving patients' trust?

 

 

Sentiment Analysis & Patient Trust

 

Sentiment analysis (for healthcare) is about systematically analyzing patients' issues and opinions to determine their feelings and emotions about the overall quality of a doctor’s care. It works by identifying and categorizing patient opinions expressed through written texts, such as reviews and survey responses. For that, it breaks textual comments into their components and classifies them according to topic, meaning, and their intensity (high, medium, or low).


For urgent care providers, who often struggle to provide enough time to individual patients because of higher patient visits, sentiment analysis presents a unique opportunity to understand emotions of a singular patient or of all the patients collectively regarding their visits, and solve the issues associated with it, if any. This approach of understanding your patients' emotions and solving issues based on these emotions goes a long way in improving the trust among your patients.


All you have to do is to ask your patients to take a quick survey following their visit. Everything else is taken care of by AI-powered sentiment analysis software.


This AI technology facilitates patients by navigating them through the review writing process, and does the sentiment analysis task for you. The process takes care of the patients’ comfort in the following ways:

 

  • Does not directly confront them and badger them with questions

  • Lets them openly share their thoughts and feelings

  • Allows them to make the effort in their own free time and from anywhere

  • Protects their privacy by revealing their identity to only the problem solvers (doctors and practice managers)

  • Never shares the content on any platform unless permitted by the patient

 

The sentiment analysis survey:

 


Our survey of over 3,930 urgent care patients revealed that happiness, anger, trust, anticipation, sadness, and disgust were the typical emotions felt by them. The sentiment analysis software also gave us an insight into the intensity of each emotion (marked as high, medium, or low).  

 

Sentiment Analysis for Urgent care Patients

 

Moreover, we were able to compare two separate sets of survey data conducted over two separate periods (Jan'17 - June'17 and Jul'17 - Dec'17) for gaining a better insight into the path of progress. This nuanced understanding of patient sentiment allows for a customized response for each patient, helping to individually solve their issues and improve patient trust and satisfaction.

 

How Do You Get Started?

 

Follow the below given steps to get your patient sentiment analysis program up and running:

  • Identify the right AI tool for performing sentiment analysis

The best tool will be the one that does these things for you:

 

  • Captures the patient comments for you

  • Includes AI technology to process the information for sentiment analysis

  • Allows you to submit inaccuracies so they can teach the algorithm, ultimately improving accuracy

  • Presents the data in a simple and understandable format for you

 

In your survey, include these questions to elicit responses that can be analyzed for sentiment:

  • Ask about their likelihood of recommending you to their friends/relatives based on their experiences. Let them score you on a scale of 0-5 (most common) or 0-10 (industry standard for calculating net promoter score).

  • Ask to elaborate on their rating or anything else they would want to explain regarding their visit. Provide a comment box for that.

 

  • Manually compare the results with the actual comments for consistency check

This is a one-time measure to check for the accuracy of your tool. Register different ratings and reviews in it from different test accounts. Try submitting as many as you can. Run the results for several sets of data samples to test accuracy. A good tool will show over 90% consistency with sentiments manually derived from the actual written comments.

You can stop after reaching an accuracy of 90% (the industry standard) and make the tool go live for patients.

 

  • Train your staff on how they should ask a patient to write a review.

Without reviews, your AI tool is good for nothing. So get your patients to write reviews! 

Avoid directly asking for reviews. Your patients may feel pressured and reprehensive. The idea is to ask in a manner that can actually engage your patients to consider writing a review. 

Train your staff to ask for reviews in the following manner:

  • Ask them as if you are asking for a favor; like making an earnest but polite request

  • Explain that their reviews will help other patients in their decision making

  • Tell them truthfully about the entire process and how much time it'll take

  • Let them know how eagerly you are looking for reading their reviews; it'll give them an assurance that their reviews will be of some value to others

 
  • Set up performance enhancement programs based on your patients' sentiment and its intensity

Based on how your patients were feeling about specific areas of your service, you can set up programs and campaigns focusing on performance improvement on those fronts. For example, if you found bad sentiment regarding staff behavior, you can set up staff training programs to teach them proper ways how to handle patients and their queries.

 

As an added function, most sentiment analysis tools like OpenText and RepuGen (Disclosure: GMR develops and owns this) allow addressing patient's problems almost as instantly as they register their concerns.

 

Sentiment analysis is like a natural assistant to urgent care providers who don’t have the time to understand each individual patient’s feelings, and thus start losing their trust.

Tags:  Artificial Intelligence for Urgent Care Centers  Patient Sentiment Analysis 

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