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Voice capture can unlock operational efficiencies for strained healthcare

By Red Box CEO, Richard Stevenson



Richard Stevenson talks voice capture in healthcare

Healthcare service providers across the world have been faced with truly unique challenges over the past couple of years. The pandemic has put a strain on even the most efficient, operationally sound, and well-funded operators leaving those that, for whatever reason, do meet these standards to grapple with the surge in demand for services.

Here in the UK, the NHS has been facing challenges regarding its operational capacity for some time now.

The pandemic demonstrated the incredible resilience of the healthcare service, which is in large part to the testament of its incredibly dedicated staff.

However, the UK government should still be looking for further solutions to ease the burden placed on staff, whilst reducing waiting times and improving the overall quality of care for patients.

Voice capture technology, with analytics that is enhanced by AI, is one such avenue that should be seriously considered for investment because it goes hand in hand with the way healthcare is so often administered.

Walk into your average hospital or contact your local GP, and you will not be met with a chatbot or online survey, but rather a human being ready to consult you through a conversation.

Within the intricacies of this conversation come significant amounts of information that could be crucial to improving the quality of care administered to that patient, as well as improving the efficiency of service on a more macro level.

Unlocking insights that could save lives

To take a tangible example of how voice capture technology works within the healthcare sphere, think of emergency services.

The vast majority of emergency responses begin with a phone call and capturing the crucial information from this conversation is the responsibility of highly skilled workers who are under the immense pressure with somebodies’ wellbeing on the line.

There are also significant legal obligations associated with responding to such calls.

In this instance, voice is the major data point that should be analysed to provide insights and context. It conveys intent, sentiment, emotion and action.

Such intricacies are often not discernible from other forms of data and providing timely and accurate analysis of these elements often makes the difference in an effective response.

Voice capture technology may not be able to replace human operators entirely, nor may patients desire this in emergency scenarios.

However, what this technology does offer is the ability to ease the strain on call handlers, reducing the pressure to verify important details that are critical for an emergency response.

Operational intelligence and analytics, coupled with software that understands conversations across control rooms providing a holistic view, can also be key for resource allocation when services are strained, or to help manage agent welfare.

Solving the compliance issues in digitised services

It is not just within the direct provision of health services that voice capture technology offers huge benefits. Where services have been digitised or moved remotely to ease in-person waiting times, complex compliance issues can emerge.

The NHS’ 111 non-emergency consultation service has proved an important access point for patients through the pandemic, when in person services where either unavailable or potentially risky.

The outbreak of the coronavirus led to a rise in call volumes by as much as a third. This is part of a global trend of investment in digital healthcare solutions.

Investment figures and deal counts for such services in 2021 dwarf those from years gone by with an expected annual growth rate of 28.5 per cent.

However, this trend of both investment in and use of digital healthcare tools presents its own problems.

Whether it is the need to hire more operators to respond to teleconsultations or a compliance headache as well as the need to maintain patient privacy, digitisation is not a simple silver bullet to increased demand for healthcare.

Yet such problems can be significantly eased by coupling investment in digital solutions with voice capture and AI technology.

The ability to remove data silos and extract valuable and actionable insights from the audio service providers rely on is an important step that should be wedded with this digitisation.

Preventing fraud and reducing waste

A final more operational area health service providers should be quick to embrace the benefits of voice capture and AI technology in is the effort to prevent fraud.

Beyond just the UK, the global healthcare industry is particularly susceptible to fraud and associated losses that come with such activity.

The US’s system is particularly inefficient, burning through 3 per cent of all health care costs on fraud according to sone conversative estimates – that’s $68 billion annually in the best-case scenario – with the majority as a result of poor administrative processes.

Use of voice capture and AI powered analytics can help reduce fraud via the automation of burdensome, ineffective processes.

Currently as much as 80 per cent of global healthcare uses unstructured data which presents a huge opportunity for compliance, fraud and risk detection empowered by automaton.

The combined power of voice and speech analytics’ mean calls made to healthcare service providers are automatically exposed to analysis which flag risk factors to help prioritise reviews.

This replaces call sampling and manual review processes which are expensive and expose organisations to more risk.

Reduction in fraud frees up funding which can allocated elsewhere, and this in turn means more resources available that can be used to improve quality of care.

Investment in AI writ large should be a key avenue considered by both public and private healthcare providers to meet this end goal.

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