Key Takeaways

In an ever-evolving healthcare landscape, having efficient and streamlined processes is paramount. 

Systems of record have attempted to support enhanced provider communication through inbox messaging. However, care teams are constantly inundated with these messages — correspondences ranging in topics from lab results to prescription refills to patient concerns — which can contribute to burnout and reduced quality of care. 

High-tech digital health platforms powered by conversational AI are emerging as game-changers in helping health systems reduce the burden of inbox messages on care teams. Let’s explore how these innovative technologies are transforming healthcare workflows and improving the overall care experience for both patients and providers.

The inbox message challenge in healthcare

Inbox messages are an integral part of the communication process within EHRs. They serve as a means for care teams to coordinate patient care, share important information, and ensure that patients receive timely treatment. 

That being said, the volume of inbox messages has skyrocketed in recent years, overwhelming care teams and contributing to physician burnout. In fact, one study found that primary care physicians spend an average of 52 minutes per work day on inbox messages, including 19 minutes outside of regular operating hours. Understandably, care teams are stressed from communication overload. A report published in JAMIA revealed high patient-sent inbox messages as a significant contributor to clinician burnout in 2020. 

How does healthcare reconcile the important role of patient-provider communication with these aforementioned challenges? One technology emerging as a possible piece to this puzzle is AI — specifically, conversational AI powered by natural language processing (NLP).

How does intelligent care enablement use conversational AI to reduce inbox messages?

Leveraging advancements in large language models, conversational AI has the potential to significantly enhance healthcare communication by understanding human language to streamline manual or routine tasks. These high-tech solutions can reduce the administrative burden on clinicians and allow them to focus on what they do best: providing quality patient care.

A breakout innovation pioneering conversational AI in clinical workflows is intelligent care enablement — scalable technology that supports both patients and care teams through complex clinical episodes to more efficiently deliver personalized, proactive, and coordinated care. Some of its notable features that help keep inbox messages at bay include:

1. Efficient automated triage and care management support

Some healthcare AI can efficiently triage patient messages before they hit the inbox by categorizing them based on urgency and relevance. For instance, lab results that require immediate attention can be prioritized and flagged to the right care team members, while routine messages — such as those about medication refills and predictable symptoms — can be automatically addressed by drawing on a clinician-validated database to respond to them. 

Memora Health’s intelligent care enablement platform uses NLP to understand incoming messages and parse routine questions from more concerning correspondences in need of clinician support. By automatically handling the majority of basic inquiries expected during care journeys, care teams can focus on performing at the top of their license to apply their skills to help address the most urgent requests.

2. Patient education and resources

AI-powered assistants can provide patients with educational resources, proactively informing people about what to anticipate during care and promoting better care management. While timely, personalized education helps people feel more in control of their health, they may still have questions about their care. Conversational AI assistants can step in to help answer routine questions on behalf of the care team, and triage more complex inquiries to a clinical expert.

Memora Health’s platform further engages patients by probing into possible barriers to different aspects of care, such as lacking transportation to attend a follow-up appointment or confronting financial hurdles. In turn, our Care Programs surface resources like affordable or free transportation options and even information about financial assistance programs — all of which could help individuals overcome healthcare obstacles and realize better outcomes.

3. Improved clinical patient views

It’s no secret that EHRs — though necessary — leave a lot to be desired when it comes to displaying information in an accessible and intuitive way. Luckily, AI provides a glimmer of hope for better data management.

Our intelligent care enablement platform specifically integrates with EHRs and provides care teams with more longitudinal patient views. That means insights generated through AI-supported engagement get automatically stored and organized within one patient-specific dashboard — taking some error-prone elements out of record-keeping. With enhanced interoperability and displaying multiple remote patient monitoring metrics in a way that’s tailored to clinical workflows, care team members can more efficiently assess which alerts they need to prioritize, the ones that can serve as a reference within patient histories, and ensure they have the right information the first time when reaching out to individuals so that care can be delivered efficiently.

In a healthcare landscape marked by ever-increasing demands, conversational AI is a welcome innovation. By reducing the burden of inbox messages on care teams, platforms that use this technology are transforming healthcare workflows, enhancing patient experiences, and contributing to improved outcomes. As healthcare continues to evolve, the integration of AI-backed technology will likely play a pivotal role in shaping the future of medicine — making it more efficient, effective, and patient-centered.

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