A tale of two visits to the doctor … How healthcare is changing with the use of AI
It’s part of life! We get sick, call our employers to take time off from work, and make an appointment to see our doctor. Sound familiar? Next, we must “go through the process” before we can be seen — filling out forms, scheduling, verifying insurance and coverage.
There are two possible pathways at this point:
Scenario 1. You are feeling poorly and call the doctors office for an appointment. As you navigate through the tree of voice prompts, you are finally able to speak with a human to schedule a visit. With your appointment now scheduled, you are feeling confident about receiving the medical attention you need. You arrive at the doctors office, present your insurance card, make your co-payment, and fill out the requested paperwork (sometimes a 4–6 page questionnaire). Unfortunately, we are all asked to do this each and every time that we visit a doctor or check into a hospital.
This is our shared journey. Once we put our pens down and deliver the paperwork to the front desk, we sit in the lobby and wait. After some time, our name is called, we are escorted to a patient room. A medical staff member enters and asks us more questions. In fact, many are the same questions we just filled in on the forms in the lobby. He types our responses into a computer. Our blood pressure and weight are checked. Then we are told that “The doctor will be with you soon.” At this point, we are hopeful that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
At long last, our doctor enters the room. She asks similar questions to those on the questionnaire and those asked by the medical staff member. We are examined and the doctor renders a diagnosis, explaining our situation in terms we can understand. If she doesn’t order x-ray’s, blood work or another procedure, she will most likely prescribe a medicine for our condition. The next step brings us to a familiar place — and continuing journey through the “process” we dreaded at the outset. We now leave the medical office with partial satisfaction; but we are thankful that we will now have our medication and will feel better soon. Now, we can get on with our life.
Scenario 2: In our brave new world, we have a much better experience. Our doctor’s office has set up a new personal communication portal for us. We are sent an email with information on how to enroll for this “pre-visit communication portal.” The portal is easy to use. It allows us to schedule an appointment and to confirm the date, time and location we are directed to visit.
The portal provides a pre-visit questionnaire (all responses are entirely private and secure). We can also sign consent forms on-line by using a mouse or touch screen in the privacy of our own home. We can also “check-in” with a mobile device or computer 24 hours prior to the scheduled appointment.
If a balance or co-pay is owed for the doctor visit, we have the option of making our payment on-line or paying in person upon arrival to the appointment. The only thing we need to bring is our insurance card.
The second scenario has now saved us time, reduced our stress and enabled us to preserve energy spent in the dreaded “process.”
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Given a choice, I think most of us can agree that we prefer to operate in the second scenario. What makes this scenario possible? What enables doctors to streamline this health care experience? The answer is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Behind the scenes, the portal is using trained AI algorithms to provide a personalized experience for us. Our own medical history can be used to help the nurses and doctors make our experience easier.
AI allows the complexity of the past to be made simpler and faster. It helps expedite the long ordeal of getting the right appointment, pre-filling the forms, and reducing the waiting time during doctor visits.
Healthcare providers are now finding that AI as an amazing way to make patient-to-doctor relationships happier, smoother, and less cumbersome for all involved. It also allows doctors offices to curb overhead costs and streamline the process of check-in time which will provide more time with patients.
Fundamentally, AI is changing the way many healthcare practitioners provide service to their patients.
And that’s a great start in the improvement of medical care.
Copyright © 2019, Emma Davila Crawford