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The key to unlocking patient loyalty – leveraging brand intelligence in health care

Medical Economics JournalMedical Economics November 2023
Volume 100
Issue 11

Building positive relationships with patients by tapping into the power of artificial intelligence.

AI: © Tierney - stock.adobe.com

© Tierney - stock.adobe.com

Patient loyalty is not something primary care practices and physicians should take for granted. According to a recent survey of U.S. patients, “69% would consider switching to another provider offering more appealing services.” To unlock patient loyalty, health care practices need to understand what truly matters by deeply listening to the feedback their patients share every day online.

John Mazur 

John Mazur

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology holds tremendous potential to help health care practices better understand their patients’ feelings, expectations and desires. Accessing AI-powered insights allows health care practices to discover opportunities to turn one-time exchanges into lifelong relationships. It’s an exciting time in the health care industry to use AI as a force for good, building stronger, more authentic connections between patients and practices.

Many health care professionals already recognize the power of generative AI to enhance health care by streamlining and improving workflows so that practices can focus more of their time on patients. According to McKinsey & Company, “Generative AI represents a meaningful new tool that can help unlock a piece of the unrealized $1 trillion of improvement potential present in the health care industry.”

Why it matters that 80 to 90% of today’s patient experience data is unstructured

Unstructured data is all the chatter from social platform discussions, chatbots, videos, online reviews, emojis, etc. – the millions of data points shared online about anything and everything – including health care patient experiences. This emotion-infused data offers the most valuable insights into your patients’ experience. This is the data that helps your organization discover blind spots, reveal false assumptions and identify gaps in the patient journey. With AI, health care practices access game-changing insights that can lead to lifelong patient loyalty.

Patients want to be heard. They’re not shy about sharing their feedback – good, bad, indifferent – across an ever-increasing range of public forums from Zocdoc reviews to Facebook comments. Instead of sending the obligatory patient survey after every visit, savvy health care practices are finding new ways to interact with their patients in real-time.

But responding to patient reviews and social comments every week, and collecting data from structured surveys, isn’t enough to create a next-level patient journey. The true power of patient data collection lies in the combination and analysis of structured and unstructured data about your reputation, patient perceptions, the competitive landscape, and broader trends and industry developments – what we call “brand intelligence.”

Brand intelligence is the revelation of the “why” behind all your patient data. Why is one practice receiving positive feedback while another practice across town is stuck at 1.5 stars? Are long wait times an issue? Rude staff? Dirty bathrooms? What is the five-star-rated practice doing that might be applied to practices that are struggling? AI-powered multi-location reputation management and brand intelligence platforms are essential tools for understanding patient loyalty and extracting actionable insights that lead to better patient experiences.

Understanding the patient journey – getting to actionable insights

Today’s AI-powered sentiment and deep listening solutions give health care practices the power to:

  • Sort, analyze, and compare patient feedback at scale
  • Determine what matters most to patients and where health care businesses should focus their efforts to build lasting loyalty
  • Identify successful patient interactions as well as address issues and concerns quickly before they get out of hand

More health care facilities are turning negative patient experiences into positive ones through AI pattern analysis of patient comments and feedback. Once the most prevalent issues are identified, a plan of action can be developed to course correct. Many of the top areas identified as needing improvement involve food, cleanliness and communication. However, it’s not all about revealing negative experiences. After analyzing 175,334 patient comments from a major teaching hospital, Press Ganey discovered courtesy and respect were the most popular themes across all positive comments.

AI-powered technology can also help practices understand how their patient experience compares with other area practices. For example, if there’s a pattern of patients mentioning that a specific doctor at a competing provider is booked for months, that gives your health care organization a window of opportunity to advertise that you’re accepting new patients.

The ultimate goal? Brand intelligence at scale

The best AI-powered brand intelligence provides both a big-picture view across all your clinics, practices, surgeries, offices, etc. revealing positive and negative patient sentiment and the analysis to determine what actions will matter most to your patients and your organization. The bottom line is that patients want to know they are heard, understood and remembered. If you can do that, your patients will become loyal partners ready and willing to recommend your health care business to their family, friends and colleagues – fueling growth for your brand.

With an accomplished background in scaling technology companies, John Mazur brings decades of C-suite experience to Chatmeter, the brand intelligence company reimagining customer connections through AI-powered deep listening. He has driven growth and profit for decades for companies such as CoStar Group, HomeSnap, Belly, ReachLocal, and more.

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