How a Chatbot can Eliminate Emergency Room Bottlenecks and Increase Patient Satisfaction

Hospitals and Health Systems

December 6, 2019

Remember the first time you experienced hotel concierge service? Maybe the concierge directed you to an amazing restaurant. Or saved your bacon by arranging the delivery of documents needed for an important presentation. Maybe the concierge simply orchestrated your transfer from the hotel to the airport. Whatever the service, the concierge undoubtedly improved your experience, provided a valuable solution, and made a significant difference during your stay in unfamiliar surroundings.

What if you could offer a similar “concierge” experience to patients during the unfamiliar, anxiety-inducing misfortune of an illness or injury that requires a visit to your hospital emergency room? Well, you can!

Today, healthcare chatbot technology caters to the needs of patients and patient communication to enhance their care delivery experience. This same technology enables you to automate your emergency room (ER) intake workflow to capture key patient information necessary to provide service. The chatbot can go to work for you before the patient arrives at the ER. The chatbot can also help a patient en route by providing information such as directions to the ER, a map of the facilities, wait times, and more.

Meet Quincy

You’ve seen how artificial intelligence (AI) is changing healthcare from natural language processing to “smart” agent escalation. You’ve probably experienced the assistance of a chatbot at your bank or other service-related business. Now, Quincy is delivering that same virtual-assistance to ERs.

The Quincy Chatbot Design Suite is a HIPAA-compliant, customizable, automated and live-agent chatbot platform that serves specific healthcare communication and business objectives. Easily implemented, Quincy chatbots provide patient interaction that improves the quality, cost and experience of care delivery, as well as recorded usage data that enables improved operations, compliance and reimbursement.

Improving ER Flow and Patient Experience

Over time, the role of ERs in the delivery of care has expanded to service low, medium and high-acuity patients. This increase in the provision of services places demands on ER staff and has the potential to decrease patient experience and outcomes. The Quincy ER Concierge Chatbot exemplifies how the Quincy Chatbot Design Suite can provide solutions that relieve the pressure resulting from expanding care services. Specifically, the Quincy ER Concierge Chatbot enables patient pre-registration by engaging with patients through their smart devices to collect clinical and demographic information, without requiring the patient to download an app.

Pre-registration enables early segmentation of patients based on the severity of their condition before they’ve even arrived at the ER. Based on responses to pre-registration questions, a chatbot can provide vital information that enables the ER care team to identify a patient’s need before arrival. Once the chatbot has captured patient responses, this information is automatically provided to the appropriate intake care team members, which greatly improves patient intake flow and enhances the patient experience.

No One Likes the ER Wait

Demand, capacity, queuing, variation, wait times, and constraints are all well-known, interrelated variables ERs must manage. Improvements in just one of these can have a ripple effect across the room that results in greater patient satisfaction as well as staff satisfaction; all of which lead to greater financial success. The Quincy ER Concierge Chatbot demonstrates how the first potential bottleneck within the complex ER system can be alleviated while simultaneously improving care outcomes. When demand is high while capacity is low, achieving improved flow enables greater service capacity and greater staff effectiveness, both of which add value for the ER and its patients.

The many queues a patient experiences when admitted to the ER all involve waiting. Besides reducing patient satisfaction, the longer a patient is required to wait for the next level of care, the more likely they are to leave against medical advice before treatment is concluded. This increases the likelihood of introducing unintended risk factors to the patient’s health.

Hospitals across the nation are seeing an increase in patients who choose to leave before admission or during the diagnosis and treatment process. Harvard Business Review, February 6, 2019, reported that the average hospital ER patient in the United States waits more than an hour and a half before admission and another 2.25 hours before being discharged. Perhaps, even more worrisome, the same report also stated the number of patients who leave ERs without being seen has almost doubled in recent years.

The Solution

These are challenges with a solution. By implementing a chatbot as robust as those that can be designed using the Quincy Chatbot Design Suite, ERs can improve challenges related to the variables that result in poor delivery of care at multiple stages of the ER continuum of care. Chatbots such as Quincy ER Concierge intervene and engage patients meaningfully. In doing so, ER staff is able to remain focused on providing quality care that enables greater patient outcomes.

ERs are busy and complex. Alleviating just one bottleneck can have a noticeable impact that improves everyone’s experience in the ER continuum of care. The Quincy ER Concierge Chatbot is only one example of how chatbots can be deployed to provide virtual assistance and purposeful, productive patient engagement.

QLIQ HERE to learn more about how the Quincy Chatbot Design Suite can improve your ER patient flow and your patient outcomes.

The Author
Ben Henson

A lifelong communicator, this Tennessee native got his start in broadcast news before branching out into public media, corporate, communications, digital advertising, and integrated marketing. Prior to joining QliqSOFT as the company's first marketing team member, Ben shared his talents with organizations that include the University of Alabama, iHeartMedia, and The Kroger Company.

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