The PFX Voice

Pete Hamlin

Many hospitals are experiencing changes in patient financial services call volumes and operational complexity since the COVID-19 pandemic began. These calls often require a coordinated and consistent response, since the types of questions and comments can become emotionally charged and customers need faster and informative help more than ever. To serve customers effectively in this dynamic environment, hospitals are best served by data-driven responses to customer concerns surfacing from real-time speech analytics. 

Speech analytics utilizes natural language processing and voice algorithms to accurately extract call sentiment (voice pace, volume, pitch, tonality and other factors) and track developing keywords and phrases that reveal trends across every recorded call. For example, speech analytics can reveal common frustrations faced by patients in reviewing medical bills. With this information in hand, hospital revenue cycle departments can create a better patient financial experience – and boost collections. 

Avadyne Health, a leader in self-pay account resolution and bad debt recovery for hospitals and health systems, analyzes more than 1.5 billion words a year using speech analytics in the delivery of revenue cycle management services for healthcare organizations across the nation. 

Recently, Avadyne has expanded its speech analytic capabilities with COVID-19 focused algorithms that deliver real-time healthcare consumer insight into topics such as job loss, inability or willingness to pay and the impact of both the virus and economic uncertainty – geographically and by healthcare facility. 

Our speech analytics intelligence enables our partnering hospitals and health systems to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on their customer base, help prioritize business changes or responses to meet the needs of consumers, and guide teams to respond effectively, accurately, and sensitively to improve payment outcomes and service during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Call recordings are a gold mine of rich insights about customer satisfaction, customer churn, competitive intelligence, service issues, agent performance and campaign effectiveness," says Jayson Yardley, CEO, Avadyne Health. "We are committed to delivering the highest level of support and assistance to our customers and their patients at a time when their needs and circumstances are quickly changing." 

Speech analytic trends are revealing: 

  • Since March 10, when the World Health Organization, W.H.O., declared coronavirus a pandemic,  there has been a continual uptick in the number of daily calls that mention "COVID-19" or "coronavirus."
  • Mention of COVID-19 or coronavirus represents 1.2% of all calls received since March 10.
  • On average, "unemployed" represent 32% of calls that mention an inability to pay since February 1. Since March 16, that percentage has nearly doubled to 62%.
  • As of mid-April, callers are 6.5 times more likely to mention "unemployment" as the reason for no payment vs. callers in early March. 

Now more than ever, a proactive approach to using speech analytics to strengthen patient financial engagement and payment is critical to boosting collections and securing consumer loyalty and trust. 

"We're proud to be able to rapidly respond to the ever-changing revenue cycle landscape amid a global pandemic and provide speech analytics that enable our healthcare partners to gain actionable insight into how COVID-19 is affecting their customer interactions and business operations," Yardley says. 


Topics: Patient Financial Experience