Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, is a form of human-computer interface which takes its input from voice and keypad commands. Compared to a phone menu, call tree, or automated attendant, an Interactive Voice Response system is put in place to actually receive data, process it, and deliver meaningful value to the customer.
Odds are that you’ve probably already encountered an IVR being used with a healthcare provider and didn't even realize! For example - calling your local pharmacy to refill your prescription. You look up the number and call. You hear a phone tree “press one if you’re calling from a doctor’s office, press two if you’re calling to refill a prescription…”. You then press two using the keypad on your phone. Once you press two you hear “Please enter the refill number” you then enter the number as instructed. Once the number is entered you are asked “press one if you will be picking up your prescription tomorrow”. Once you input the pick-up information and what number should be called - you’re all set.
Refilling a prescription is a simple task that could easily turn into a nightmare with long hold times or horrible representatives writing the wrong refill number down. Then once you travel to the pharmacy your prescription isn’t ready. By using a clear and concise phone tree and IVR you’ve made it a simple and easy task for clients. In the healthcare industry, these systems can improve the patient experience in a number of ways:
- IVR systems can be put in place to address customer service issues such as high-call-volume situations, or faster, more efficient off-hours responses.
- Automated calls can improve patient compliance with ongoing treatment regimens, improving healthcare outcomes and reducing readmission rates.
- Using automated system calls provide more connection between the patient and provider, which improves the patient's healthcare experience..
- IVR systems which gather data are often perceived as less threatening than human callers, especially when the data gathered is of a sensitive nature – for example, gathering statistics on sexual activity, drug use, or patient satisfaction.
- Interactive Voice Response systems can be made to accommodate multiple languages, and are much more intuitive than web forms among certain demographics – especially the elderly.
Interactive Voice Response can be leveraged in the healthcare industry to improve interactions between patients and providers in frequency, accessibility, and reliability. The more comfortable clients are, the better their experience. Not only will the information reach the appropriate health providers but the information provided will be accurate since you’ll be eliminating any human interaction thus human error will be for the most part eliminated.