NarrativeDx: The AI Platform Aiming To Be The Yelp For Patient Hospital Reviews

itech-dude-contents-DFHvQ1lW0AAxOCE-e1503197414724 NarrativeDx: The AI Platform Aiming To Be The Yelp For Patient Hospital Reviews | iTech Dude - The Technology BlogPhoto courtesy of NarrativeDx

Founded in 2014 by Kyle Robertson and Senem Guney, NarrativeDx is an artificial intelligence platform that allows patients to provide real-time reviews and commentary about their hospital experiences.

Their cloud-based platform uses natural language processing and machine learning to collect and analyze feedback sources from an assortment of internal and external channels. NarrativeDx also delivers an intuitive dashboard that instantly highlights specified patient concerns, in turn making recommendations for resolving issues.

In addition to generating helpful reviews, the platform has proven to drive patient referrals, increase revenue and strengthen the reputation of hospitals across the country. NarrativeDx is credited with helping clients generate over $50 million in increased referrals, with hospitals that growing their bottom line by as much as 50%.

By providing a forum for patients to candidly share their stories, hospital leaders and care providers can identify areas of improvement and modify their practices to assure excellent experiences. The tech company has received $1.8 million in funding to date, with plans to scale exponentially in 2018.

I spoke with Founder and CEO Senem Guney about the vision behind his company, improving the patient experience, and how artificial intelligence is changing the way hospitals are held accountable.

What was the specific void or opportunity you saw that inspired the idea behind NarrativeDx?

Senem Guney: In 2013, hospitals’ began seeing their bottom line being impacted by scores from Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys, which are government-mandated patient satisfaction surveys. Unhappy patients have become very expensive for hospitals. Results from these patient satisfaction surveys, such as 70% of the time patients say nurses were courteous, do not provide insights for providers to take targeted improvement actions. Those actionable insights are in a patients’ comments. Also, patients talk about their experiences in their own words across different platforms – in patient satisfaction surveys, rounding, grievance letters, social media and doctor review sites. Our solution brings these different sources of direct patient feedback together and shows trends that derive from patients’ accounts of their experiences. Based on insights from our analysis, providers know exactly what practices they need to improve and what practices they need to encourage in order to provide excellent services, so they can maximize their reimbursements and manage their reputation both online and within their communities.

What were some of the challenges you faced early on when trying to get your business off the ground?

Senem Guney: Guiding hospital administrators to think beyond simply seeing surveys as tools for measuring and monitoring patient experience was a challenge in the beginning. The industry focus is finally shifting to the importance of learning from patients’ comments to provide excellent patient experiences. Also, the question of improving patient experience was not perceived as a data problem that required a data solution. The limitations of working with surveys and patients’ reviews on social media made hospital administrators realize that they needed sophisticated analytical capabilities to hear the voice of their patients. The ultimate challenges in bringing innovation to large, complex organizations like hospitals are extended sales cycles and decision making by committee. Our biggest challenges centered around this well-known reality of innovation in healthcare, plus the difficulty of working with the office of a very new C-level position (CXO - Chief Patient Experience Officer) in hospitals.

What have been some of the biggest blind spots or pitfalls plaguing the space and how does your company aim to solve for them?

Senem Guney: When we first started, the industry was just beginning to measure patient satisfaction, and hospital administrators relied on government-mandated surveys as measurement tools. We knew hospital administrators would quickly run into the limitations of working with long, check-box surveys with very small response rates. Still, it was challenging to move the focus of hospital executives to patients’ comments as a much more important source of data than surveys to understand and improve patient experience. Patients now have the opportunity to write comments about their experiences, not only in surveys, but also in social media and doctor review sites. While comments across these platforms are the most critical source of insights into patient experience, providers do not have the resources to process all of the comment data reliably, consistently and fast enough for effective service recovery. Besides the push to maximize reimbursements, providers are also under financial pressure to manage their reputation online and in their communities. They need to know what their patients say about their experiences so they can take targeted actions for continuous improvement that meets the specific needs and expectations of patients. At NarrativeDx, we built the AI platform for patient experience for hospital administrators to get the insights they need from patients’ comments across different platforms. We took the burden of data analysis from providers, for the most critical type of patient experience data, so they can focus on the improvements they need to make in the delivery of patient care with excellent experiences.

What metrics do you use to measure the quality of hospitals and how does your company benefit both patients and hospital administrators?

Senem Guney: Measures of hospital quality are based on clinical outcomes and patient experience; that is, patients’ perceptions of the care they receive. Before NarrativeDx, the only available tool to measure patient satisfaction was government-mandated surveys. We brought to the industry the necessary analytical capability to expand measuring the patient experience component of quality beyond surveys to the most critical type of experience data that administrators can get from patients -- the patients’ own words about the care they received.

How does creating a system for aggregating patient reviews impact the industry and the way hospitals will approach patient experience?

Senem Guney: Our AI platform for patient experience makes it possible for hospital administrators to hear the voice of their patients in their own words. Using our platform, administrators know why their patients give them specific ratings and know how to meet their patients’ needs and expectations. By “adding up” patients’ words and showing themes out of large volumes of patients’ comments, we amplify patients’ voices and make their needs and expectations heard for targeted and effective improvement of care experiences.

How does artificial intelligence enhance the experience for both patients and hospital leaders?

Senem Guney: Patient experience and clinical staff experience are very strongly tied together. Our AI platform allows providers to see exactly what their patients like and do not like about the care they receive. This in-depth knowledge of care experiences is very important for providers to encourage what is working well and to fix what is not working well from the patient’s perspective. Seeing the evidence from the patient’s own words resonates very well with clinicians. Providers can easily use the evidence they get from our analysis not only for improvement initiatives but also for rewarding and recognizing their high-performing staff. These rewards and recognitions have a very positive impact on employee morale and performance at a time when clinician burnout is a serious issue in the industry.

How do you see your company evolving in the next 3-5 years and what impact do you hope to make on the industry?

Senem Guney: Our vision has always been to redefine data and data analytics related to patient experiences. We have been realizing that vision with the growth and industry recognition we have experienced in the last two years. With our momentum now, we expect that in the next 3-5 years, no hospital CXO will implement a patient or employee experience initiative without seeing what our analysis shows about what their patients are saying. Our AI platform brought rigor, consistency and speed to extracting insights from the most critical type of patient experience data. We anticipate becoming the industry standard for hospital executives to leverage contextually-rich comment data in their decisions and designs for the continuous improvement of their institutions and services.

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