You’re ready to embrace AI. Now what?

Any AI solution under consideration should help empower your patient support program to provide streamlined processes and, ultimately, quicker access to medications for those who need them most. To accomplish this, however, you’ll need to be sure you’re choosing the right vendor and that you can get colleagues on board.

Here’s how to assess prospective AI vendors to ensure you’re in a position to gain buy-in from colleagues and, once you’ve elected to move forward, can ensure a seamless implementation and optimal outcomes.

Start by considering these questions:

Will the solution truly improve your offerings to all stakeholders?

Automation for automation’s sake doesn’t make sense for patient support. If an AI vendor is the right fit, regardless of the specific solution they’re providing, you should be able to articulate how it directly contributes to your patient access or patient support program’s goals. Can the vendor help you understand this in a clear and simplified way?

Infinitus’ customers use AI to automate calls to payors and pharmacy benefit managers. The time saved by automating these calls frees up patient support staff so that they can better assist patients and providers. And because Infinitus’s benefit verification calls are faster and more accurate than manual calls, employee productivity increases. Any AI solution you’re considering should be able to help you understand its offering in a similarly simplified manner. 

Is the solution secure, compliant, and able to avoid bias?

This is a big one. In fact, if the vendor doesn’t detail whether and how its solution is HIPAA and SOC II compliant, and how they’re continuously working to avoid bias, the conversation should probably end. 

You’ll want to ask about what security measures and certifications are in place, and be aligned with your internal security leaders on what matters most. And because we’re talking about AI, you’ll want to be sure you understand how protected health information (PHI) is handled, and whether it’s used to train AI models. (Pro tip: Training data is the data used to “teach” AI models so that they can make correct decisions). At Infinitus, we never use PHI to train our models, and have procedures in place to ensure training data is de-identified and PHI is completely removed. The most advanced AI solution providers should be able to explain to you in easy-to-understand language what data is captured and how it is used to create their models.   

Regarding bias, it’s quite possible the risks are low depending on the use case in question, however it’s extremely important that any solution that uses AI engages in regular bias testing. You’ll want to understand what kind of review processes are in place (e.g., machine learning-based and/or human-led), and how inaccuracies and potential bias are corrected. 

Will the solution allow you to run a pilot first, to validate data accuracy and understand how (and if) it works?

Some healthcare companies are wary of committing to a vendor without seeing firsthand how it works and whether it’s as good as it might seem. But not all vendors are in a position to offer pilots.

Running a pilot program before fully implementing a new AI solution allows you to assess the solution’s effectiveness in a controlled environment, identify any potential issues, and fine-tune it before rolling it out on a larger scale. In addition, it enables you to gather feedback from your operations and patient support teams to ensure it is accomplishing the task at hand to expectations. At Infinitus, for example, we’ve created a five-step, no-integration-required pilot program that ensures we’re able to help our customers meet their automation goals and best serve their patients and providers. At the end of the pilot, we review and analyze results and determine the best go-forward approach.

With any vendor, a pilot can help you and your team make informed decisions about scaling up based on real-world results rather than theoretical projections. And if a pilot is possible, it’s important to understand what that pilot entails.

How long does it take to implement?

Implementing a new AI solution can be a game-changer in patient support, but the time it takes to integrate is crucial for a few reasons. First, the sooner it’s implemented, the sooner you can start reaping the benefits and leveraging the insights from AI.

Secondly, a swift implementation minimizes disruption. When supporting patients facing serious diagnoses, you don’t want day-to-day operations to be disrupted for an extended period. A smooth implementation for your patient access team and your customers ensures that you can seamlessly continue supporting patients without any hiccups. 

In the case of automating benefit verifications, as Infinitus does, you’ll want to understand how the call tasks are received by the vendor – but you’d want to ask similar questions for any AI offering. For example: Does the vendor offer an API? If so, how long does integration take? Is there a portal where the information can be manually uploaded? What file formats are supported? Be sure to understand all that’s required from your end to ensure a prompt implementation. 

Can the solution help you educate your stakeholders about AI?

AI can sometimes be perceived as a black box, leading to concerns or misconceptions, especially among those who aren’t as familiar with the technology. When you ask a vendor this question, you should receive answers about whether the models being used are open- or closed-source, what kind of data they’re being trained on, and any other information that might be valuable in helping educate and inform decision makers at your organization.

Having this understanding can provide clarity on how the solution you’re considering operates, allowing you to create a foundation of mutual understanding with stakeholders. (And, you may want to study up on some AI terminology before you ask this question.)

Learn how to build the patient support program of the future

This post is excerpted from our ebook The patient support program of the future, which explores how it is possible to improve efforts to help patients initiate therapy and maintain adherence with help from technology, and especially AI.

To learn how to better serve more patients and gain a competitive advantage with AI, download The patient support program of the future now.