Even Artificial Intelligence Could Not Predict What Was to Come
// By Jim Samuel //
Learn how a South Jersey health system’s 2018 decision to adopt artificial intelligence and predictive analytics paid off during the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
When South Jersey’s Virtua Health decided to add customer relationship management (CRM), artificial intelligence (AI), and predictive analytics to its technology toolkit in 2018, the marketing team knew the addition would significantly impact the organization’s ability to interact with the community and reach targeted audiences with specific messages.
“We started our journey about four years ago, and it was part of a big transformation at Virtua,” says Ryan Younger, vice president of marketing at Virtua Health. “We had been a traditional marketing department, very communications oriented, and not very proactive with analytics and digital. We knew we needed to invest differently.”
But no one in the five-hospital system anticipated that the new digital marketing tool would prove invaluable as the healthcare industry dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic at its peak.
Virtua Health had its AI system in place and was beginning to use it when the pandemic hit. “I’m so glad we had everything on board prior to the pandemic,” Younger says. “We were able to get some campaigns out that educated the public about targeted services they needed.” Later, when vaccines became available, Virtua communicated broadly to help ensure that eligible residents knew where they could get vaccinated.
“Virtua had opened one of seven mega sites in New Jersey for vaccines,” Younger says. “We were able to also use our platform to help connect people and get people in for vaccines based on the criteria for who was eligible.”
Later, as hospitals reopened for non-COVID care, Younger says, Virtua was able to communicate with patients who had put off necessary medical care and were most likely to need it as soon as possible.
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