Why Your Healthcare Organization Needs a Knowledge Graph

knowledge graph in healthcare

As advances in AI have made search engines “smarter” — allowing them to draw on their own ever-expanding knowledge graphs to answer questions with a higher degree of specificity — patient search behavior has changed. Because search engines can now answer complex natural language queries, your patients are being conditioned to search for exactly what they want, down to their most specific healthcare needs. They expect answers, and your organization must be able to provide them.

Your organization can meet this need by building and maintaining your own knowledge graph, which will allow you to manage your information at scale and deliver the right answers everywhere your patients are asking questions. Here’s what a knowledge graph can help you do. 

Answer multi-dimensional healthcare queries across search experiences.

When your patients search for things like practices, healthcare professionals, or insurance, they’re not searching for those words — they’re searching for the real things those words refer to, with the intent to meet a need in the physical world. A knowledge graph can understand what they’re actually looking for, and it can get your patients exactly the right information.

Let’s use an example: A potential patient searches for “best pediatrician near me open Sunday who takes Aetna.” Delivering the correct answer requires information from across your organization: ratings (“best”), specialty (“pediatrician”), office location (“near me”), hours of operation (“Sunday”), and insurance accepted (“Aetna”). How can your healthcare organization deliver an answer — on your own site or in search results — that requires information from facilities, operations, compliance, and more?

With a knowledge graph, you can define the relationships between all these entities (e.g., your professionals, locations, insurance, and hours) so that an AI-powered discovery service can answer this question. And your organization increases its chances of ranking for that very specific, high-intent query. 

If your information is missing or your entities aren’t mapped to one another in a way that search engines can understand (via a knowledge graph) your organization won’t show up in search results — and a competitor might. This can lead that potential patient, who’s looking for a pediatrician, to choose a different practice over yours. 

Deliver answers to patients directly on your own website.

It’s easy to understand why patients have high expectations for the kinds of answers they can get from search engines. But now they’re beginning to expect the same thing from your website, too — and that experience often doesn’t live up to these expectations.

Let’s say someone receives a personal recommendation for a physician at Primary Care Medical named Nicole Smith. Instead of making a general search for a GP, they start their journey on the Primary Care Medical website, looking for the local practice’s phone number, or for Nicole Smith’s specifically. 

After just a few clicks through different pages, however, they’re likely to give up if they can’t find the information. They’ve been trained by Google, Alexa, and Siri that specific questions deliver direct answers, but most websites can’t replicate that experience. And what do most consumers do when information isn’t easy to find? They give up, bouncing back to exactly where they would have started otherwise — a search engine. 

This could lead to them finding incorrect information about your organization, or worse, finding a competitor. Delivering the answers patients are now trained to expect, directly on your website, leads to a better patient experience and higher conversions — meaning more revenue. So your organization needs a knowledge graph to enable you to take control of this experience. 

If a potential patient searches, for example, for a “dermatologist near me who speaks Spanish,” and your website’s information is structured to answer this question, then they can find the right practitioner’s individual page (which includes his or her hours, office address, and phone number). The patient can then call to book an appointment directly from the result. 

That’s a great patient experience — and one that leads directly to appointments and revenue.  

Learn how your healthcare organization can build its own knowledge graph with Yext.

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