How Healthcare Chatbots Are Changing the Industry
How Healthcare Chatbots Are Changing the Industry
Back in 1966, a team of scientists at MIT developed ELIZA – the very first chatbot. Although ELIZA’s capabilities were limited: her knowledge and communication skills weren’t as evolved as we see in chatbots today; she was nonetheless the first program to make certain kinds of natural language between man and a machine. Using inputted algorithms, ELIZA operated as a psychotherapist.
We’ve made significant progress since ELIZA’s conception. A chatbot in healthcare today is one of the key contributions of artificial intelligence in the industry. From automating arduous and repetitive tasks to helping with designing drugs and medication, AI can help improve business operations and patient clinical outcomes. Let’s take a closer look at some of the uses and benefits of this technology.
What Is a Chatbot in Healthcare?
Chatbots are conversational programs that run on deep learning, a form of artificial intelligence, to help care providers, insurance companies, or patients. This technology has multiple purposes in healthcare: it can automate lower-level tasks, help patients 24/7, and make healthcare more accessible overall.
Healthcare accessibility made waves during the COVID-19 pandemic when numerous people had issues reaching their healthcare providers. Chatbots in healthcare and remote technologies, such as remote patient monitoring and teletherapy, brought healthcare into the comfort of the patient’s homes.
This is no surprise: Millenials prefer texting over live interactions. Most of the younger patient population doesn’t use their phones to call. Instead, they opt to utilize services such as mHealth and solve their medical issues by bypassing long lines at the doctor’s office, and disease spread in the waiting room.
Uses of Chatbots for Healthcare
Chatbots go beyond mere communication: they can quickly answer common patient queries and take care of low-level administrative tasks. In the healthcare industry, where doctors and care providers face increased stress levels and, sometimes, burnout due to the amount of EHR notifications, it is imperative to alleviate the tasks that care providers don’t have to handle themselves. Therefore, we can take a closer look at some of the things that medical chatbots can take care of:
Appointment management has never been easier in the healthcare industry. A clinic that utilizes appointment chatbots has the much-preferred capacity for patients to schedule appointments without interacting with administrative staff. Chatbot integration also helps with patient engagement, as providers can use chatbots for follow-up appointments and remote patient monitoring. Everything patients have to do is give their symptoms and designated appointed times to the doctor appointment chatbot. It will provide them with all the required information: which physicians are available, which physicians work best for the inputted systems, and available times for the appointment.
Probably one of the first services that come to mind when thinking about chatbots. This technology can quickly answer simple questions about the clinic in which they are utilized. It can answer questions about available times and physicians, payment options, documents the patient needs to bring to the appointment, etc. Physicians mostly feel that a chatbot for healthcare should be utilized to answer questions like these.
A basic chatbot can solicit relevant patient information such as names, addresses, symptoms, and insurance information. It can also register therapies and store all the data to be later used in improving clinical outcomes.
In almost any industry, knowing and understanding what your customers/patients think about the service you provide and why they feel that way is imperative. A health chatbot can gather all this information which you can then use to improve certain aspects of your practice to your patients’ liking.
Mental Health Support
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental issues skyrocketed. There has been an increased demand for remote services such as teletherapy, which is here to stay in the post – COVID world. A healthcare chatbot can offer patients with depression or anxiety cognitive behavioral therapy. These chatbots can also help people with mental issues become more social and offer communication through text, video, or audio.
Benefits of Chatbots in Healthcare
We have already mentioned how chatbots can assist clinicians and patients. We can take a closer look at some of the benefits this technology offers a medical institution.
Medical emergencies can arise anytime. Chatbots within a medical institution offer patients instant replies to pressing concerns related to clinical data, scheduling, or follow-up. Implementing healthcare chatbots in your organization means offering your patients around-the-clock availability and improved communication for some pressing needs.
Patient Assistance and Improved Engagement
If your medical organization has implemented a chatbot on its website, you will be greeted by a friendly and straightforward interaction with an AI-powered tool. It can make all the difference between a potential patient sticking around and finding more and leaving your website with a disappointed look on their face. A well-implemented chatbot in healthcare can perhaps help offer your potential patient something they need: empathy. It can help them work through the symptoms, provide possible diagnoses, and contribute to booking an appointment then and there.
With the chatbot’s ability to ask relevant questions, time and resources are saved. Patients can hop on the website and get their needed answers without interacting with your clinical staff. In the case of COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed a medical chatbot to help answer people’s questions about the virus’s local spread, resulting in reduced labor, screens, and necessary physical resources.
Decreasing the Burden on Medical Professionals
As we already mentioned, clinicians and doctors are stressed. Sometimes, digital health solutions designed to elevate this stress are the very thing that increases it. Yet, with adequately implemented chatbots, doctors can attend to more pressing matters, such as care delivery, and leave other tasks to the technology they utilize. To that end, medical chatbots can directly aid doctors by decreasing their burden and letting them heal their patients.
At Vicert, we leverage our decades of experience in the healthcare industry to develop digital solutions for your specific needs. Whether we are talking about EHR integration, remote patient monitoring services, or healthcare chatbots, we can develop the right solution for your medical organization. Book a call with us to find out more!