The Trend of Medical Chatbots in the Healthcare Industry
The Trend of Medical Chatbots in the Healthcare Industry
As one of the fastest-growing industries of the 21st century, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry is quickly evolving. Alongside changing patient demands, technology needs to catch up as well. One way this has been achieved is through the trend of chatbots in healthcare.
With chatbots providing the repetitive answers that a human representative would have to attend to in the past, patients can get their queries answered much quicker. At the same time, employees are freed up to listen to more urgent situations; this is just one of the many perks you can expect to reap. Chatbots have the dual benefit of increasing provider efficiency and improving patient satisfaction.
Read on to learn more about chatbots and healthcare, including the benefits your practice can reap when using this technology.
Understanding Chatbot Technology
AI chatbots are not entirely new. You may already have encountered them while shopping online or using electronic banking services. If you had a relatively straightforward question to ask, such as when you can expect to receive your parcel, you may have found that chatbots provided you with a quick and easy way of getting the answers you require. This eliminates the need for you to send in an e-mail or give a call, which typically comes with a longer turnaround time.
The primary purpose of chatbot technology is to resolve some commonly asked questions and queries within the healthcare industry. It also helps automate specific processes like appointment scheduling and gathering feedback.
Common Applications of Chatbots
We can use healthcare chatbots in many different ways in the industry:
Answering FAQs and Providing Informational Support
If a patient has something general to ask, such as the opening hours of your practice, a chatbot can easily provide this information. Instead of a human employee answering the same questions repeatedly, this allows their time to be spent on tasks that cannot be automated. Some common questions you may wish to develop answers to include the types of insurance you accept as well as the documents to bring in for a first appointment.
Scheduling (and Rescheduling) Appointments
You may already have encountered patients who changed providers when they couldn’t get an appointment due to slow service. Instead of letting that happen, allow healthcare chatbots to take care of the appointment scheduling process for you. They can easily find out more about patients’ concerns, match them with a suitable healthcare provider and provide them with available slots. With this preliminary work done, all you need to do is see your patient on the day of the appointment.
Besides assisting patients with booking appointments, chatbots can also help to send appointment reminders as well as help with rescheduling and cancellations.
Collecting Data from Patients
One of the preliminary things to do when a patient shows up for their first ever appointment is to get their personal particulars. This includes the patient’s name, address, contact number, health concerns, and insurance providers. This will usually take up some time at the beginning of each appointment, with the possibility of delays if the patient does not have the relevant documentation.
With the use of chatbots in healthcare, patients can enter their information before their appointment, saving valuable time and allowing physicians to review it before the appointment. It also reduces the chances of human error or delays as patients can take their time to input their information from the comfort of home, where they will have access to all their documentation. When this data is collected beforehand, it makes many processes much easier, such as patient admission, tracking of symptoms, and record keeping.
It is important to determine what your patients think about your practice and what can be done to improve your services. Not only can chatbots for healthcare help to acquire feedback through an automated conversation, but it also makes patients more comfortable sharing their unbiased opinions. Because they are not dealing with a human employee, there is no fear of confrontation or a negative reaction if they have constructive feedback to share.
Benefits of Chatbots in Healthcare
We already know that chatbots can save healthcare providers and patients valuable time. However, they come with many other understated benefits, which include:
Healthcare is not one-size-fits-all. Once a chatbot has gathered enough information about a user, it can start to provide more personalized services. This includes providing body measurements and physical indicators through mobile sensors and recognizing patients’ faces.
When patients input data about their health, such as their physical activities or mood logs, chatbots can automatically monitor, track and analyze users’ health. These processes are fully automated, and personalization can take place each time data is uploaded onto a patient’s profile. For example, healthcare chatbots can send patients helpful health tips and preventative measures and schedule reminders based on their unique information.
Despite the progress made over the years, society still attaches a stigma to certain health conditions, especially STDs and mental illnesses. Some patients may feel more comfortable getting their answers from a chatbot than from a human healthcare provider. To this end, anonymity is one of the most beneficial features of healthcare chatbots.
If the patient does decide to go ahead with booking an appointment, they can be assured that their sensitive data will be well protected. By investing in the data security of your healthcare chatbot, you can promote customer confidence and provide them with a more sensitive way of accessing the services they need.
Minimized Turnaround Times and Increased Productivity
There can be times when there are simply too many patients for your practice to handle at once. When that’s the case, you will want to prioritize patients with more urgent conditions. Instead of sending low-priority patients away, chatbots can step in to attend to their queries. This will minimize the overall time to respond to a patient and allow your staff to carry out administrative processes in advance.
When it’s finally the patient’s turn to see you, they will already have received the essential information they need and be enrolled in your patient management system.
Chances are, your employees do not have the time to send out text messages and emails to all patients manually. On the most basic level, this usually takes place for appointment reminders. Chatbots in healthcare can take things one step further and deliver personalized content to each patient, improving engagement over time. This gives a positive impression of your practice, making patients more likely to return and even recommend you to others.
Get Started with Offering Telehealth Services
Are you looking to start offering telehealth services in your healthcare practice? If so, you have come to the right place at Vicert. We can assist you with developing digital software to meet your telehealth and remote patient monitoring needs. This includes the use of chatbots, health tracking apps, and wearable medical devices. With decades of experience developing and implementing telehealth software, you can be sure that we have the expertise to help you reach your goals.
The evolution of technology has meant massive changes for the healthcare industry, and with some help, your practice can stay on top of the latest trends and benefit from them. Other services we offer at Vicert include data quality management, health cloud solutions, clinical decision support systems, and more. Feel free to contact our team to discuss how we can implement a digital health solution to suit your requirements today!