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How Chatbots In Healthcare Are Helping Patients Chat Their Way To Holistic Health!

05 Jul 2021

When your patients need healthcare services, the last thing they want to do is navigate a complex website menu or wait on hold!

Healthcare organizations are leveraging chatbots to provide accurate and up-to-date information to patients without needing them to set foot in a hospital! An interactive bot helps accelerate frontline services in an engaging way to communicate with patients and provide them with timely information.

If you are looking to harness the potential of this game-changing software to serve your patients 24/7, then this article will walk you through some practical use cases to make your facility more efficient!

The Role of Chatbots in Healthcare – Beyond One-way Communication

Emma never misses an appointment with her doc anymore. Neither does she forget to take her prescribed medications on time! A medical bot acts as her assistant that tracks and reminds Emma about her appointments, antibiotics, diet, exercises, and body weight. Interesting, isn’t it?

These medical bots are AI-powered digital assistants that help healthcare providers, insurance companies and patients easily connect and communicate. They also play a vital role in making crucial health information easily accessible to the right stakeholders, at the right time.
Smart chatbots assist medical professionals and improving healthcare processes to generating actionable insights and enhancing patient experience. They also tracks patient satisfaction, schedules appointments, cancellations, no-shows, and follow-ups.
Intuitively designed to make patients feel heard, valued, and validated, these chatbots, go a long way in providing empathetic & supportive care, intelligently. They serve as:

  • Hospital administrators
  • Healthcare consultants
  • Elderly care providers
  • Self-care coaches
  • Emergency alarm

But, before you approach a technology partner to develop a live agent for your healthcare facility, it is important to know the different types of bots.

Types of Chatbots in the Healthcare Industry

  • Conversational or AI Chatbots: Conversational agents employ natural language processing (NLP) & ML algorithms to learn human intent and language. This is how automated responses answer patient queries most comprehensively.
    They are typically used to schedule an appointment, manage insurance inquiries or provide medical information.
  • Rule-based bots (Q&A-focused): They follow predefined paths as a flowchart where users select an option and the chatbot responds with an appropriate answer. Depending on the nature of the requirement this could be kept simple or the workflow can be as complex as needed.
    They are essentially used by providers for manage multiple appointments, patient engagement, registration, intial screening, and for maintaining health records. Payers can also leverage them for addressing FAQs, retrieving data on claim status, and for verifications and treatment.
  • Informative Chatbots: The automated client support bots offer resourceful information to users via push notifications and pop-ups. They are typically used by health news sites and mental wellness websites that provide detailed information about specific medical topics.

Business Benefits of Chatbots in Healthcare

Leveraging an AI-enabled bot in any healthcare setting offers a bunch of benefits. Some of the biggest advantages include:

  1. 24X7 Access to Patients: Live agents ensure that access to your medical practice is not restricted to office hours. Your existing and potential patients can receive all the information they need at any time of the day or night.
  2. Big Savings: According to experts, healthcare bots will save $3.6 billion globally by 2022, up from a valued $2.8 billion in 2017.
  3. Scalability: To address multiple requests simultaneously you need to have more people on board. But intelligent bots can efficiently handle anywhere between 1 to 1000 interactions at one time, without any glitches.
  4. Reduced No-Shows: According to Forbes, a single missed appointment can cost a medical practice $200 on an average. Digital assistants can send reminders to patients and greatly reduce the possibility of the patient not turning up at the scheduled time.
  5. Efficient Record-Keeping: Virtual agents also assist with record keeping. The use of AI chatbots in healthcare helps drive informed decision-making with instant notifications to health specialists on vital data.

Push Further The Potential Of AI-powered Healthcare

We think beyond technology when building medical bots that strike a balance between machine intelligence & human empathy!

Chatbot Use Cases in Healthcare

  • Managing Population Health During Global Pandemics
    Predicting an infection or illness requires analyzing various parameters and symptoms. And during a global pandemic wherein a life-threatening virus is spreading rapidly, the first thing that people want to do is contact their GP.
    However, handling an influx of inquiries and managing appointments for those with symptoms is challenging. Having a virtual agent in place to offer these services can make the process safe, easy, and efficient.
    Patients can simply share their symptoms and the bot can analyze them to provide appropriate information or educate them on actions to take. If the condition is serious, it can escalate the issue to a human representative or request emergency assistance.
  • Supporting Clinicians at Point-of-Care
    Virtual assistants support doctors with retrieving drug information in real-time. It includes the list of active ingredients within medications as well as recommended options for prescription drugs. This makes it much easier and faster for physicians to prescribe a particular drug with a proper dosage and medicine instructions.
  • Helping Patients with Self-care or Urgent Care
    Many patients are now relying on digital assistants that remind them to take their medications on time and provide personalized nutritional information. They are fully equipped to check vital stats of patient’s bodies, monitor their health conditions, and make the right healthcare recommendations.
    Apart from keeping patients engaged with their health goals, they can also identify patients that need urgent medical attention. They pass on all the chat transcriptions to the doctors, so patients don’t need to repeat themselves and get the care they need; when they need it the most!
  • Managing Care for Chronic Conditions
    Digital assistants are an asset for care management. They help deliver vital information to patients suffering from chronic illnesses. For instance, if a patient has an upcoming colonoscopy, the bot will deliver educational materials to the patient and address any queries or concerns that he/she may have about the procedure or illness.
    The goal of deploying these bots is to prepare patients for surgeries and reduce the number of invasive medical procedures that are canceled at the last minute. These conversational agents are also playing a vital role in oncology care by sharing relevant tips with patients undergoing chemotherapy.
    Further, they even advise caregivers and family members on how they can help their loved ones who are battling cancer. Even health plan providers are leveraging bots to help clients understand the benefits for policy members.
  • Providing Secure Access to Health Records
    They can be integrated with your existing EMR/EHR systems that store, share, manage and maintain the health data of patients. These documents can then be securely accessed by a physician or the patient whenever there is a need.
  • Processing Bills and Claims
    When your patients are ready to process the payment, the last thing you want to do is make them wait. A virtual assistant is always available and when integrated with the backend billing system of your practice, it can securely manage inventory and collect payments.
  • Collecting Patient Feedback
    The goal of any medical practice is to provide the best possible care to patients. Such intelligent bots are the best way to collect anonymous patient feedback for consistent improvement that ultimately contributes to patient satisfaction.
  • Providing Mental Health Assistance
    Digital assistants that are developed to provide mental health assistance are trained to conduct cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for people suffering from anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They can also train patients with autism via text, cameras, and microphones to enhance their social skills. Bots have been successfully deployed to provide meditation sessions & Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
  • Requesting Prescription Refills
    Interactive agents are designed to collect end-to-end patient data. From their contact information and the current doctor to their last physical visit and prescription information. All of this data is submitted to the doctor to aid clinical decision-making and seamless processing of prescription refills. It also enables the doctor to contact patients when their refill is available and automate the refills in batch for cases where intervention is not necessary.
  • Accessing Test Results
    An interactive agent can authenticate online visitors and connect them with external systems to provide secure and timely access to sensitive medical information like test results. Just make sure that it is a HIPAA-compliant chatbot.

Bots facilitate the better organization of patient health journeys and fast-track care delivery without compromising on accuracy, care quality, or data security.

So, if you want to keep up with your competitors, now is the time to start building a bot! Our team will be more than happy to help you map the above-listed healthcare chatbot use cases or custom ones that enable you to automate your operations with conversational AI.

Technologies to Develop Healthcare Chatbot

Digital assistants are evolving quickly – and so are the technologies that support this app.

  • ML frameworks like RASA & Tensorflow to create complex alogrithms which helps building of intelligent chatbots
  • Wit.ai. or motion.ai like NLP services for extracting the intent and entity from the end-user’s messages flowing in from a specific channel
  • Integrating specific channels for exchanging messages that rely on access token authorization by using services like hipchat & alexa
  • Integration of conversational agents involving elements like validation, business logic rules and the persistence of data. This is essential to implement processes like booking appointments, availing health services and more.

Having worked with early-stage as well as established healthcare organizations, our bot development team has the experience to build digital agents, keeping the unique needs of your practice & patients in mind.

Crucial Factors to Consider when Implementing Chatbot Technology in Healthcare

Modern patients want quick and easy access to health information. And, they want their interactions to be personalized and engaging. If you want to build an infobot that delivers on their expectations, here are some crucial factors to consider.

  1. Secure Tools to ensure Data Privacy: Be sure to add robust security tools and take reliable measures to resist cyber-attacks.
  2. Compliance Management: Being compliant to HIPAA, PHI, FHIR and more for data management, interoperability and exchange.
  3. The Right UI: To make the design easy to navigate, you need to select the right UI that is based on clearly labeled elements and appropriate use of buttons, colors, fonts, capitals, and italics.

Whether it is healthcare consultation systems, custom telemedicine software, developing other custom healthcare solutions or HIPAA compliant chatbots, our developers have industry-leading expertise to help you with all things tech!

What is the Future of Chatbots in Healthcare?

In the distant future, you can expect to see live healthcare agents that will:

  • Help patients manage chronic conditions, psychological disorders, behavioral problems, and mental health issues remotely
    Serve as 24/7 personal assistants helping patients monitor their health conditions in real-time
  • Automatically call for medical assistance in case of emergencies
  • Proactively analyze symptoms, validate them against the patient’s medical history, recommend the next best steps and improve health outcomes in cases where early diagnosis can play a vital role

Interactive chatbots have a new role in improving the efficiency of healthcare experts. Hence, the benefits of using them in clinical settings are undeniable. They can reduce costs dramatically, lessen the burden on medical professionals and improve patient experiences.

In today’s digital healthcare landscape, an AI-based bot has become a must-have. It keeps your facility accessible round-the-clock, without you having to spend heavily on recruiting customer service reps.

Ready To Deliver Right Care?

We can custom build secure & compliant virtual agents with healthcare intelligence – in weeks!