A Quick Guide to Chatbots and Their Role in the Healthcare Industry
Updated: Dec 22, 2021
The healthcare industry is one of the most important sectors, so it's not surprising that medical professionals are highly reliant on technology. According to a 2019 Accenture report, more than 40% of healthcare professionals believed that artificial intelligence would have the greatest impact on their companies within 3 years. There's no denying that AI technology has made great strides since then.
Many healthcare providers have also adopted artificial intelligence either in the form of machine learning or predictive analysis. Currently, chatbots are beginning to gain more attention, and it's estimated that by 2022, they will be responsible for handling up to 90% of all queries in the healthcare industry.
What Are Chatbots in the Healthcare Industry?
Chatbots are software programs that leverage the power of machine learning to provide real-time assistance to people by engaging them in conversations. In the healthcare industry, chatbots are used to screen patients and guide them on the best way they can receive help. They are more effective and efficient because they provide quick responses and are available 24/7.
There are 3 main types of chatbots used in the healthcare industry:
Conversations chatbots: these types of chatbots are designed to provide patients with appropriate responses based on their intent. The depth of their responses is mainly dependent on their intelligence level. For instance, some chatbots have been programmed to offer pre-built responses and cannot continue conversations that require them to deviate from these responses. There are, however, high intelligence chatbots that analyze the patient's intent using natural language processing (NLP) and natural language understanding (NLU) to give them relevant responses.
Informative chatbots: these chatbots provide patients with helpful information either in the form of notifications or pop-ups. For instance, if a patient visits your site and starts looking for information on mental health, the informational chatbot will pop up with more data on this subject, e.g., by sharing blog posts that the patient will find helpful.
Prescriptive chatbots: even though these chatbots are conversational in nature, they don't just provide responses. They also offer viable solutions.
Other chatbots being used in the healthcare industry include nurse chatbots, clinical chatbots, hospital appointment chatbots, and chatbots for health insurance.
How Are Chatbots Being Used in the Healthcare Industry?
The applications of chatbots in the healthcare industry are limitless! Most patients are unaware of when their conditions require them to get medical care or when the severity of their symptoms requires them to visit a doctor. This is where chatbots come into play; they can collect information about patients and then use this data to suggest the next course of action.
Other applications of chatbots in the healthcare information include:
Collecting Patient Data
Chatbots collect patient information by asking them for details such as their official names, insurance details, addresses, and symptoms. They then store this data in your medical database and use it for doctor-patient communication and symptom tracking. If the patient decides to visit your facility, you can also use this data to facilitate their admission and fast-track their treatment.
Providing Medical Information
Internet users have become so reliant on technology that they prefer online diagnosis. A study revealed that over 89% of people in the US Google their symptoms before contacting their doctors.
As a healthcare provider, you can adopt a chatbot that provides patients with relevant medical information based on their symptoms. This will not only solidify their trust in you but will also save you from answering basic and common questions that most patients ask. The best part about using chatbots is that they are constantly evolving and can be trained on medical information such as disease markers, symptoms, diagnostics, and the available treatment options.
Scheduling Appointments for Patients
You can integrate chatbots into your facility's database so that every time a patient wants to book an appointment, they can find an available physician, identify their available time slots and schedule an appointment. The chatbot can also be integrated into your patient's devices so that they can sync with their calendars and send them updates and reminders of their medical appointments. This makes it easy for a patient to reschedule their appointment in advance, reducing the rate of cancellations.
For Health Tracking
If you have patients that require regular medical attention, you can use chatbots to connect them with their regular physician. In such cases, the chatbot maintains a detailed record of the patient's history, including their prescribed medication. This way, when their appointment is near, or they need a prescription refill, an alert is sent to the doctor.
Processing Insurance Claims
Chatbots can be used by patients to file insurance claims, track a current claim or check their coverage. They provide them with an easy way to access relevant information. Doctors will also have easy access to patient data, making it easy for them to process a patient's billing details.
What Are the Top Benefits of Using Chatbots in the Healthcare Industry?
The main benefits of using chatbots in your medical facility include:
Real-time interaction with patients 24/7.
Ability to interact with multiple users at the same time.
High levels of personalization based on client data.
Ability to provide critical information to patients instantly.
Ease of operations due to automated appointment scheduling.
Effective patient monitoring.
Integrate Chatbots Into Your Medical Practice Today!
The adoption of chatbots in the healthcare industry is likely to increase, mostly due to their wide applications. They are also cost-effective as they reduce the number of people required to interact with patients.
The medical industry is very data-intensive, and it's difficult for humans to sift through this information efficiently. Chatbots, on the other hand, are computerized and can analyze a lot of information within a short time. This means that when patients request medical information based on their symptoms, the chatbot will provide it to them instantly. Chatbots are also available 24/7, which is a huge plus.
Would you like to integrate chatbots into your healthcare system? Reach out to DearDoc today to get started.
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