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Along with all the technological advancements taking place in the healthcare industry, chatbots on websites have also come a long way. From the staid and stoic automated responses, healthcare chatbots have now evolved – with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) – to have intelligent and relevant conversations with patients.
Of course, we’re not yet at the point where we can sit down and have book-length “discussions” with our chatbots, but thanks to AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP), the possibilities are quite limitless.
For the uninitiated, an AI-enabled chatbot is an automated virtual “assistant” of sorts that engages with patients for routine tasks such as registering patients, scheduling appointments, sending reminders, and collecting basic patient information. When used in the right way and for the right reasons, a medical chatbot frees up considerable amounts of time for doctors and healthcare staff alike, leaving them to focus on more critical tasks related to patient care.
Within HealthScore, our chatbot and virtual assistant Miss Quri has helped multiple home healthcare clients across India establish an engaging, intelligent, and personalized initial touchpoint for patients who are looking for care services to match their needs. The patients also report feeling happy about shorter to no wait times, faster registrations, and easier payment options.
From a macro to a micro level, chatbots are proving to be a game changer for overrun hospitals and private practices with a large patient base. Here are some of the ways chatbots are being used and helping medical professionals and their patients.
Uses and Benefits of Chatbots in Healthcare
Access to care when needed (almost instant)
By acting as the first “line of defense”, chatbots can allow for almost instant access to healthcare when it is needed the most. Since they can be programmed with NLP, chatbots can be used to implement triage in order to determine the severity of the issue at hand.
With more and more companies developing intuitive and empathic chatbots in order to mimic actual conversations, people can now be engaged in many more meaningful ways than they could previously. Allowing for robust and genuine conversations that assess symptoms and provide real-time guidance lets patients feel as though they are speaking to a real human being behind the scenes and increases trust levels.
Chatbots can provide multilingual support, thereby creating space for all patients who don’t speak the dominant language of a particular geographical area. In a country like India, where each state has its own officiating language, providing regional language support can help people receive accurate information that is easily understood.
Collecting patient feedback
Chatbots can also be programmed to collect patient feedback once the appointment has been completed, hence reducing the amount of time and resources spent on this routine but crucial task.
Chatbots can be effectively utilized to send appointment reminders to patients in a timely manner and at multiple touchpoints. For example, a confirmation can be sent to the patient at the time the appointment is scheduled and it can be followed up with a reminder at scheduled intervals before the appointment begins. The added benefit with chatbot-enabled reminders is that they reduce the chances of appointment no-shows.
Higher patient satisfaction
Through the use of chatbots, patients report feeling more satisfied with their appointments because of reduced wait times, easier appointment scheduling, and in many cases, even personalized responses to queries.
Higher cost savings for the healthcare industry
Automating routine tasks through the use of a chatbot has a clear benefit on the financial bottom-line for healthcare organizations. When tasks such as patient registrations, notes and prescriptions, billing, and patient feedback are automated, not only do the care facilities become more efficient, they are also able to save significantly on people costs.
Automate your HealthCare support team
At the end of the day, chatbots are one of the major directions that healthcare is heading towards, especially since the obvious benefits entail greater cost savings, an efficient care practice, and a more positive patient experience. As the developments to AI and NLP keep getting more and more advanced, patients will be able to feel more secure in a humanized and reliable environment.
The future is looking good!
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