Healthcare providers face a myriad of challenges in their industry. The expense of managing patients tends to be quite high. Routine communication involving appointments, calculating bills and logging general information can take up a lot of the workforce’s time. All this and patients can still be dissatisfied when they are unable to quickly receive answers from their healthcare providers. An excellent solution that addresses all these issues through leveraging the availability of artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots.
Artificial intelligence is more prominent in the world today than it has ever been before. Technology seems to increasingly be present in our day to day lives. A common instance of people interacting with AI has been in chatbots. Chatbots are being increasingly implemented by medical providers to help patients, through websites and smartphones, to interact with industry professionals and gain access to information they need, whenever they need it.
Chatbots have been crucial for the healthcare industry as they allow users to solve their problems by having a dialog with the chatbot AI without involving human respondents constantly. For example, chatbots can be used to book an appointment with a doctor, handle transactions and perform several other essential services. More and more healthcare institutions are relying on automated support to handle patent interactions.
Hospitals Are Adding Chatbots More and More
Software that is capable of conducting a conversation through text is being increasingly used to help symptoms in patients, manage medication and track the condition of patients with chronic health issues.
The ubiquitous nature of smartphones along with IoT, increased reliance on health applications, telemedicine and other various technologies is driving the growth in this market segment.
It is important to distinguish that the purpose of using chatbots is not to diagnose a patient. Instead, it is designed to guide people, learn their condition and severity of illness and accordingly decide if they need medical care or not. Once the chatbot detects someone that requires medical assistance, that patient is then transferred to a healthcare professional that carries the conversation further from there. This allows doctors to save time and allocate their resources better towards patients that need it.
Benefits of Chatbots
Chatbots offer numerous benefits to medical practices. A few of the key benefits are listed below:
- Chatbots automate information distribution. Information that is permitted to be disseminated through chatbots can be sent when needed, at any time. Also, the transaction can be effortlessly handed over to a person whenever they require it.
- Chatbots increase patient access. Patients are no longer restricted to office hours. They can receive medical assistance and advice they need at any time, day or night.
- Chatbots are scalable. A human workforce requires more personnel when tasked with too many requests. Whereas a chatbot can handle more than 1000 separate interactions at the same time without a hassle.
- Chatbots save you money. Due to ease of service, its ability to work 24*7, accuracy and efficiency, chatbots are expecting the technology to save more than $3.6 billion globally by 2022.
- Chatbots provide information fast. Chatbots can do more than just interacting with patients. They can also manage internal record keeping. Several institutions use AI to collect important information and alert medical personnel when needed.
- Chatbots result in fewer missed appointments. Missed appointments can cost a healthcare provider a lot. Chatbots send alerts and reminders to patients to make it easier for them to remember and reach appointments on time.
- Chatbots can engage in lead generation. Interacting with potential patients through channels they are familiar and comfortable with allows chatbots to increase brand awareness and reaffirms the value of the brand.
Obstacles to Adoption
But as it is a relatively new and emerging technology, chatbots have also encountered a few difficulties which limit the impact and access of the technology.
- Resistance in older patients: Due to the traditional reliance on a face to face interactions, many experience trouble using this new technology.
- Security vulnerabilities: The system and applications of chatbots are vulnerable to hacking like any other digital interface. Developers adopting AI and chatbots in the infrastructure must ensure proper security procedures.
- HIPAA compliance: Similarly, professionals should ensure that the application adheres to medical data privacy requirements to safeguard patient data and avoid any violations.
Taking note of these potential obstacles allows medical professionals to get the most out of this technology not only for their own benefit but for the benefit of the patient as well. Possessing a thorough understanding of the requirements and addressing any obstacles enables medical professionals to become more efficient when deploying this technology and receive the results they want.
The potential of AI and chatbots to create better medical care, drive up patient satisfaction and decrease medical costs is enormous. Medical professionals and those that collaborate with them will look to explore more ways chatbots and other AI can be leveraged to save time, improve outcomes and make a healthier and better future.