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Chatbots — The New Face of Healthcare?

by
Varun Mehta
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October 25, 2021
4
Min(s)

It may seem like something out of a sci-fi novel, bots playing a role in helping you. But, is that truly the case?

Its actually become a growing reality with various industries utilizing these artificial intelligence-powered chatbots to automate tedious processes and seamlessly provide consumers with round-the-clock attention. Chatbots were limited to marketing, banking, and customer service earlier, but they established themselves in healthcare during the pandemic.

The genuine interest in adopting chatbots in the healthcare sector is clear since more than $800 million has been spent by startups on developing healthcare chatbots. Also, the healthcare sector is no stranger to artificial intelligence. The immense pressure to improve patient diagnosis and reduce costs, coupled with the bonus of data analytics, has resulted in numerous cutting-edge experiments, ideas, and innovations in healthcare.

While focusing on these innovations and experiments, AI is coming up with early diagnosis systems and life-saving medications. And not to mention the latest development in chatbots.

At this juncture, you might be wondering if AI chatbots and machines could soon replace doctors. Well, not quite.

Let’s enter the world of AI-based chatbots to understand how they are changing the face of healthcare, the value-added, and the future scope.

Chatbots in the Pandemic Era

Chatbots did exist in the pre-COVID era, but they didn’t have many takers at that point in time. However, this took a 180° turn when the pandemic hit. Healthcare workers and organizations were forced to adapt quickly to the pandemic and the increasing requirements of patients. And the most efficient manner of doing that was with the help of chatbots.

In today’s times, people want answers to their queries in a jiffy, and they want it at their fingertips. Chatbots could carry this out in an interactive and user-friendly manner, thus carving out a niche for themselves in this ‘new normal’. Additionally, chatbots helped patients take charge of their healthcare experience while assisting them in navigating healthcare websites. This was made easier thanks to Google, which launched free chatbot templates for the healthcare industry.

How do Chatbots Add Value to the Healthcare Industry?

In a short period, chatbots have already had a massive impact on patients and the healthcare industry. Let’s look at this in detail:

  • Checking Symptoms of Patients

With the pandemic, it was difficult for patients to visit clinics and hospitals for checkups. Here is where chatbots came through. They analyzed patients' symptoms and suggested a course of action, whether it was scheduling appointments for tests, recommending care, providing over-the-counter medicine, or proposing a face-to-face checkup with a doctor. In addition, the triage process for patients became automated by making chatbots the first PoC (point of contact), which decreased the costs incurred by patients. 

  • Administrative Tasks

Monotonous and routine administrative tasks often weigh down on healthcare institutions that ultimately affect productivity. Some of these administrative tasks involve scheduling appointments and billing. 

Unfortunately, these tasks occasionally run into roadblocks due to human error. However, that is not the case if chatbots are employed. Chatbots simplify the scheduling process, thus allowing employees to focus on more critical aspects.

Additionally, people today prefer online billing and payment since it is easier. Incorporating chatbots in the billing princess increases efficiency and offers seamless handling of patients’ billing inquiries and doubts. 

  • Patient Engagement

Technology has been an enormous boon, which we all know. But in this case, I am referring to technology providing us with reminders, alarms, and checklists. Most of the virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana offer such benefits. Chatbots play a similar role in the healthcare industry. 

At times, patients can go off-track with their treatment plans, which affects their overall treatment and recovery. For example, they may forget to take, mix up, or consume the wrong dosage of their medication. In this scenario, chatbots can take charge and provide patients with regular reminders and instructions about their medication and treatment. This would help in enhancing patient engagement, resulting in better relationships between patients and healthcare institutions. 

AI-powered chatbots do offer massive benefits, but at the same time, certain questions need to be answered. 

What Does the Future Hold?

One of the key challenges that stand in the way of chatbots is providing incorrect information to patients. Whatever is said and done, chatbots lack a human touch, which may just prove to be the difference in incorrectly diagnosing a patient. Moreover, the financial and legal repercussions of such an error may prove to be significant.

The second challenge comes in the form of data security. There must be stringent measures to avoid data leakage or hacking with medical records and information in play.

As mentioned, chatbots cannot replace doctors. Hence, they are not the solution but an essential aspect in the overall puzzle of enhancing the patient experience.

Cutting-Edge Solutions With Mutual Mobile

We have been at the forefront of innovation in technology and app development since our inception. Like chatbots are helping the healthcare industry save time and money, we did the same for Builders First Source, when we cut down their processing time from 15 minutes to 15 seconds.

Hit us up if you want a similar result for your business with avant-garde ideas and innovation.

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