In 2022, the healthcare industry has become the most vital to survival. With the pandemic outbreak, millions of people are always looking for easy and quick access to health information. The sector needs advanced and experienced tools to keep up with the demand.
Thanks to medical chatbots, patients may contact medical practitioners if necessary, even during a pandemic. The utilization of conversational AI in the healthcare industry makes it easier for patients to access medical care in emergencies, regardless of their location.
What are chatbots in the healthcare area?
Chatbots are software that relies on machine learning algorithms, including natural language processing (NLP), to stimulate and engage in conversation with the user to provide real-time patient care.
Chatbots have already gained popularity in retail, news media, social media, banking, and customer service. Many people interact with chatbots daily without even knowing it. From watching sports news to navigating banking apps to playing games based on Facebook Messenger conversations, chatbots are changing how we live.
Health care providers, and payers, including paramedics, are also starting to use these AI-enabled tools to simplify patient care and reduce unnecessary costs. Whenever a patient initiates a conversation with a medical representative, who may sound like a human but is an intelligent talking machine, we see a medical chatbot in the healthcare field in action.
Top use cases for medical chatbots
Chatbots have good efficacy for transforming the healthcare industry. They may significantly enhance skills and improve the accuracy of symptom detection, post-convalescence care, preventive care, and feedback procedures. Let’s discuss the critical use cases:
- Make appointments with ease. One of the most complex healthcare operations is appointment scheduling. Despite scheduling systems, some patients experience problems navigating the scheduling system. Chatbot’s intelligent healthcare system asks patients about their health problems, finds the right doctor, provides schedules, reschedules, and deletes appointments.
- Collection of patient data. One mandatory use of chatbots in the healthcare industry is extracting patient data. First, it uses simple questions such as the patient’s name, symptoms, and insurance information. It then stores the retrieved data in the healthcare facility system to facilitate patient admissions, doctor-patient communication, and symptom tracking.
- Processing insurance claims. A healthcare chatbot can offer insurance services to patients along with medical resources. In addition, chatbot integration with RPA or other automation solutions helps automate medical billing and insurance claims processing.
- Collecting patient testimonials. It’s imperative to receive feedback from patients to improve medical services. Deploying a healthcare chatbot helps understand what your patients think about your hospital, treatment, doctors, and overall experience with them through a simple automated conversation.
It’s not a complete list of tasks that can be automated today.
The benefits of using medical bots
Conversational artificial intelligence is becoming a vital part of the healthcare system because it has such advantages:
- Decreased wait times: chatbots in the healthcare system prevent long hospital queues by providing patients with instant responses.
- Reduced maintenance costs: chatbots can significantly reduce the overhead costs of maintaining offices or call centers.
- Timely medical advice: care chatbots help quickly provide information that can save a person’s life in a crisis.
- Reducing the burden on doctors: It is almost impossible for doctors to visit all patients in a short time, while medical chatbots are available 24/7.
- Anonymity: an AI-powered medical bot is designed to keep a person anonymous and helpful in sensitive cases.
- Timely Monitoring: a medical chatbot can help control a patient’s health, suggest treatment, or provide follow-up reminders.
The medical chatbot securely delivers timely and intelligent solutions, which improves patient satisfaction.
The classification of healthcare chatbots
Often, chatbots combine multiple types into one to add value to a move. In short, there are three main types of chatbots used in the medical sphere:
- Informative chatbots are responsible for providing general information and user support. These chatbots will pop up if the user visits any disease or article page.
- Conversational chatbots are designed for contextual conversation with the user based on their intentions. Suppose a user asks a bot about the most common manifestations of a particular disease. Chatbots will help him describe the symptoms in detail and answer the question, depending on his capabilities.
- Prescriptive Chatbots provide the right direction or path to treating the illness the person is suffering from. In addition, they also offer therapeutic solutions.
The ones mentioned above are not all categories of bots. Every day there are new variations.
How to build your healthcare chatbots
Building an excellent healthcare chatbot is no easy task. Here are a few steps you must follow to get a reliable assistant:
- Design the Conversation path. The first step to building a health chatbot is designing its dialogue. Once you have chosen the type of health chatbot (informational, conversational, or prescriptive), the next thing to do is set the conversation path that the chatbot will have with the user, depending on its type.
- Choose the correct user interface. The main point that ensures that users get a healthy and good conversation with your health chatbot is the user interface. If you choose the wrong or bad user interface, it won’t be helpful, and users won’t get a good experience. Utilize modern methods as it is a compassionate part of human-machine interaction and provides user convenience.
- Combine human intelligence and artificial intelligence. An offline healthcare chatbot is not enough for better results because sometimes they also need the help of a health professional to provide answers. What you can do is create a hybrid chatbot by combining human and artificial intelligence. The chatbot will become more efficient, and whenever it does not know the answer, the conversation will be transferred to the person in charge.
- Develop a chatbot that has a natural conversation. Nobody likes to interact with a chatbot that doesn’t provide natural interaction. Thus, it is crucial to use natural language processing and some comprehension tools to improve the context of the chatbot, which can guarantee a good interaction.
- Train and test. Before releasing a chatbot, it is essential to train it to give appropriate answers properly. Once you decide that the chatbot is trained, you must first test it for technical errors.
- Make it HIPAA-compliant. It’s essential to make sure that the health chatbot you create is HIPAA-compliant and ensures that the health data of all users are well protected.
These steps are necessary to create a compelling and valuable health chatbot.
Challenges of medical bot creation
New technologies in healthcare are riskier than in other industries because the stakes are very high. Most doctors (70%) do not trust chatbots when they do diagnostics or emergency triage.
When creating a chatbot, you need to solve the following problems:
- Data security. You need to use only secure data storage and data transmission channels. All information must be encrypted and accessible only to authorized personnel. Your chatbot must comply with HIPAA (for US healthcare providers), GDPR (if you work with clients in the EU), and other regulations to minimize legal risks.
- Ensuring the accuracy of medical information. Misdiagnosis, misunderstanding of diagnosis or treatment, errors in prescribing drugs, or improper emergency treatment can lead to dire consequences. Doctors fear this the most when they delegate their duties to machines. Such errors can occur due to insufficient intelligence of the chatbot or due to errors in its algorithms.
You should confirm to what extent you are willing to empower chatbots to stay safe and minimize critical mistakes. A hybrid chatbot that sends difficult questions to human agents can be a compromise solution.
By automating the process of receiving patients with the help of a doctor bot, you can reduce the overall workload. Additionally, chatbots can automate in-person visits and telemedicine services over the phone.
As medical technology advances, the accuracy and relevance of nursing bots as virtual assistants will also grow. A frequent question arises — will artificial intelligence replace doctors? Of course not. You cannot automate everything, but if you choose chatbots as virtual medical assistants, you will be able to provide better medical care around the world.