By Deepti Agrawal, CFO/Director, Codestore Technologies
The pandemic has improved the quality of healthcare services immensely. With the spike in demand to receive health-related information, the industry experts had to move from traditional to the latest technological methods while upscaling the healthcare sector with innovations. However, the expensive cost of the equipment and decline in the appropriate talent required for the medical industry has also led to the rise of the challenges such as improper management of medical records, longer waiting time, and inappropriate engagement with patients.
With constant advancements in the medical industry, new-age technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are paving the way to provide solutions for the complex needs of the people. The applications of AI are varied and Chatbots are one such AI-based tool that is gaining prominence and are taking the opportunity to solve patient problems efficiently with conversations and information delivery.
Chatbots for Patients
With the increase in footfall in the hospitals, it is challenging for the staff to cater to every query of the patient. Industry experts have recognized that the latest technology can be used to solve this problem in the healthcare industry. Therefore, incorporating Chatbots into daily operations can reduce the burden of hospital staff and also provide eminent support intelligently. In addition, these bots can handle many repetitive and menial tasks that could save precious time for doctors.
The main advantage of the AI Chatbots is that they are agile and can be modified as per the requirement. Adding on, they can scale as per the provisions of the industry. By tweaking the Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and Machine Learning (ML) Algorithm, functional changes can be implemented in bots to deliver a myriad of solutions. Some of the most significant use cases of Chatbots functionalities are mentioned below.
Chatbots as a virtual assistant
Chatbots can be programmed to provide rapid responses and significant push notifications to the relevant enquiry. Therefore, they can be used as virtual assistants that could notify patients on when to take medicine or when to consult a medical expert. Conversational AI is the root technology behind the functionality of virtual assistants. Furthermore, they can deliver information regarding renewals of prescriptions or medicine stock. The major benefit of virtual assistants is that they are available 24/7 and never leave the patients unattended. Also, they can be fed to deliver personalized answers that could enhance trust and accountability among the patients. Additionally, these Chatbots can also be incorporated with telemedicine software with scheduling systems so that patients never miss their doses.
Q/A-based (Question-Answer) bots for information delivery
In a fast-paced environment such as healthcare, many queries can be settled via FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). With predefined and situational solutions as per the desired path, patients can use Q/A bots to seek specific medical information. To give a personal touch and maintain connectivity with the questioner, humanizing these Chatbots is necessary with the employment of intent-based textual and aural methods.
With real-time data responses, patients can know the schedule of the doctor and information on the medicines to make informed decisions in a hassle-free manner. They can also get details like the location of hospitals, availability of beds, and timetables of the appointments. The waiting time for the patient is reduced, and costs are comparatively less than attending a hospital or clinic.
A bridge between insurance companies and patients
Insurance not only leverages the process of quick engagement of patients with hospitals but also reduces heavy treatment costs. But initiating the claim is a complicated and time-taking process for the insurance holder. The implementation of these Chatbots can acquire and manage the patient’s medical records quickly. They can also be used to get the necessary help in terms of coverage and claim by the insurance companies. These bots act like a bridge of information between insurance holders, companies and hospitals. Patients can readily check the status of their claims and get billing details in a hassle-free manner. Instead of calling insurance companies, queries can be resolved by these Chatbots with pre-fed information.
Constant improvements are on the way while experts design these Chatbots. They are programmed to provide data privacy with robust security. Also, they are PHI and HIPAA compliant to handle data sorting, exchange, management and interoperability. While developing these Chatbots, the user interface (UI) is an important aspect to consider as they need to cater to diverse levels of patients.
For further developmental purposes, patient data can be collected and analyzed to generate useful reports and recommendations. As this technology will advance, the time to reach the patient will be less and this can improve the possibility to detect early symptoms of a disease, which would be life-saving.
Allied Market Research forecasts that the Healthcare Chatbots market to be $345 million by the year 2026. Therefore, the usage of Chatbots will gradually increase in this sector. Moreover, there will be exceptional use cases in the industry where these bots will perform multiple functions such as symptom checking, analyzing, reporting, suggesting info and devising solutions. With multiple uses in the healthcare industry, bots will prominently be responsible for maintaining the good health of the patients.