chatbot | 5 MIN READ
As a foundational pillar of modern society, healthcare is probably one of the most important industries there is today.
But the unprecedented challenges in the past few years have shown how vulnerable the sector really is. With every significant disease outbreak and a growing population, providing equal care to every individual is becoming increasingly challenging.
This is why healthcare has always been open to embracing innovations that aid professionals in providing equal and sufficient care to everyone.
AI and chatbots dominate these innovations in healthcare and are proving to be a major breakthrough in doctor-patient communication.
Studies show that chatbots in healthcare are expected to grow at an exponential rate of 19.16% from 2022 to 2030. This growth can be attributed to the fact that chatbot technology in healthcare is doing more than having conversations.
Healthcare chatbot use cases go a step further by automating crucial tasks and providing accurate information to improve the patient experience virtually.
With just a fraction of the chatbot pricing, bots fill in the roles of healthcare professionals when need be so that they can focus on complex cases that require immediate attention.
Similarly, there are numerous healthcare chatbot use cases that healthcare facilities can consider.
What are they?
You’re about to know.
Top Healthcare Chatbot Usecases
1. Provide Basic Diagnosis
We know what you’re thinking. Chatbots and diagnosis? Are they really qualified to assess the symptoms? Because the last time you had the flu and searched your symptoms on Google, it made you paranoid.
But AI chatbots are nowhere close to your search results.
A chatbot symptom checker leverages Natural Language Processing to understand symptom description and ultimately guides the patients through a relevant diagnostic pursuit. After the bot collects the history of the present illness, machine learning algorithms analyze the inputs to provide care recommendations.
Consider how your doctor’s appointment goes about. You visit the doctor, the doctor asks you questions about what you’re feeling to reach a probable diagnosis. Based on these diagnoses, they ask you to get some tests done and prescribe medicine.
Your conversation with an AI chatbot in healthcare will have a similar route.
Because we fail to realize that at the end of the day, it is we, humans, who design chatbot conversations on a chatbot builder. So if you’re assessing your symptoms in a chatbot, you should know that a qualified doctor has designed the flow and built the decision tree, in the same manner, that they would ask questions and reach a conclusion.
All they’re doing is automating the process so that they can cater to a larger patient directory and have the basic diagnosis before the patient reaches the hospital. It reduces the time the patient has to spend on consultation and allows the doctor to quickly suggest treatments.
Moreover, healthcare chatbots can also segment the patients' issues. They provide self-care recommendations for basic issues. But if the issue is serious, a chatbot can transfer the case to a human representative so that they can quickly schedule an appointment.
2. Share Crucial Health Announcements
Ever since the introduction of chatbots, health professionals are realizing how chatbots can improve healthcare.
Well, for starters, it provides what most patients seek from their doctors — information.
This particular healthcare chatbot use case flourished during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic became a global concern, it became essential to reach billions of people at once and have personalized conversations about what the disease is, what are the common symptoms, and what are the treatments and medications available.
WHO then deployed a Covid-19 virtual assistant that contained all these details so that anyone can access information that is valuable and accurate. Its WhatsApp bot alone reached a good 13.5 million people. Because of the AI technology, it was also able to deploy the bot in 19 different languages to reach the maximum demographics.
Witnessing the success of this, a lot of major healthcare institutions followed suit and deployed a healthcare chatbot during the pandemic that provided information about common diseases, their symptoms, and other precautionary methods.
For example, Pfizer, the leading pharmaceutical industry, started deploying chatbots such as Medibot in the US, Fabi in Brazil, and Maibo in Japan to provide non-technical medicinal information to patients and reduce the workload of call center agents. As its Vice President Dominick Albano rightly puts it, “These tools are helping to make it easier for patients to access information along their journey. And as more physicians and patients are using smartphones and websites to get medical information, it’s meeting them where they’re at.”
3. Schedule Medical Appointments
On the surface, scheduling might seem a simple task. Yet, it is one of the most pressing ones for hospitals. Hospitals need to take into account the paperwork, and file insurance claims, all the while handling a waiting room and keeping appointments on time.
Thankfully, a lot of new-generation patients book their appointments online. Research shows that 90% of millennials book medical appointments online.
Booking the same on a call is quite the hassle. You first wait while you’re put on hold. You then have to check your calendar and find a suitable time that aligns with the doctor’s availability. Lastly, you have to ensure they enter the right details about your name, your reason for visit, etc.
AI chatbots help ease this process. It allows you to integrate your patient information system and calendar into an AI chatbot system.
Once you integrate the chatbot with the hospital systems, your bot can show the expertise available, and the doctors available under that expertise in the form of a carousel to book appointments. You can also leverage multilingual chatbots for appointment scheduling to reach a larger demographic.
Since the bot records the appointments for all patients, it can also be programmed to send reminder notifications and things to carry before the appointment. It eliminates the need for hospital administrators to do the same manually over a call. This healthcare chatbot use case is reliable because it reduces errors and is intuitive since the user gets a quick overview of the available spots.
Appointment scheduling via a chatbot significantly reduces the waiting times and improves the patient experience, so much so that 78% of surveyed physicians see it as a chatbot's most innovative and useful application.
4. Collect Patient Data
A considerable time in hospitals and clinics is spent on paperwork. From collecting patient information to taking into account their history and recording their symptoms, data is essential. It provides a comprehensive overview of the patient before proceeding with the treatment.
You might be thinking, “can’t we use forms for that?”
Yes, you can. But here’s the thing — forms frustrate users. The endless questions. The intimidation. The mundaneness. You know where this is leading, right?
It isn’t just a notion. 50% of entrepreneurs believe chat is better than forms for collecting consumer data.
Chatbots not only automate the process of gathering patient data but also follows a more engaging experience for the patients since they’re conversational in their approach. You can guide the user on a chatbot and ensure your presence with a two-way interaction as compared to a form.
Furthermore, since you can integrate the bot with your internal hospital system, the bot can seamlessly transfer the data into it. It saves you the hassle of manually adding data and keeping physical copies that you fetch whenever there’s a returning patient.
Once this data is stored, it becomes easier to create a patient profile and set timely reminders, medication updates, and share future scheduling appointments. So next time, a random patient contacts the clinic or a hospital, you have all the information in front of you — the name, previous visit, underlying health issue, and last appointment. It just takes a minute to gauge the details and respond to them, thereby reducing their wait time and expediting the process.
5. Response to FAQs
Out of the thousands of questions that hospitals are posed with every day, most of them revolve around the same thing such as
What are the appointment times?
Can I reschedule my appointment?
What treatments do you provide?
What is the approximate cost of X treatment?
Will my insurance cover the cost of my treatment?
What are the symptoms of X diseases?
What documents will I need to bring?
It may not seem like a big deal to answer these questions. But the problem arises when there are a growing number of patients and you’re left with a limited staff. In an industry where uncertainties and emergencies are persistently occurring, time is immensely valuable.
Yet, these questions are also not something hospitals can avoid altogether. How to ensure that everyone gets the same experience without having to wait?
With FAQ chatbots.
FAQ chatbots have become a savior for major industries in automating answers to mundane questions and saving time and resources. They have machine learning algorithms that help them improve their responses over time.
All you have to do is create intents and set training phrases to build an extensive question repository. The bot recognizes these questions based on the intent. You add the responses for each intent so the bot can respond accurately.
Over time, the AI chatbots in healthcare get better at recognizing the intent and giving the right response. Since a major chunk of the common questions is automated, you can ensure a smooth patient experience. Other benefits include:
Real-time Availability: The patient gets the answer as soon as they pose a question. It reduces waiting time and the number of raised tickets.
24*7 Support: Unlike other industries, healthcare has to mandatorily be available at all hours of the day. A patient can need a quick answer to any health-related issue and they may pose the same at 3 AM or during peak hours. Your FAQ chatbot is a good substitute in that case. They are available 24*7 and can offer fast assistance.
Personalized Answers: Between the appointments, feedback, and treatments, you still need to ensure that your bot doesn’t forget empathy. That is at the core of chatbot conversations. Just because a bot is a..well bot, doesn’t mean it has to sound like one and adopt a one-for-all approach for every visitor. An FAQ AI bot in healthcare can recognize returning patients, engage first-time visitors, and provide a personalized touch to visitors regardless of the type of patient or conversation.
6. Collect Feedback
Every industry wants the answer to the question, “what did the customer think of our service?”, “What are some major issues arising in their overall experience?”, “How can we get better at what we do?”
The Healthcare industry is no different. To provide better care to patients in the future, you need to have a detailed outlook on how they perceive you currently. And what better way to know than ask them directly?
Collecting feedback is another healthcare chatbot use case where the bot collects feedback from the patient post a conversation. It can be via a CSAT rating or a detailed rating system where patients can rate their experience for different types of services.
You can also leverage outbound bots to ask for feedback at their preferred channel like SMS or WhatsApp and at their preferred time. The bot proactively reaches out to patients and asks them to describe the experience and how they can improve, especially if you have a new doctor on board. You can also ask for recommendations and where they can bring about positive changes.
This feedback concerning doctors, treatments, and patient experience has the potential to change the outlook of your healthcare institution, all via a simple automated conversation.
While there are many other chatbot use cases in healthcare, these are some of the top ones that today’s hospitals and clinics are using to balance automation along with human support. As the chatbot technology in healthcare continuously evolves, it is visible how it is reducing the burden of the already overburdened hospital workforce and improving the scalability of patient communication.
If you’re looking to start, now is a perfect time. Likewise, if you need assistance in setting up healthcare or a medical chatbot, you can contact us, and we can help you with understanding the use cases in detail and how you can leverage chatbots for your healthcare facility.
Senior Content Writer at WotNot. He likes technology, chatbots, comedy, philosophy, and sports. He often cracks hilarious jokes and lighten everyone's mood in the team.