Deploying Patient & Consumer Chatbots: Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions

Oct 14, 2020 · 4 min read

Ashleigh Niziol, Director of Client Success at conversationHEALTH

Patient and consumer chatbots offer 24/7/365, on-demand information on a range of topics related to brand, product and disease information. They can also help facilitate locating and scheduling appointments with HCPs, provide the patient with discussion guides, helpful information on savings programs, and much more. Looking back on what has set our clients up for a successful launch — here are the top 5 frequently asked questions when looking at deploying a patient or consumer chatbot:

With more than 3 billion people using messaging platforms, consumers expect companies to be available 24/7/365 to answer their questions. Most of our clients come to us wanting a fast, intuitive and always-on solution to help patients or consumers get timely information related to their brand, condition awareness, product education, and patient onboarding — in a compliant way. Written in patient and consumer-friendly language, tone and manner, a chatbot provides a user-friendly way to learn about a product or condition, and even asking questions that they may not otherwise feel comfortable discussing with a healthcare professional.

Yes! We encounter chatbots in our everyday lives through digital interactions, many of which leverage conversational AI, in the form of virtual assistants in nearly every industry, i.e. banking, airlines, retail, food delivery, etc. Regardless of age demographic, consumers are digital and have come to expect the ease and simplicity of interaction that chatbots provide. In fact, up to 97% of consumers say that they trust the information given by a Digital Human. In the healthcare space, there’s no reason why this same experience can’t be offered in a medically, regulated, and legally compliant manner.

Yes, absolutely. Conversationalizing a brand or company requires a rethink of the consumer or patient journey. A starting point is placing the chatbot front-and-center on a website, so the user can immediately, easily engage with the chatbot. Of course, the greater the prominence and visibility on the website, the greater the usage. Second, having a robust promotional plan in place through multiple touchpoints to drive user traffic is crucial to engagement, experience and use. That, in turn, drives data, which is important to further improve the customer experience (have we covered all key conversations) and grow the chatbot training data set (making the chatbot more accurate, more human).

No. Think of a chatbot as a first point of contact. It’s always on and digital fast. Most consumers and patients want to learn about a brand or condition before talking to a human, especially a health professional. “Guided” chatbots provide a simple yet natural and rich programmatic experience, i.e. learning the basics of a product or condition. “Open text” conversations are all the more human-like, and are designed for ask-answer efficiency. Magic happens when both are combined for a rich, responsive user experience. And for all of these, a hand off to a human can be a click away, i.e. hand off to a call center, hand off to a live agent system, scheduling a remote appointment, etc.

That’s important in all life sciences applications. We typically involve Medical, Legal and Regulatory (MLR) teams early-on in the development of a patient or consumer chatbot solution. Any conversational experience, whether guided or open-text, will require proper review and approval to ensure that conversations and conversation flows are compliant. In the case of open-text chatbots, it’s all the more needed to ensure we are meeting protocols for adverse event and product complaint handling. As conversational AI experts, we work closely with our clients to ensure compliance with MLR, Pharmacovigilance and IT teams.

Book a session with one of our conversational AI experts to learn how you can best leverage digital solutions to engage HCPs, patients & consumers. We believe bringing great ideas together is always the start of something exceptional.

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