The Startup
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The Startup

Healthcare Space is Getting Bot-o-mated. Here’s Why

The doctor-patient relationship is simple. Or is it?

The doctor-patient relationship is simple — if the patient feels something is off, they go to the doctor and talk about the ailments they are facing. As a doctor, you check their vitals, offer a diagnosis after examination and prescribe relevant medication.

The hospital-patient relationship is, however, far from simple. Finding the relevant doctor or specialist, scheduling appointments with the said doctor based on their availability, follow-ups, referrals, insurances, etc. are some of the operational processes that your patients have to go through before and after consulting the doctor. The pre and post-consulting also bring with it a multitude of frequently asked questions regarding diet, sleeping routine and more. These questions are important but seldom need input from a doctor who has many more patients to attend to.

1.4$ billion is being spent by hospitals annually to manage hospital operations. With hospitals running on razor-thin margins, healthcare is increasingly embracing chatbots and Artificial Intelligence to help them serve patients better.

How does chatbot help?

With an increase in the number of patients, the limited hospital staff is finding it difficult to retain patients and give them the best care that they are capable of. This damages the experience of the patient and makes them feel less cared for at your hospital.

With all industries becoming customer-centric, patients expect no different from the healthcare space as well. Chatbots are increasingly being implemented across the healthcare industry to improve patient experience — without needing a customer support team or a physician at the other end. Let us see how:

1. Scheduling Appointments

A chatbot can schedule appointments with doctors based on the doctor’s availability. Furthermore, specifically designed chatbots can also keep track of all the visits and follow-ups of a particular patient, keeping the information handy for future references.

2. Symptom Assessment

A chatbot can identify the care that a patient needs by understanding their symptoms and suggesting the relevant physician/specialist. With the help of chatbots, doctors have access to necessary details like frequency and severity of symptoms beforehand, which helps them have a better understanding of your current health.

3. Addressing General Queries

General queries from patients are important but seldom require any input from the physician.

“How can I get a prescription?”

“How long is someone infectious after a viral infection?”

“Which is the next vaccination for my 2-year old baby?”

“Any specific diet to be followed during my medication period?”

Questions like these are important but can be taken care of without a physician.

A medical chatbot trained for these FAQs can address these generic queries from the patients. A chatbot is live 24*7 on your website which means it can address the patients’ queries at their convenience.

4. Counseling

The non-human nature of chatbots provides a sense of security to the user when it comes to sensitive topics like mental health and psychological conditions.

The first psychotherapist chatbot, ELIZA, was built on the simple principle of asking to describe what the user has mentioned before in the conversation.

Eg: User — I am feeling down.

ELIZA — You say you are feeling down? Tell me more about it.

The listening nature of chatbots proves to be therapeutic for people in mental distress.

With training using Natural Language Processing, chatbots can augment the therapist’s work with context-based responses.

5. Internal Team Coordination

Not just your patients, your hospital staff can also benefit from chatbots. Today, care management teams are burdened more than ever. Chatbot can be used for internal record keeping of various hospital equipment like beds, oxygen cylinders, wheel chairs, etc.

Whenever a team member needs to check the availability or the status of an equipment, they can simply ask the bot. The bot will then fetch the data from the system, thus making operational info available at their fingertips. This results in better team coordination while decreasing delay due to interdependency among teams.

Doctors and nurses can also have access to patient information such as prescribed medication, check-up reports, allergies, scheduled and canceled appointments, etc. This would significantly reduce the time healthcare professionals spend searching for updates in the patient information system.

6. Update on Lab Reports

Using chatbots, patients can also keep a track of their pending reports, locate nearby pathological or testing centers, find out prices of various tests, thus enabling faster query resolution by guiding the user through every step.

Given the sense of urgency associated with medical reports, an instant response by chatbots can make the world of difference to your brand, as perceived by your patients.

Wrapping Up

The healthcare space is replete with scenarios that need to be automated to make care-providing better and more efficient. Offloading simple use-cases to chatbot can help healthcare professionals focus on treating patients with patience.

Chatbots enable your brand to be accessible to your patients 24*7, making your healthcare center synonymous with round-the-clock care. Continuous interaction with your brand as per their need also results in satisfied patients who feel cared for.

At WotNot, we work with leading healthcare providers by deploying chatbots and virtual assistants that address medical diagnosis, appointment booking, data entry, in-patient and out-patient query addressal and automation of customer support.

We also have pre-defined healthcare template where you can experience the chatbot for FREE. Take a minute and feel how you can access all the benefits listed above here.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +420,678 people.

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