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5 Reasons Why Chatbots And Virtual Assistants Are A Necessity In Healthcare

On February 13, 2024 | 6 Minutes Read
ChatbotsConversational AIConversational CommerceConversational EngagementConversational MarketingConversational SupportCXGenericHealthcareWhatsApp Business APIWhatsApp Commerce

Every technological innovation brings about a paradigm shift in how global industries work. The healthcare industry, which faces a constant demand for efficient and timely interactions between patients and healthcare professionals, is often the most affected. 

Chatbots and virtual assistants are transformative tools that have revolutionized how healthcare providers and customers interact. Integrating artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning in conversational chatbots has paved the way for substantial growth in healthcare.

Implementing AI chatbots within messaging and social media apps establishes a mutually beneficial relationship for patients and medical industry professionals. They transform healthcare and patient support by making the medical journeys of customers pleasant and uncomplicated.

Supercharging Healthcare With the Power of Conversational AI

Chatbots and virtual assistants are the first point of contact between the healthcare provider and the customer. Conversational AI integrated into apps like Facebook and WhatsApp is becoming integral to the patient acquisition process. They connect patients with clinics and doctors, simplifying their healthcare journey from booking appointments to post-treatment care.

Backed by extensive product databases, digital assistants of healthcare and wellness brands provide product information after understanding individual needs. This lets customers access accurate information quickly, shortening their browsing journey and increasing customer satisfaction.

The benefits patients and medical professionals enjoy using an AI chatbot are manifold. Chatbots and virtual assistants can:

  • Automatically answer patient queries
  • Deliver accurate, up-to-date information about healthcare products to patients
  • Help patients with booking appointments and ordering healthcare products
  • Simplify the ordering process, leading to higher sales
  • Provide 24/7 patient support and primary-level care
  • Schedule personalized reminders for medicines, therapy, checkups, and exercises
  • Understand what a patient needs even before they contact healthcare staff
  • Record symptoms for doctors to refer to later
  • Collect data from customers, analyze their needs, and guide them to medical staff most capable of handling them

Why Chatbots And Virtual Assistants Are The Need Of The Hour In Healthcare

The importance of AI-enabled chatbots in healthcare is on the rise. This is evidenced by the projected surge of the global healthcare chatbots market, which is anticipated to grow from 248.93 million USD in 2022 to 1179.81 million USD in 2030. 

To understand why, let’s explore the top five reasons why AI bots and digital assistants are becoming indispensable tools in modern healthcare.

  • Automate Patient Outreach, Acquisition, and Customer Service

Patient acquisition is a routine task that requires constant monitoring by healthcare staff. The general process involves standing in long queues and filling up lengthy paperwork. This can be easily eliminated by introducing a WhatsApp bot with quick booking and survey features.

With Facebook and WhatsApp bots, patients can look for doctors, pay for online consultations, book appointments, and explore treatment plans. AI-powered virtual assistants conduct pre-appointment automated surveys and provide a personalized patient experience by connecting them to medical professionals best suited to assist them. 

Billing, payments and insurance, inventory, and invoice management can be automated to speed up processes and save costs. Automated chatbots streamline the process of patient onboarding and customer care, resulting in greater patient satisfaction and better customer retention.

  • Post-treatment Assistance and Support

While doctors can diagnose and prescribe treatments for their patients, there is no way for them to monitor their care and treatment afterward. Sometimes, patients may be forgetful or require a gentle reminder to carry out their prescribed treatments. 

A WhatsApp bot can be programmed to automatically send notifications to patients, reminding them to take their medication, book therapy appointments, or even exercise. Healthcare providers can use these bots to automatically send e-books and audio-visual guides with step-by-step instructions to ensure patients follow post-treatment care procedures effectively.

Additionally, there is the widespread problem of patients being no-shows to their appointments, which strains medical and human resources. AI-enabled chatbots analyze user engagement patterns to predict whether a patient will miss an appointment, enabling healthcare centers to adjust staff requirements accordingly.

  • Round-the-clock Patient Support

While medical professionals and clinics try their best to care for patients holistically, they may not be available round-the-clock. Emergencies and busy schedules are common roadblocks to answering and resolving patient queries. Here is where chatbots come in to save the day. 

A WhatsApp chatbot gives patients 24/7 self-serving support regarding medication, appointments, and prescriptions. These bots can collect and store patient information in text, video, or image format and log blood pressure, glucose levels, heart rate, and other parameters. 

A WhatsApp chatbot can offer conversational support in multiple languages, enabling patients to effectively and accurately convey their queries and symptoms to the AI. They may also assist in claims, insurance, and policy management.

On the flip side, medical professionals can easily access up-to-date information in regional languages with the aid of chatbots and virtual assistants. Digital assistants enable frontline healthcare professionals to gain unique insight into their customer’s needs through information collected by virtual chatbots.

  • Higher Staff Bandwidth

  • Often, healthcare professionals are stuck attending calls, completing administration-related tasks, and receiving queries they may not be qualified to answer. Human agents handle the reception and complete trivial tasks when they could attend to other, more critical duties. 
  • Routine and basic queries can be resolved automatically with minimal human intervention by introducing chatbots. These chatbots can handle the majority of regular customer queries and transfer them to human experts if things escalate.
  • A global herbal wellness company leveraged a custom chatbot to automate more than 700 hours of customer conversations per month. 70% of patient queries were automatically resolved by the virtual assistant without the involvement of an agent. The AI-enabled virtual assistant also improved customer engagement by 4+ minutes, which was significantly longer than interaction times on their websites.
  • Improved Primary-level and End-to-end Care

While the internet and social media are vast information reserves, there is no shortage of incorrect and misleading data. Taking the wrong medication or incorrectly doing a physiotherapy exercise may result in unwarranted medical emergencies and longer treatment times.

Medical chatbots can help by providing prompt primary care to customers, ensuring that patients are not misguided by inaccurate information from unreliable sources. Such information can be personalized based on automated surveys and patient database integration. In addition, they also help provide accurate information in case of an emergency.

Conclusion

With innovations in artificial intelligence revolutionizing industries worldwide, its current and potential applications in healthcare show immense promise. AI chatbots and virtual assistants act as a bridge between customers and doctors, leveraging data from natural conversations to ensure a holistic, end-to-end medical journey.

AI-backed chatbots are connected with extensive patient and product information databases, providing round-the-clock patient support. They greatly aid primary and emergency-level care, automate patient acquisition, and help maintain medical discipline amongst staff and patients. Automated chatbots and virtual assistants can also take over routine administrative work, allowing medical professionals to focus on more critical tasks.

Transform your healthcare service with Gupshup and ensure a higher standard of care and efficiency. Discover Gupshup’s Healthcare Solutions today and lead the way in AI-driven medical excellence.

Ronald Francis
Ronald Francis

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