benefits and risks of chatbots in healthcare

Benefits and Risks of Chatbots in Healthcare

Chatbots Healthcare: There’s no denying that artificial intelligence is making an impact in healthcare. According to the information gained from a ground report from the renowned company Accenture, almost over 40 percent of the healthcare executive organizations have already considered that the AI technology will hold the greatest impact on their organizations within the next three years.

Healthcare providers are already using various types of artificial intelligence, such as predictive analytics or machine learning, to address various issues. Today, an increasing number of them are looking into chatbots. Read this article to learn everything you need to know about the use of chatbots in healthcare and discover 5 insightful use cases that display their potential.

What are AI chatbots in healthcare?

benefits and risks of chatbots in healthcare
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In this medical context, AI-powered chatbots can be used to triage patients and guide them to receive the simultaneous patient’s inquiries and receive them by providing them with appropriate help. Chatbots are considered a more reliable and accurate alternative to online searches patients carry out when they’re trying to understand the cause of their symptoms. Healthcare providers believe that chatbots might help patients who aren’t sure where they should go to receive care. Many people don’t know when their conditions require a visit to the ER and when it’s enough to contact their doctors via telemedicine. At the end of the day, regular people aren’t trained medically to understand the severity of their diseases. That’s where chatbots can help. They collect basic information from patients, and then, based on the input, they provide patients with more information about their conditions and suggest the next steps.

Benefits of chatbots in healthcare

AI chatbots can support clinical teams by lightening their daily caseloads. After analyzing the patient data, bots can suggest an online discussion with a clinician rather than a visit to their physical office. In its essence, the chatbot technology used in medical contexts promises to ease the burden on medical professionals. 

This is particularly relevant in today’s situation, where the spread of COVID-19 puts an unprecedented burden on healthcare providers. With the support of this technology, medical centers could ease the pressure on their systems significantly.

Moreover, AI chatbots can improve the provider’s ability to diagnose consistently and accurately. That way, providers will also be able to deliver care to more patients.

Other benefits of using bots are:

  • better organization of patient pathways,
  • instant help in emergency situations or first aid,
  • medication management,
  • offering solutions for simpler medical issues.

How does it work?

Chatbots can also address specific issues. For example, Northwell Health recently launched a chatbot to reduce the number of no-shows for the colonoscopy procedure, which is critical for diagnosing colorectal cancer. This issue was particularly concerning because 40% of the less privileged patients didn’t follow through with the procedure. The personalized chatbot encourages patients by addressing the concerns or misunderstanding about the procedure and delivers information in a responsive and conversational way. Through these apps, researchers and medical staff can easily monitor the satisfaction, cancellation, no-shows, and thus were successful in completing all their examinations.

Chatbots in healthcare – key risks

Naturally, just like any other technology, chatbots come with their shortcomings and disadvantages. Let’s make this clear: chatbots will never substitute doctors. They can provide many opportunities to facilitate their jobs or improve their performance but, ultimately, it’s human doctors who are going to deliver the care. One of the key concerns in the use of AI chatbots in healthcare is user privacy. The users of such software products might be reluctant to share their personal information with bots. Business owners who build healthcare do their best to implement data safety measures to ensure that their platforms are resistant to cyber-attacks.

User privacy is a critical issue when it comes to any type of AI implementation, and sharing information about one’s medical conditions with a chatbot seems less reliable than sharing the same information with a human doctor.

5 use cases of chatbots in healthcare

Now that you know how chatbots work, here are 5 use cases that illustrate what potential benefits they promise to healthcare providers, doctors, and patients.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

One of the most commonplace elements in websites is the FAQ section. Many providers now transform this section into an interactive chatbot feature on the homepage dedicated to responding to general inquiries. Clinics and hospitals do that to make finding information easier for users. For example, we can make a bot that can answer the questions which can relate the documents which are necessary to receive treatments, about the tariffs payments are, how much is covered by the insurance, or about the business hours. That way, a chatbot works like a one-stop-shop for answering all the general questions in seconds. Patients don’t need to call the clinic or spend time navigating the website to find the information they need.

Scheduling appointments

The idea of a chatbot linked to a scheduling app is nothing new. But in the medical contexture of healthcare, for e.g, bots would allow users to schedule the appointments more conveniently. For e.g, we can take the example of IRIS, which can apply for scheduling and canceling appointments, to receive lab results, and send some important meetings and follow-up reminders. A chatbot designed specifically for the needs of a medical center could allow patients to book their appointments in less than a minute without ever having to get in touch with a human agent or receptionist. Thanks to such implementation, by which patients can manually select their doctor manually more conveniently, choosing the scheduled time slot of the appointment, inserting their personal information securely, and even discuss their symptoms so that he doctor is acquainted with their symptoms ad their remedies and the doctor is briefed on the reason for the visit. The bot can then send follow-up messages via text, email, or even voice message to remind patients about the scheduled appointments. The greatest advantage of chatbots here is that they can deal with many user inquiries at the same time, and the staff won’t be overwhelmed with the number of inquiries, no matter how high it gets.

Read More: ai provides synthetic data for covid-19 diagnosis

Symptom checking

Healthcare providing organizations are now presently implementing bots that allow the respective users to check their major or minor symptoms and also understand their state of condition all from their home via just a chatbot. Most of the linguistically designed chatbots use Natural Language Processing as their operating system which is steady enough to understand patient’s requests regardless of their input variation. This is critical for meeting the high accuracy of responses, which is essential in symptom checkers. With the knowledge of the input, the bot can assess information and help users narrow down the cause behind their symptoms. With all the data provided by the bot, users can determine whether professional treatment is needed or over-the-counter medications are enough.

One of the best examples of such chatbots is Ada, which was created by scientists, engineers, and doctors. Enriched with NLP and AI capabilities, Ada can help patients determine potential ailments and suggest possible treatments easily. This is a win-win situation for patients and doctors. Patients can save their time and money when treating minor ailments with over-the-counter medication, and doctors have time for patients who require more attention.

Health tracking

Patients who require medical assistance on a regular basis can benefit from chatbots as well. For example, providers can use bots to create a link between their doctors and patients. Such bots can provide a detailed record of the esteemed tracked health conditions and help assess the effects of the doctor’s appointed prescriptions and managed the management medication along with doctor’s approved prescription. An example of such a chatbot is Florence, a personal medical system designed for people who undergo long-term medical care. Hiring and training. The patients or any other users of this chat-bots can get extra information about the clinical locations and features, benefit from features such as medication reminders, pulse, and health trackers and statistics of medical health.

Large healthcare companies are constantly hiring and onboarding new employees. To process these applications, they usually end up generating a lot of paperwork that needs to be filled out and credentials that need to be double-checked. By connecting chatbots to such facilities, the job of Human Resources departments will become easier. For example, new employees could subscribe to a chatbot and become integrated into the onboarding process for a new hire or get information about the company.

An organization can use chatbots to send files to new hires whenever needed, automatically remind new hires to complete their forms, and automate many other tasks such as requests for vacation time, maternity leave, and others.

The future of chatbots in healthcare

In the future, we’re going to see more comprehensive chatbots solutions emerge on the market. The most innovative chatbots will combine many of the features mentioned above. For example, a chatbot will help users to check their symptoms and, on the basis of the diagnosis, book an appointment, answer their questions, and even offer direct telemedicine consultation with a doctor through video chat. After such consultation, the doctor will prescribe medicine and the prescription will be stored in the system. There is certainly a large room for the growth and development in the healthcare sectors when it comes to AI and other technologies for smart bot features and other technological solutions and advancement. Cloud adoption rates are on the rise, and an increasing number of healthcare providers are looking into new ways of streamlining their processes and reducing wait times.

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