In a recent article, the CTO of SnatchBot discussed the benefits that healthcare chatbots can offer hospital administrations, doctors and most importantly to patients. He stressed the fact that they can be programmed to be smarter, highly responsive and human-like when conversing. He wrote: “Humans have many faults and they make many mistakes. However, chatbots are never impulsive, lazy, prejudiced and also never careless. This last attribute is especially important in the healthcare industry where people’s lives depend on it.”
The chatbot market today and in the future
Healthcare management and communications through chatbots have improved the interactions between doctors and their patients, showing a radical transformation within the healthcare industry. In their recently published report, Allied Market Research reported that the global healthcare industry accounted for $116, 9 million in 2018 and is expected to reach $345.3 million in 2026, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.5% during this period.
What is helping boost this growth?
This growth can be attributed to a number of factors but certainly, the fact that more people than ever before have access to the internet and smart devices has increased their popularity. Waiting times in clinics and hospitals, insufficient patient engagement and rising hospital costs are all helping to boost the growth of chatbot use.
Consumers today see no reason as to why the healthcare industry cannot provide them with the same self-service options, with fast and easy access to information and appointments, as they get from other industries. They also want these interactions to be engaging and personal.
On the other hand, hospitals have to face continually rising costs, record systems that are unrelated and a lack of patient engagement. Bots and their digitalization are a simple solution or the “prescription”. Patients, doctors, hospitals and even insurers can use the multi-channel communication for better integration across all levels of the medical industry.
How do chatbots benefit the healthcare system?
The ease of using bots through text or voice input allows for two-way interactions and medical staff can also access all the data within a system to securely provide the necessary information in compliance with the relevant healthcare standards and regulations. This approach is called conversational healthcare because of its all-access approach.
Provide quick answers to frequent questions
Chatbots can be used by patients at all stages starting from pre-patient to post-patient care providing answers to frequently asked questions quickly and efficiently.
Effortless patient interactions
Chatbots allow patients and doctors to schedule appointments and consultations effortlessly and patient care can be tracked to reduce unnecessary readmissions.
Patient care alerts and faster handling in hospitals
Notifications, prescription refills, and care guidelines can be sent out with alerts saving everyone time and ensuring that these are not forgotten. Most patients who have had to wait to be admitted or discharged from a hospital know that this can take ages, but bots help to streamline the process. In the event of a patient needing assistance, chatbots can notify the necessary medical staff.
In the event of an emergency or any sudden change in a patient’s health, bots can alert the care teams and update them on issues like changes in medication or treatment dates.
Easier data exchange and record-keeping
Starting with referrals, bots ensure that they are sent or received instantly and they also update the patient’s medical history. Data from unrelated systems can be exchanged, checked and updated. This will greatly reduce the cost of administrative functions to the healthcare system.
Mental health and chatbots
It is expected that mental health chatbot usage is likely to grow as increasingly people suffer from depression, loneliness, and medical anxiety.
Differences between healthcare bots
Sophisticated chatbots that are designed by programmers and experienced healthcare individuals have a useful place in the forefront of primary and first aid health care. These bots and those that provide information for patients in after-care are already used in the U.S. and Europe and are proving to offer valuable advice where needed.
On the other hand, doctors, diagnostic centers and dentists can build their own cloud-based bots from templates. The builder of the bot doesn’t need to have any programming knowledge and these bots can help them run their surgeries in an efficient manner.
A digital prescription for improved healthcare
Since 2015, SnatchBot has been working at making bot-building easy and accessible so that all types of businesses can implement their use. The impact that bots have had on the healthcare industry is substantial and doctors are interested in running their practices effectively so as to avoid the cost of expensive administration and missed appointments. These bot templates are ready to be built and put to work. Healthcare providers, caregivers, and patients can all benefit from being informed, proactive and aware through the streamlined services offered by the chatbots. Doctors can be free to attend to more critical situations as these bots do the more mundane tasks for them.