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In the age of Alexa and Siri, are chatbots the next health assistants?

Gautam Rege
14th Nov 2018
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There is a huge business potential for chatbots in the healthcare industry, as it there is massive change incoming with digital transformation.

With the evolution of chatbots, it would be very convenient for health tech companies in data management and patients’ assistance through optimum utilisation of chatbots. The demand for healthcare services is higher than ever, and this industry is deeply sensitive and complex in nature. In recent years, innovations in AI-led technologies have tried to maximise productivity and help in saving time and effort of healthcare professionals. Technologies, primarily involving chatbots, have paved their way into the healthcare industry, allowing automation of services and leading to increased productivity with optimum results.

First level support for doctors

Chatbots are a great tool for first level support for doctors. For example, gathering initial symptoms, taking surveys and helping doctors make informed decisions about the patient’s condition. While the healthcare industry is sensitive to patient privacy and involves the risk of incomplete or incorrect diagnosis, technologies like chatbots can ensure that all information is gathered accurately and well in time. This will indeed save a doctor’s time and help them provide patients with a better-informed diagnosis. However, it is important that chatbots are used only for the first level of support and not for generating a diagnosis or treatment because nothing can replace a doctor’s analysis, their expertise and the required human intervention.

Chatbots in health insurance

Popular names like Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant are all chatbots that have seeped into the field of healthcare to enhance its functioning. Healthcare insurance demands an immense amount of data gathering and analysis with the systematic mapping of patients, records, medical history, etc. The traditional methods of health insurance lack the efficiency that AI-based chatbots bring to the table. A decision-tree-based chatbot can help health insurance companies gather data from its customers or potential customers using interesting, innovative surveys, and friendly chats with people that enable them to give out more data in a recurring manner. In a world that is guided by disruptive technology, these developments in the healthcare field and especially for services like health insurance are nothing less than a revolution.

Usage of chatbots is scalable and agile

It’s always convenient to chat with someone than filling out a form instead. Usage of smartphones, languages and texting has become so common, and therefore, chatbots have become an ideal AI-led tool used to gather data from the audience without being intrusive in nature. The received data is priceless for many healthtech companies as they not only get past medical history but also current health statistics. Also, it helps in a company’s brand as it helps them keep track of customers better and thus chart out strategies for proper customer retention management.

For example, at UCSF, there are mobile app trials being run in Intensive Care Nursery to evaluate how much parent’s involvement in their child's medical progress impacts the health and recovery of their baby! A decision-tree-based chatbot was interacting with parents about 2 or 3 times a day in a very informal and informative way. The chatbot not only engaged the parents but also educated them about the ICN practices and things to do! It also got information from the parents seamlessly to provide very important statistics for the study.

Huge business potential

There is a huge business potential for chatbots in the healthcare industry, as it there is massive change incoming with digital transformation. To be completely tech-driven for real-time results is the need of the hour. Currently, the growing implementation of chatbots in the healthcare sector is not a development that is temporary. With a demand for frequent data analysis reports, like research studies and surveys, to name a few, there are some initial steps for product creation in that also that need to be monitored. Therefore, chatbots’ entry in this industry is a perfect solution that helps in receiving all the initial data with absolute accuracy and less time consumption.

According to an insights study, it is estimated that the global chatbot market will reach $1.23 billion by the year 2025. The staggering numbers are a sign of the developments that shall shape the future of the healthcare industry, allowing both the doctor and the patient to have a fluent interpretation and implementation of things.

These evident advancements have paved way for an enticing future for technological developments like chatbots to make a turn for the better in the healthcare Industry. By 2019, up to 40 percent of large businesses are likely to integrate virtual assistants like Microsoft Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant into their day-to-day workflows. With these established figures that are witnessing constant growth, healthcare, in terms of technology and efficiency, has the potential to redefine the field at a pace that once could not be imagined.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

 

 

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