The field of medicine is among those sectors benefiting greatly from the many technological advancements being seen in the world today. The incorporation of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) has been a great way to reduce human error and come up with long-lasting solutions for treatment.
One of the recent developments in the use of technology is the application of chatbots in medical practices. Let’s get to understand what they are and the kind of value they bring to your medical practice.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is an application that uses artificial intelligence to interact and engage with human beings. To make the process natural, chatbots use natural language processing to interact with users through graphics, texts, or speech. There is a wide variety of use of chatbots across different industries. The chatbots are programmed to be able to understand the natural language of human beings and can be used to run simple tasks that are automated and also to simulate human conversations.
The channels through which chatbots communicate include messaging apps, phone lines, and voice-enabled applications. Depending on the variety of use and purpose, chatbots can be created as stand-alone applications or they could be part of a larger complex system.
Users interacting with chatbots can easily get information by responding to the questions and text prompts given by the chatbots. There is no need for human intervention. Chatbots are now also regarded as virtual assistants with the most popular ones being Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.
Now that we know the basics, here is how your practice can benefit from using a medical chatbot:
Available to patients 24/7
Patients can get in touch with the chatbot at any time as opposed to an actual doctor. This means that patients can understand their symptoms quickly and easily trust the recommended doctors or solutions. Having a chatbot available at all times can also help with dealing with emergency cases because the chatbot can triage: it will gauge the weight of the situation from the patient’s symptoms and other medical records and advise the patient accordingly.
Manages low volume or high volume practices
With a chatbot, it is possible to have constant health monitoring since healthcare providers, as much as they would want to, cannot be everywhere at once. Chatbots can be able to help those who need constant medical attention and assistance. They help monitor the health status of the patient and report back any irregularities to the healthcare providers.
They can also carry out tasks such as reminding patients to take their medication. Since the process is automated, there is no need for constant human intervention. This means that high volume practices can benefit as much as low volume practices from simply looking into the available database to make a diagnosis and medical recommendations.
Frees Up Staff Time
As mentioned earlier, before a patient can be diagnosed and measures are taken to treat them, they have to go through triage to evaluate the degree of their emergency. Using medical chatbots, health practitioners can prioritize the most urgent and time-sensitive treatments and cases to attend to. While screening and triage are done by the medical chatbot, the staff is free to continue seeing patients, thereby increasing the quality of care.
Patient Follow-Up And Automatic Appointments To Reduce The Number Of No-Shows
Chatbots are a great way to keep track of existing patients and communicate with future possible patients. The number one reason for no-shows in appointments is that patients simply forget they had an appointment. This means that a simple reminder by the chatbot will help to reduce the number of no-shows. Patients can also easily schedule visits instantly according to their own convenience. Chatbots can also match patients with relevant doctors and keep track of their visitation records for future reference.
Useful in any medical field
The chatbot can be used in a variety of areas from reminding patients about their dentist appointment, their chemo session, or that they should take their meds and vitamins. It is also possible to deal with patients’ questions through the use of chatbots. The great advantage of chatbots is that they are versatile. As long as their programming and data collection is done well, they can be used to accomplish any request that the user desires them to.
Easy to navigate the healthcare system.
The user interface for chatbots is very easy. For the patient, it is as easy as texting; the chatbot takes the form of a messaging conversation. It is also simple to navigate the database for the health practitioner. The information gathered by the chatbot may include the patient’s symptoms, allergic reactions, the medical history of the patient, gender, age, height, and weight. All of these bits of information help in making an assessment about the patient correctly. In the event that there is an emergency, the information can also be used to help save the life of the patient.
Disclaimers About The Adaptation Of Medical Chatbots
Just as it is with the adaptation of any new technology, medical chatbots are not without their own limitations. In order to implement the system, the medical facility should have the relevant facilities and a private internet connection. The chatbots are also sensitive to hacking and it can therefore be a concern to maintain the privacy of the patients.
Since the health practitioners will use the chatbots algorithms feedback to come up with assessments and solutions, the results need to be extremely accurate to avoid any misdiagnosis of the patient.
However, even with these few setbacks, it is evident that the potential that chatbots and telehealth have in improving the quality and availability of healthcare is great. Their use is rapidly increasing, and these wonderful virtual assistants can help you get ahead of the curve by helping you stay attentive to the needs of your patients and seeing how to serve them best.
Many users are also warming up to the idea of a relatively medically qualified chatbot telling them more about their symptoms as opposed to a google search that leaves them thinking they have a chronic life-and-death situation. You can now have your own medical chatbot by partnering with the right service provider and soon, your workflow is going to be ten times as smooth as before.