The need for constant updates that informed the public about Covid-19 while tackling rampant misinformation indicated the importance of popular technology such as chatbots. Healthcare will always be a critical service in the private and public sector, and with an increase in demand and shortage in medical professionals, streamlining communication and scheduling through chatbots is even more necessary. Here’s what you need to know about chatbot for healthcare services.
Chatbots are a computer program that use natural language processing (NLP) to engage with customers. They can take questions and send automated responses, as well as performing repetitive tasks such as sending emails, marketing, and lead generation.
You’ve no doubt engaged with chatbots without realizing what the program was, but you might not fully understand the potential this innovation has for healthcare. Here are some of the key functions they can perform.
- Chatbots for checking symptoms
Instead of doing a dreaded online search to find out what symptoms you have – and rather than wasting time booking an unnecessary appointment – you can WhatsApp a chatbot to provide a quick pre-check. The chatbot will analyse the patient history, assess the severity of the illness, bring up the patient history, and schedule an appointment if necessary.
- Chatbots to schedule an appointment
Where there is a need to book a medical appointment, this can be done directly through a chatbot. In fact, the chatbot can actually assign a doctor by pulling up the patient information and analyzing this alongside doctors’ schedules to find a slot that works. This is because the chatbot is integrated into the medical system and can access the most recent information.
- Chatbots share appointment reminders
The automation of appointment scheduling is supported by follow-up appointment reminders. With chatbot alerts, patients are reminded a day or so before of their impending appointments, minimizing last-minute cancellation and creating scheduling challenges. This is also a useful strategy if the appointment has to be re-scheduled for any reason.
- Chatbots send test results
Because of the incredible security of chatbot software, patients can even receive test results and diagnosis directly to their smartphones. Where test results don’t necessarily have to be shared face-to-face, sending a WhatsApp alert saves the patient and medical professional a lot of time, effort, and money. Healthcare chatbots are also valuable in emergency situations where doctors must access vital patient information quickly.
- Chatbots for prescription reminders
Just as chatbots can remind patients about medical appointments, they can also remind them to refill prescriptions when they come to an end. This is very useful for repeat prescriptions that are set to expire or a reminder to simply head out and collect the medication.
- Chatbots elicit patient feedback
The great thing about chatbots is how they allow for two-way messaging, which means that medical facilities can elicit feedback on patient treatment as a way to improve customer services. This could be done through a short survey sent out to encourage patient feedback.
- Chatbots improve internal communications
Healthcare isn’t a 9-to-5 operation, it relies on ongoing communication between providers to ensure customers are receiving the best care and treatment. As well as engaging externally, chatbots allow for internal communication as well, notifying staff of meetings, changes to schedules, emergencies, and more.
- Chatbots create new calls-to-action
The chatbot can also suggest follow-up appointment scheduling with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response sent to the system. This encourages repeat visits, keeping your patients protected.
With so many healthcare-improving features, chatbots are bringing the sector into the modern age which results in better patient care, and more. Here’s a look at the many benefits of using chatbots in the healthcare industry.
1. Chatbots address misinformation
The rise of social media, removal of checks and balances, alongside the arrival of a global pandemic, resulted in a wealth of misinformation that has created much devastation. When respected medical professionals communicate directly with their patients, there is more chance of minimizing the destructive impact of this misinformation, and better protecting patients. Through the chatbot, medical professionals can get to their patients faster, with a better chance of the correct information being read.
2. Chatbots reduce costs
Because chatbots can take on the repetitive, mundane administrative tasks often performed by staff, they’re drastically reducing operational costs. Staff can now focus their attention on more productive and fulfilling duties that also empower employees while saving money. Chatbots don’t require overtime, holidays, or training – they’re constantly self-improving through machine learning.
3. Chatbots provide standardised healthcare
Human interaction is important, but humans have their good days and their bad. Patients are often under a lot of stress related to their health, and they can take this out on medical employees. Likewise, staff might lose their patience, resulting in poor customer service. With a chatbot, this isn’t a problem. They’re able to offer standardized attention to all patients, without losing their temper!
4. Chatbots provide lead generation
Another great benefit of chatbots for the healthcare industry is the recruitment of new patients to a medical practice. Because of the consistent provision of useful healthcare information and services, patients feel they are getting the treatment they deserve. This secures both new patients and retains patients through improved customer service.
5. Chatbots are always available
As mentioned, healthcare isn’t limited to working hours only. Often medical emergencies happen after hours when staff aren’t available. Fortunately, chatbots don’t keep office hours! They are always ready to provide information and assistance to patients in need. They provide medical information and tips, prescriptions, and follow-up care where needed.
6. Chatbots provide multi-care
Finally, chatbots are able to serve more than one patient at a time. This means no more waiting in endless queues or having to retrieve patient phone numbers and details for call backs. Chatbots keep everyone happy at once!
If you’re looking to find out more about chatbots for healthcare services, get in touch with Clickatell. As the global leader in Chat Commerce, Clickatell provides the solutions to engage with customers anytime and anywhere.
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