Healthcare Service Provider’s Guide to Live Chat and AI Chatbots


The Healthcare Service Provider’s Guide to Live Chat and AI Chatbots

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Chapter 4

Taking the next step with AI

Whether you’re ready for an advanced AI chatbot, or looking to start with something simpler, there’s a solution for everybody.

Chatbots offer a range of benefits to healthcare organizations, their customers, and their staff. They’re always on, they’re fast, and they don’t ever get tired of answering the same question over and over again.

Chatbots can accomplish tasks without supervision, consistently and efficiently – and for healthcare providers those use cases are virtually endless. From locating the nearest service provider to gathering important information to aid in care assessment, chatbots can easily automate workflows and free up team members to focus on more important and complex tasks.

To be clear, there is a difference between chatbots and AI-powered chatbots. Chatbots that run on keywords and without the benefit of AI technology like Natural Language Processing (NLP) are a dime-a-dozen, easy to spin up, and acceptable in the right context.

Hook a chatbot up with AI, and now you’re into a whole new level of consumer experience. AI (or specifically NLP) lets chatbots engage in far more natural conversations; they’re far more accurate at understanding your patients’ intentions, and as a result, can respond more effectively.

If you do want to dive into the world of chatbots but aren’t sure where to start, here are just a handful of use cases to consider:

  • Gathering patient information: Bots can pass off the who, what, where, when, and why to a staff member, helping them contextualize queries and reducing time spent on each
  • Virtual triage: Chatbots can help with initial consultations, allowing your customers to get quicker care and lightening the load on administrative
  • Answering FAQs: AI Chatbots can answer commonly asked questions like “What are the pharmacy’s holiday hours?”; “Is Doctor X in today?”; and “I need to reschedule my appointment”.
  • Shorter queues, faster responses: Chatbots can handle a virtually unlimited amount of chats simultaneously, cutting down on response time. They can also deliver responses more quickly than staff members.
  • 24/7 service: Chatbots allow patients to access a provider 24/7 so they can get assistance on their schedule, not yours.

One of the most important best practices for you to keep in mind is that a chatbot should never be a replacement for your staff members. While 59% of all chats now involve a chatbot, 86% of patients agree that there should always be an ‘escalate to agent’ option when talking to a chatbot.

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